Atalanta is not a Greek hero that I knew much about going into this book, but she was so exciting to read about! She is a bow yielding, forest dwelling fighter that was abandoned at birth, raised with cubs, and then brought under Artemis’ wings in her sacred forest. Although mortal, she reminds me quite a bit of Artemis. She is fearless and excels at everything hunting related.
Raised by nymphs, Atalanta has lived a solidly female upbringing. Sure, she has met some men that have unwisely trespassed into Artemis’ forest of Arcadia, but for the most part his life is spent hunting and traveling the forest alone. One day, Artemis bearing news that Atalanta will take a spot on an extraordinary quest under the goddess’ name. Traveling for the first time out of Arcadia, Atalanta sets off to join as one of the Argonauts of Jason’s quest in obtaining the golden fleece.
This book reads as an adventure story. It reminds me a bit of the Odyssey in the fact that the group of Argonauts are traveling the sea and must surpass the various obstacles that come into their path. There is action, adventure, battles, and a bit of magic. It’s a great mix to help keep the book engaging and entertaining. On a ship of only men, Atalanta must consistently prove herself worthy of her place.
One thing that I love about the Greek modernist feminist revisions is that it highlights the role women play in the myths, even if they are not the main character. The men are incapable of any of their “imposible” tasks without the aid of a god or a woman. Atalanta is no different and this fact thrills me. However, the quest of Jason and the Argonauts itself does not really serve to highlight the skills of Atalanta, so I was a little disappointed in that aspect. However, as the story moves through Atalanta’s life, I am continuously surprised by her strength, fortitude, and brazenness. She is the great Greek female hero we have all been waiting for!
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