Song of Princes is the first book of the Homeric Chronicles, a New Adult series, retellings of the Trojan War. It was written by Janell Rhiannon, and published in June, 2016. I first about this book on BenjaminOfTomes’ YouTube channel, and added it on my TBR shelf on Goodreads. A while later, I was contacted by the publisher, and they sent me a copy for review. I know it’s long due, but better late than never…
Genre: New Adult, Mythology Retelling
My rating: ★★★★✩
Warning: This book is a New Adult read, and contains a lot of sexy/sex scenes.
Song of Princes goes way back before the Trojan war started, and follows most of its main protagonists. It starts with Hecuba and her husband king Priam, right before the birth of their son Paris, and the prediction that says he will become the doom of Troy.
As the story unravels, the reader gets to meet more of its protagonists. Gods, mortals, heroes, queens…And the unavoidable slowly becomes more and more clear: the Trojan war is drawing closer.
Of course, this book is a retelling of a very old tale, so you know what’s going to happen right from the start. However, that doesn’t make it any less amazing. Janell Rhiannon clearly made her research, and provides the reader with so many details, it is impossible not to get drawn into the story.
I thought it was an very interesting take on the original story. I usually envision the Trojans as the “villains” of the Trojan war, because Paris is the one who captured Helen, and the Illiad and the Odyssey are told from the Greeks’ point of view. However, in Song of Princes, Trojans are at the center of the story most of the time, and they are portrayed in such a human way it is impossible not to like them. And even more importantly, all human characters are presented as simple pawns of the Greek Gods. They are at their mercy, and do whatever they are told. It is impossible to avoid the prophecy. But that made the book really enjoyable. In a way, you are placed into the position of the gods themselves: you see them struggle, trying to avoid their fates, the prophecies, and in the end it’s impossible.
The character portrayals in this book are excellent. I don’t know how else to put it. This book has a lot of diverse characters, they are all so different, and so human each in their own way, and that makes it extremely interesting. Really, congratulations to Janell Rhiannon for this, I can’t wait to read more about all of them! I particularly liked the emphasis on the femaly characters such as Hecuba and Clytemnestra, I think the chapters about them were my favourites.
Finally, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed this book, and would totally recommend it. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because some of the male characters were too rude and brutal for my taste. I know it totally made sense in this context, and I respect that. It just was a bit frustrating to me. But overall, this was an incredible read! I just love mythology so much, and boy, I was not disappointed with this! Keep up the good work, Rhiannon, I will be watching out for your next release!