Hades’ Daughter: Good, if you don’t mind jerks as heroes

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Sara Douglass The Troy Game Hades' DaughterHades’ Daughter by Sara Douglass

I got annoyed with Hades’ Daughter the first time I tried to read it, and didn’t finish it. Mostly I was irritated with the three main characters, all of whom are less than sympathetic. Cornelia is childish and weepy and naive — though she does have the excuse of being fifteen, and of constantly having to make major life decisions even though the people around her are manipulating and deceiving her. Brutus doesn’t have the excuse of being a teenager — he’s a brute and a wife-beater and a rapist and a cad, and it never seems to occur to him that perhaps Cornelia would act out less if he either treated her with respect or let her go. Genvissa is a one-dimensional stock femme fatale. Between the three of them, they manage to all treat each other like dirt and make me want to throw things at them.

Yet I found myself, months later, still drawn to the story. So I read it again. This time, I finished the book, enthralled with the story of the Minotaur and his evil designs, and of these three flawed and very human people trying to oppose him and getting tangled up in their personal agendas along the way. What’s more, Cornelia develops and grows as a character during the course of the book. Genvissa doesn’t change much, and Brutus actually becomes more of a jerk, but the series continues into the characters’ later incarnations, and perhaps the characters will grow in their future lives.

For now, though, consider me sucked in anyway. It is with anticipation that I’ve just begun reading the second book, Gods’ Concubine.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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