Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
Nobody’s Princess is the story of Helen of Troy as a young woman. Because the world knows who she is as an adult, but there is no record of her childhood, Esther Freisner presents us with a determined, independent woman who wants to learn how to fight like her older brothers and go on adventures and see the world.
The story kind of meanders along following Helen’s realization that she is beautiful and her decision that she wants to be more than just a pretty face. She learns how to fight with a sword and bow and arrow, and later to ride a horse.
My biggest problem with Nobody’s Princess is that Helen isn’t very interesting. She’s in a position of privilege but wants freedom to make choices that are typically not given to females. However, her quest for freedom never seems to reach out very far... Read More
Esther Friesner(1951- )
Dr. Esther M Friesner taught Spanish at Yale before becoming a full-time author. Besides the fantasy novels listed here, she writes science fiction and has published dozens of short stories. Here’s her website.
Princesses of Myth — (2007-2013) Publisher: She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods — or her looks — to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies — such as the self-proclaimed “son of Zeus” Theseus — but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi. In Nobody’s Princess, author Esther Friesner deftly weaves together history and myth as she takes a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy. The resulting story offers up adventure, humor, and a fresh and engaging heroine you cannot help but root for.
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner
Nefertiti has had a wonderful childhood, living with her adoring father, stepmother, and half sister. She is the beauty of her small country town on the Nile River, and has the gift of dance as well as a desire to learn to do something almost no women can do — write and read.
But Nefertiti’s life takes a sharp curve when her aunt, the great Pharaoh’s wife, decides that she is beautiful enough to wed to her son Thutmose, the crown prince of Egypt. Before she knows it, Nefertiti is torn from her home and family and living in the royal palace as a princess. Thutmose is not as nice as he has been made out to be by her aunt, however, and Nefertiti soon finds herself in the middle of a plot that involves Thutmose gaining power, and that could endanger her own life and the lives of the ones she loves.
I was pretty much glued to Sphinx’s Princess right f... Read More
Black Heart, Ivory Bones edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Black Heart, Ivory Bones is the sixth and final entry in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s series of fairy tale anthologies. Of the six, I’ve read four, and each has its own particular flavor, its own unique mood. While all of the books contain a mix of light and darkness, in this volume there seems to be more of a balance: “all that’s best of dark and bright,” if you will. The mood that Black Heart, Ivory Bones evoked in me was a wistfulness, maybe, or a pensiveness. When I first read the series, Black Thorn, White Rose was my favorite, but I’ve come to a deeper enjoyment of this volume as I’ve grown older. At this point I’d have to say the two are now tied in my mind.
My favorite stories in this collection are:
“Rapunzel... Read More
Chronicles of the Twelve Kingdoms — (1985-1989) These books can be read in any order. Publisher: A hero and his courageous companion embark on a fabulous quest to the realms of magic.
New York by Knight — (1986-1989) Publisher: Dragon and Knight: they’d battle to the death — with New York City the final prize!
Demons — (1988-1990) Publisher: A bawdy fantasy spoof featuring a group of misfit demons who have been banished from Hell. They end up in an African desert where they meet a group of American kids on an archaeological dig. But what these kids do not know about the seven deadly sins is an eye-opener to the demons.
Gnome Man’s Land (Tim Desmond) — (1991-1992) Publisher: They’ll take Manhattan, and Brooklyn, too.
Majyk — (1993-1994) Publisher: Kendar, the worst student magician on the world of Orbix, begins a calamitous chain of events when he chases an Earth cat named Scandal into a cloud. Kendar emerges with the biggest supply of “majyk” on the planet, and suddenly he’s being chased by a wizard, a barbarian, and a demon.
The Psalms of Herod & The Sword of Mary — (1995-1996) Publisher: The harrowing journey of Becca of Wiserways Stead. Escaping her oppressive, rural stead, Becca journeys toward the magical city where her brother lives, certain that his knowledge will save her and her kin. But after finally arriving there, she is overwhelmed by the strange ways of the Coop citizens. She soon learns that everyone, including her brother, has ulterior motives.
Supernatural Suburbia — (2009) Edited by Esther Friesner. Publisher: Move over, urban fantasy — here comes suburban fantasy. What self-respecting witch, vampire, or werewolf would be caught dead — or undead — anywhere but the Big City, you may ask? Look, let’s give the uncanny crew a little credit for intelligence: If they had the smarts to see the advantage in packing up and moving into the cities, why wouldn’t they have the smarts to move out of said cities if it looked like they could get a better quality-of-life/death elsewhere? (Tough enough going about your otherworldly business and evading the occasional mob wielding halogen torches and designer pitchforks, but have you ever seen city real estate prices?) So let’s welcome our first group of supernatural suburbanites, the witches. Their powers are awesome, their methods of coping with the lumps, bumps, and idiosyncrasies of Suburbia are ingenious, and they always bring the loveliest gingerbread to the PTA bake sale. But whatever you do, don’t try telling them that life in a non-city setting is bland, banal and boring, or you might get turned into … ribbit! Stories of suburban sorcery by Harry Turtledove, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jan and S.M. Stirling, K. D. Wentworth, and more — including Esther Friesner herself.
The Silver Mountain — (1986) Publisher: He woke to death and darkness, unable to recall who or where he was. Around him, unknown comrades lay slain by dragon wrath, while he alone survived to flee these caverns of doom in search of his own identity. But in the world above lurked danger and destiny. For there a wizard would gift him with a name — Prince Dammon. Now the mortal warrior must ride to Silver Mountain.
Yesterday We Saw Mermaids — (1992) Publisher: Magic and Columbus clash in the New World. In 1492, as the flames of the Inquisition scorch the soul, and three ships set sail under the Spanish flag, a boatload of nuns transported by an unruly genie discover a new world unlike any other: the magical kingdom of Prestor John.
The Wishing Season — (1993) Publisher: Before graduating from magic school, Khalid, a young genie, is allowed to inhabit his first lamp, but he forgets to restrict his master to three wishes and needs a princess and the help of Boabdil, his master’s cat, to save him from a lifetime of servitude.
The Sherwood Game — (1994) Publisher: Carl Sherwood, a computer whiz who lives in a dream world to escape his geekiness, becomes more and more wrapped up in the new Virtual Reality program that he is designing, until the Reality starts becoming more than Virtual.
Child of the Eagle — (1996) Historical fantasy. Publisher: On the eve of the conspirators’ plan to assassinate Caesar, Marcus Brutus is surprised in his garden by a vision of a woman so exquisitely lovely that he is immediately enchanted by her. She seduces him with ease, then persuades him to save Ceasar’s life instead of taking it. She only prevails by showing him visions of what Rome will be like with Caesar dead.
Split Heirs — (1993) Esther Friesner and Lawrence Watt-Evans. Publisher: War and wizardry, dark deeds and derring-do, matters of state and matters of the heart, and a dragon who thinks she’s a sheep named Ber-nice… Split Heirs is nonstop action and nonstop laughs, the funniest high fantasy epic since Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
E.Godz — (2003) Publisher: When Edwina Godz inherited the family corporations, she had put to work all the sorcery she knew. Unfortunately, Edwina’s two children hated each other, and if she stepped aside and let them take over the company, it was certain to go down the tubes. So she let them fight it out.