Author: Michelle Paver
Series: Gods and Warriors (#1)
How Received: BookExpo America
Release Date: 28 August 2012
In the turbulent world of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, long before the Greek myths, a boy and a girl battle for survival. With the help of three animal allies - a dolphin, a falcon and a lion cub - they defeat the forces of tyranny and withstand the elemental powers of the gods of land and sea.
Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver is a unique story. What sets it apart for me is its setting: Bronze Age Greece. This is an era which I previously didn’t have much knowledge of. I did take one semester of Art of the Western World, but we seem to have skipped over the one short chapter that Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective offers on it. Gods and Warriors provides a great introduction to this period in history as the backdrop for a tale of adventure shared by the main characters Hylas and Pirra.
Hylas is an Outsider; a social outcast in his land of Lykonia. He and his sister Issi were born outside the village walls and are therefore treated as slaves, forced to tend their master’s goats in the mountains. As the story begins, the villains of the story are introduced; the Crows. They are fearsome warriors from another island in the Greek system and are hunting Outsiders with no clear purpose. Pirra, on the other hand, is the daughter of a high-priestess, living inside the walls of the House of the Goddess in her homeland of Keftia all her life, wanting only to be free. Through a series of events that I won’t get into (spoilers!), Hylas and Pirra end up together on the Island of the Goddess, the most sacred and mysterious island in the world; filled with ancient and magical secrets.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the inclusion of the Goddesses sacred animals; dolphins. They play an important part in the story and are a unique approach to adding another perspective on the action. Author Michelle Paver spent time observing dolphins in the Island of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic, and I think that she really has a sense of how they behave and how they might react to the antics of humans. At the very least, she has created entertaining characters of them!
I think that the inclusion of the religious aspects of these people’s lives in this novel is very important. Although it isn’t the main focus of the story; the ancient and simple rituals such as giving an offering of food to the gods and rites of the dead are part of the charm of this particular era. It also provides another layer of depth for the characters and provides opportunities for them to go with or against tradition (yay character development!).
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am eager for the next. It was one of those stories that made me want to come back to it, even if I was supposed to be doing something else, so you know it’s gotta be worth checking out!
You might like it...: I would recommend Gods and Warriors to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and action/adventure stories. You can tell just by looking at the cover that there’s some mysterious, powerful, and ancient stuff going on, so if that’s your thing, this is the book for you. It’s also being advertised as a good book for Percy Jackson lovers, and I think that those who enjoy Rick Riordan’s stories will also like this one; even though they are not terribly similar in writing style.
Gods and Warriors is currently set to be released in late August of 2012. Keep an eye out for this one!
Julia is Nicole's rooommate and middle grade reviewer for WORD. She likes costuming. Check out her Tumblr at Adventures in Nerdland. You can find the rest of her posts on WORD by clicking here.