Title: Nobody's Princess
Series: Nobody's Princess ⋯ Book 1
Author: Esther Friesner
Summary: She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Unlike her prissy sister, Clytemnestra, she takes no pleasure in weaving and embroidery. And despite what her mother says, she's not even close to being interested in getting married. Instead, she wants to do combat training with her older brothers, go on heroic adventures, and be free to do what she wants and find out who she is.
Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and an attitude. And while it's the attitude that makes Helen a few enemies (such as the self-proclaimed "son of Poseidon," Theseus), it's what also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.
In Nobody's Princess, author Esther Friesner deftly weaves together history and myth as she takes a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy. The resulting story offers up humor, action, and a fresh and engaging heroine you cannot help but root for.
Review: Nobody's Princess is about a Spartan princess named Helen. Helen wants to do more with her life than making cloth and healing people. She decides that she wants to learn to fight like her brothers, so she convinces her brother's combat teacher to train her, too. A few years later, she talks her mother into teaching her archery. While away for her sister's marriage, her brother's discovery of a wild boar in Calydon brings an adventure she's been waiting for. During her stay in Calydon, Helen meets a huntress named Atalanta, who teaches her how to ride a horse. On the way back to Sparta, Helen's brother decide to stop in Delphi. There, they meet Apollo's prophetess, the Pythia. In a short time, Helen and the Pythia become friends, and the book ends with Helen setting sail for another adventure.
I really liked this book. I liked the writing style, and I liked how the author incorporated different elements from different time periods in ancient Greece, but still staying in the main time period of Helen, the Bronze Age. Another thing I liked about this book was how Helen's character was developed throughout the book. Having another girl warrior really gave Helen the confidence in herself, and I felt that was important to her character. I liked how she kept persevering, even through the hardships of being a girl who wanted to fight.
Another thing I liked was how the author described Helen’s surroundings and what was happening, I thought that was in really good detail and very well described. This quote is an example of that, “I hung by hands from the branch for a moment, then dropped to the ground in front of her, landing on an oak root and sprawling into last autumn’s fallen leaves. My tumble startled her horse, but she controlled the huge creature with just a touch of her knees to his barrel.” Something I also liked was how the mythology was incorporated, and how strongly the gods were represented, which was how that time was.
One thing I didn’t like was how superior all the men thought they were, and how the women were happy enough just weaving cloth, but that was all apart of the culture. Another thing I didn’t like was how the king of Calydon thought that any accomplishments a woman made in hunting or battle skills was all a fluke, when Calydon was one of the only city-state that accepted women learning archery or the art of hunting. “He says that it’s one thing for a girl to bring down a rabbit or two with her bow but that there’s something unnatural about one who also knows how to use sword and spear, who can wrestle, ride, and race like a man.” In this quote the king’s son was talking about what his father’s views on Atalanta.
All in all, I think this book was very good, and I think the author did a good job getting the point across that girls can do anything a boy can do.