Monday, February 21, 2011

Review - Polyxena: A Story of Troy by H. Allenger

Polyxena: A Story of Troy

TITLE:    Polyxena: A Story of Troy
AUTHOR:    H. Allenger
INFO:    Paperback, Fiction, 400 pages
PUBLISHED:   iUniverse, 2009
ISBN#:   978-1-4401-5470-6
HOW I GOT IT:   Received from Author for Review

  After Troy falls, Neoptolemus claims Polyxena as his prize, but she rejects his advances. In a fit of rage, Neoptolemus contrives a story that dooms the ill-fated Polyxena. She knows what she must do to survive, but she cannot change her destiny. Polyxena, the daughter of King Priam of Troy, knows her misfortune has been to have Neoptolemus fall in love with her. As she prepares to die at the commemoration rites for Neoptolemus's father, Polyxena reflects over her past year, relating her thoughts to Aphrodite, the Goddess she believes is responsible for orchestrating the events that have beset her. As she tries to make sense of it all, Polyxena converses with all the well-known personages associated with the Trojan myth-Achilles, Agamemnon, Cassandra, Helen, and many others-while seeking solace in the hope that her existence has not been futile. In this moving story of forbidden love, a young woman who is an integral part of the romantic legacy surrounding Troy comes to a surprising and satisfying conclusion about the life she has lived.

MY TAKE:    This is the story of a young princess of Troy caught in the battle between the Trojans and the conquering Greeks.  She is the daughter of King Priam, but is in love with the infamous Greek warrior Achilles.  Theirs is a doomed romance that will have an immediate effect as well as long-term repercussions on the outcome of the war. 

This fictional tale was based upon stories of Greek history and legends.  Although the book starts out a bit slow, the pace picks up quite a bit as Polyxena begins interacting with the Amazons. She becomes a favorite of Penthesileia, Queen of the Amazons and has a love affair with the Amazon warrior Antiope. Polyxena's time with the Amazons is probably my favorite part of the book.  I would have liked to see that part of the story expanded even more, especially with the warrior training. 

There was a large cast of players in this story.  Frankly, Polyxena wasn't really one of my favorites; she annoyed me.  Part of this might have been because a male author writing in a female first person point of view is a difficult task to pull off.  Polyxena's "musings" at times made me think of those vapid song lyrics, "I'm pretty, oh so pretty..."  They were in complete contrast with the strength and intelligence she showed in her political dealings and relationships.  The self-absorption didn't ring true with her other attributes and thoughts.  It was fitting more with what a man might think a woman would think about. 

I did like many of the male characters as well as Penthesileia, Queen of the Amazons.  They were much more fleshed out and realistic feeling to me ~ especially in the roles they were given.  Agenor, Achilles and King Priam were all strong male leads with a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders.  The Queen and several other females such as Helen and Andromache were portrayed as a male might observe them and thus came across believable.

One other small issue I had was with some of the dialogue.  Our modern slang crept into this story and jumped out at me a few times.  I find it a bit hard to believe that warriors from around 1200 B.C. would use terms such as "get real" or "get over it". 

This was an enjoyable story even though there was a large dose of sadness mixed into this tale.  When I was finished I immediately got online to read a bit more about Troy and the mythology surrounding it.  I think when an author has entertained, educated and inspired me to learn more about his subject matter, he's done a good job. 

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:

WHERE TO BUY IT:    Amazon, The Book Depository, Powell's Books, IndieBound

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


  1. I was quite intrigued with Polyxena as a preteen, reading about the Trojan war, and insisted on naming our cat (who had bracelet-like stripes on her paws) after her. However, one of my pet peeves is anachronistic language. A book I read recently had the Renaissance heroine calling people "guys" - honestly! I don't know whether to blame the author or the editor!

  2. It really is distracting when things like that pop up isn't it? It's unfortunate that it does slip by more than one person to be caught by the readers.

    That's a creative name for a child to pick for their cat - we had Fat Albert and Spanky :)

    Thanks for coming by :)


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