16 Sept 2022

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: A THOUSAND SHIPS by Natalie Haynes

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: Natalie Haynes
Series: N/A
Source: Audiobook via Audible
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 26, 2021

This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn . . .

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . .

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war.

A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Trigger Warnings: rape, death, violence, cheating

As someone who studied Greek Mythology as my minor in university, I was SUPER excited for this one. A retelling from the perspective of the women is everything I ever wanted. But it fell super flat for me. The women were not as nuanced as I wanted (except Penelope) and the story was still driven by the men instead of centring on the women. It felt as though it was about how the men impacted the women’s stories, which was super disappointing to me.

This delivered what it set out to do, which is an account of the Trojan war from a multitude of female perspectives. My issue was that this is precisely what it did. This was a retelling of the most straight up kind. The perspectives were sometimes too brief for me to get a feel for the character behind it and others were dwelt on but never returned to, so that I felt my growing empathy severed before it had a chance to plant its roots.

I liked the way it was written in terms of pacing and flow. The characters all felt like they were the same though, which made the audiobook fall a bit flat for me because everyone was read in the same voice. Give me a few more voice actors and maybe this increases by half a star to have a bit more nuance to their voices, grief, and story.

I appreciate Haynes for delivering this story but ultimately my adoration with the concept was not enough to keep me fulfilled by its narrative structure. If you liked Song of Achilles, you’d also like this one. It just wasn’t the book for me! 

Have you read this book? What was your favourite part?

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