Daphne sprints through the ancient woods of Sparta at full speed. Heart pounding, lungs full, she pushes her body to the limit. She will not fail! This race is her chance to prove herself to all of Sparta. But someone appears in the woods that stops her cold. It seems that something precious to Gods of Olympus was stolen and Daphne has been chosen to get it back.
In classic Greek mythology, the story of Daphne is about chastity and purity. Young and beautiful, Daphne is relentlessly pursued by the Greek god, Apollo. Spurning his advances, Daphne transforms into a laurel tree in order to preserve her innocence. It is a common theme in mythology for women to be fragile victims while the men play the role of the champion.
Debut author Claire M. Andrews re-imagines the character of Daphne as a strong woman who becomes a hero in her own right. In Daughter of Sparta, Daphne is raised in the only place in Greece where women have freedom. In Sparta, women are educated and control their own households. They are expected to be physically fit – Daphne is as skilled with a sword and shield as her brothers. As a military state, Sparta has a reputation for producing the finest soldiers in the known world.
Daphne’s strength and courage catch the interest of the gods who believe they can utilize her to their advantage. Nine items were taken from Olympus and with them the power of gods begins to wane. Unless they are returned, the gods will lose their immortality and fade into obscurity. Daphne is tasked to retrieve what was lost to Olympus before it’s too late.
The quest leads Daphne to the darkest corners of Greece. Her story intertwines with other figures from Greek mythology. King Minos of Crete, the Sphinx of Thebes, and Charon the Ferryman all appear in her journey. The story moves lightning quick from one event to the next, never allowing the reader a chance to grow bored. Fair warning that the story will not go in the direction you think it will. The author often uses her creative license to show classical mythology in a new light. The heroes you’ve heard about may be quite different than you expect.
These character developments give this seemingly straight forward quest a fresh energy that will leave the reader wanting more from this series. Those that enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson novels as a child will be thrilled to enter into Daphne’s wild journey of re-imagined Greek myths.
— Lesley L.