Monday, April 6, 2020

Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass

DNF @ 32%

I actually checked to see if this was one of those instances of a male author writing under a female pseudonym because the portrayals of the women characters in this book were so bad. But no, according to the Goodreads bio, HADES' DAUGHTER was, indeed, written by a woman, which is proof that sexist fantasy characters are an equal opportunity field for everyone to enjoy.

I'm actually pretty bummed because the premise of this is so good. After being spurned by her lover, Ariadne unleashes dark magic through her dead brother to destroy the "Games," which I envisioned as being like the "Lifestreams" from FFVII, thus essentially ruining the fabric of the natural world and killing the Greek gods by robbing them of their power. This sets of a chain of events that leads to a mystical society being unable to communicate with their gods, the fall of Troy, and a whole host of other terrible, bad things.

I think the problem with this book is that the writing is, well. Bad. If you've ever read any bodice-rippers from the 70s and 80s-- in particular, the ones by Bertrice Small-- you'll have an idea of what to expect with this one. At first I found it entertaining, but it went on for so long and a lot of the horrific scenes are highly repetitive, and at 600-something pages, that's a lot of time to dwell on events that aren't particularly fun to read about, let alone well-written.

As I mentioned earlier in my review, the female characters are also very badly written. Some of them, like Cornelia and Genvissa, had potential, but they are just so needlessly sexualized. The whole book reads as if the story were being filtered through the lens of the "male gaze." I said in one of my status updates on Goodreads that this almost reads like Game of Thrones-inspired fanfic, with an Ancient Greek setting, but I was only half-joking. Some people will probably really enjoy this book, either because of the lols or because of the shamelessly gratuitous racy scenes, but I wasn't a fan.

I'm giving it two stars because it was entertaining in a horrible sort of way (as others before me have said, and far more articulately), and if it was a shorter book with a more concise story I might have even enjoyed it, but I've got other books to read and I'm done spending my time on this one.

1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars

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