I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
Summary: The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.
To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.
She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.
Release date: November, 27th
I liked this book and especially for a debut I think the author did a great job, but there were also things I was looking for in a book set in ancient Greece that simply weren’t there, and that’s the reason why this isn’t a five star, but let’s slow down a little.
The book is narrated from two alternating POVs, Atalanta’s and Kahina’s. I think this type of narration was the best choice for it, but one problem I had with it is that the two voices weren’t distinct enough. I think it makes some sort of sense, because the two characters are kind of similar on many levels, but that made it difficult to differentiate their internal monologues. But other than that, I think they were both well-written, just like well-written was the whole book. Sometimes, dare I say, a little too well written. This might make no sense, but I don’t know how else to put it. I just felt like every sentence was thought over meticulously, with great attention paid to the show, don’t tell and other rules, but sometimes that made the narration a little dry and perhaps impersonal. That’s obviously a very minor thing and it’s not really something I even thought about until writing my review, and it didn’t influence my rating negatively.
My favorite aspect of the book was probably the f/f romance, and not just because it’s f/f. It honestly wasn’t even a huge part of the book, it’s just something that happens within the book, but that’s what made it special. I don’t really want to say much about it because it should be experienced while reading the book.
The plot was at times a little slow and I think a few elements could have been removed or made less relevant in order to focus more on other aspects. Something else I didn’t necessarily agree with is the characterization of Artemis and Apollo, but I respect the author’s choice, and it’s true that Greek mythology isn’t always consistent and that there’s not two versions of a god or a Greek hero that are the same.
But speaking of ancient Greece, I didn’t find it in this book. If you replaced the names of places and people with random ones, this would read as a generic fantasy. I didn’t see Greece in the culture, in the way gods were worshipped, in the way men and women related to each other, I simply didn’t see it anywhere. The author note explains that liberties were taken, since the mythological Atalanta belongs to the first generation of heroes, even before the Trojan war, and not a lot is known about many aspects of life back then. This, in my opinion, resulted in a worldbuilding that’s not here nor there. You could tell me it’s set in the same universe and time period as Cinderella and I’d believe it. I think that a retelling of a Greek myth loses a lot of its value if it doesn’t transport the reader back to ancient Greece, and that’s truly what bothered me most about an otherwise above-average book.
All in all, I would recommend it if you can look past the missing ancient Greece and are looking for a f/f romance that’s not the focus of the book.