Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Quiver by Stephanie Spinner

Title: Quiver
Author: Stephanie Spinner
Series: N/A
Pages: 177
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf Books
Date Published: April 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Source: My Friend Jessica!

Synopsis:
It was Artemis, goddess of the hunt and mistress of the wild, who rescued the abandoned baby Atalanta, sending a she-bear to nurse her and a band of hunters to raise her in safety. Now sixteen, Atalanta, fames archer and swiftest mortal alive, has devoted her life to the goddess. When strangers appear in Atalanta's village one day, they bring shattering news. The father who forsook her is a king. And he has summoned his daughter with a simple, chilling command: marry and produce and heir. Fleet-footed Atalanta, determined not to betray Artemis, counters with a grim proposal. She will marry the first man to outrun her in a footrace, and those she defeats must die. It is Atalanta's desperate hope that no man will be foolish enough to meet her challenge.

My Review:

I've always loved Greek mythology. When I was in elementary and middle school I went through every single book they had on those crazy gods, Greeks, and heroes. Not kidding. I went through all 150 or so of them before I was out of 4th grade. That love has kept me reading books like the Mythos Academy, and Percy Jackson series, and still living out my huge appreciation of mythology. That's why I jumped at the chance to read Quiver when my friend offered it. Actually...friends giving away free books in general has the potential to get me all a flutter anyways, but Quiver made it even more fun :) Quiver is the retelling of Atalanta, the baby abandoned by her father in the wilds, only to be saved by Artemis the goddess of the hunt. While I remembered reading at least one version of the myth, it had definitely been a while and I loved the refresher course.

I liked that Quiver was neither a re-telling, or a re-written myth. A trend that I see a lot today is taking myths and remaking them exactly how they were, but in the modern day, with modern things like cars and cell phones and all that. While that can be fun, I think that sometimes those stories lose a bit of the "epic myth" quality that makes them great in the first place. There's just something about armored breastplates, the religious dependency on the gods, and the belief in monsters and oracles and such that make reading about the ancient stories...a kind of journey. That's really what we get with Quiver. It reminded me of the history book versions of myths from when I was younger, but told through the eyes of the character herself. The story opens with a great tragedy, as Atalanta has to face the consequences of her being a woman huntress. When her friend is killed as a result of the circumstances around a Boar-hunt, she is driven to walk to the oracles to find help and receive guidance about her future.

There are four main segments to the book. The first involves the Boar Hunt, and the next are some of the dreams that the oracles give Atalanta. It was fun to try and predict what would happen because of the dreams, and also because of how Atalanta was adamant to not marry. The first dream brings her to her father's castle. Yes, this is the father that abandoned her to the wilds when she was an infant. Atalanta has never met her mother, and has always wondered why she knows the story of her father's betrayal but knows nothing of the mother that bore her. After discovering the truth, Atalanta uses it to her advantage ans when her father attempts to marry her off in order to preserve the line of succession, Atalanta is able to bargain her way into a deal. She will marry the man who can beat her at a foot race. But there's a catch. Any man who attempts to race her and loses, must be executed immediately following the race.

One of the coolest things was the commentary by the various gods. You get to see into every one's head just a bit and it was nice to see how Artemis felt about her little one, and even Apollo would feel bad for her and try to help her out a bit. THEN there was Ares and Aphrodite. They aren't quite villains...but they definitely put a lot of obstacles into poor Atalanta's way as she struggles though her tough, short, life. One trademark of the Greco-Roman gods was that they loved to interfere in people's lives and it definitely shows in Quiver. The plot, the characters, and the setting was a good way to bring myself back into mythology and I really enjoyed it.

I give Quiver 3 Keys. I don't mean to say that it was bad. It just...kind of fell flat a bit. Though the story was interesting to me, I am a definite fan of Greek myths. To the average reader, I doubt it would be worth the money because of how short it was. Still, I loved that it delved into one of the characters that usually doesn't get a lot of screen time. Atalanta was a strong heroine that had drive and ambition as well as a personality. I loved being inside of her head and it would have been ten times better if it only would have just been a little bit longer.

12 comments:

  1. I'm sorry it fell a little flat for you. I've never read this myth or any related to Artemis before so it should be interesting. Thanks for the review!

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  2. Oh man. :( I'm sorry this one wasn't what you wanted it to be. Greek myths are some of my favorites too. I really want to re-read the Percy Jackson series.

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  3. I love retellings of myths and legends but hadn't run across this one yet. It's a shame it fell flat - I think Atalanta is one of the more interesting of the Greek figures. Thanks for the review!

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  4. great review and thanks for sharing ;)

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  6. I'm sorry you didn't like it that much but I'm interested! The first retelling of Greek myth that I read was Christopher Pike's The Immortal and I loved it! But that was a long, long time ago and I have not read anything in that genre again. I will give book a shot.

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  7. It's hard to find a great mythology book. THey often end up in my DNF shelf,just like a lot of angel and ghost themed novels.

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  8. I love mythology but YA mythology books are quite bad IMO. I'd love to read this one and see would I like it :) Thanks for sharing. :)

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  9. Bummer like you I love mythology so sorry this fell flat

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  10. I love Greek mythology too. thanks for the review

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  11. Good review. I like the story.

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