In one word: RefreshingCannonball Read Bingo: Mythic
Y’all. Y’ALL. I HAVE BEEN SO FAR BEHIND IN REVIEWS FOR LIKE TWO MONTHS AND WITH THIS ONE I AM ALL CAUGHT UP AND I HAVE MY FIRST BINGO YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. Thank you. Where was I? Ah yes. The book!
A Thousand Ships was one I found on the new releases shelf at my library and a) it looked pretty and b) was recommended on the cover by Madeline Miller, author of Circe, and c) I was looking for a mythic pick for my bingo card. And thus, the planets aligned and my quest with this book began. Haynes is answering a “what if” premise, “what if” all the women in the Trojan War (Greeks and Trojans alike) were front and center in the story. What if Odysseus was the footnote, instead of the main character, and the women were able to tell their stories in their own goddesses. From the gods to the commoners, women are sharing their history in their own words, and it’s a lot of fun.
I know enough about mythology to get myself into trouble with not knowing how and where Haynes took creative license so I alternatively could be giving her more or less credit than she deserves in some places. That made it fun for me because there were still surprises to be found in these ancient tales. If you’re a mythic purist, you might take umbrage at some of her choices, but I didn’t have a problem with it because I didn’t know enough to be put out. Each chapter jumps POV, with some characters getting more than one opportunity to share their tale. Penelope’s chapters were my favorites, written as letters to her husband Odysseus that he might never receive. She addresses what to her are just the rumors of his exploits, as told to her by bards, and becomes increasingly frustrated with waiting for his return, as any housewife would, while waiting OVER A DECADE for him to stopping messing about and get his behind home.
This book was a four for me instead of a five because I don’t think it was very polished and would have needed more editing and restraint to be a five for me, but I’ll be recommending it to others like me who are craving more female told female stories to dig into.