Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: A Fair Wind for Troy by Doris Gates

Title: A Fair Wind for Troy
Author: Doris Gates
Genre: Mythology
Publisher: Puffin
Published: 1984
Pages: 96

Rating: 3 out of 10

I love the Trojan War, but why does every author tell it in the same way? There are so many characters and sides and intricate details to it, I suppose that the reader does admittedly need to know the same basic details every time. But I have found that most authors who decide to write the tale of the Trojans perform their execution in much the same way: distant, factual, and unbiased as to which side or character they would prefer to see come out victorious. Rarely does the story stay with a single character. For all of the books I have read on the subject, I still have no sense that I have ever come to know any of the characters.

This one is no different, perhaps even worse. It covers the tale of Helen being given away in marriage, the story of Paris giving an apple to his favorite goddess, and then touches lightly upon how Odysseus leaves home. It then focuses quite heavily on the tale of Iphigenia, a lesser known character who was the daughter of Agamemnon.
As for the actual war, it was brushed over in the last few pages and not really covered.

The book had no plot, purpose, or point. There was no main character and little connection between the few relatively unrelated stories that each chapter told.
No character was ever looked into in even the most cursory way, and the whole thing was scattered and messy.

This book is rather short at only 96 pages (though the print is trickily small), and I am pretty sure that it is a children's or at least YA book.
Therefore, I was amused at the illustrations. There were 4 or 5 full page, pretty illustrations. Well done, but if this is a children's book, why are the characters of the drawings so sensually portrayed? Not a single one failed to accentuate the just-barely-covered breasts, privates, or buttocks. I just thought that this was a bit strange, given the age group the book is aimed at.

I cannot recommend this confusingly jerky book to anyone. In fact, I think that I would dissuade you from reading it even more strongly if you like the Trojan War. This one covers it in such a way as to make it almost insulting.
Not a good find, I'm afraid.