Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood. A review

Hi, Little Bears!!

Hope you’re having a good month and that you enjoy this new review.

First of all, I’d like to thank NetGalley and Hachette UK for granting me early access to an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this book 4 stars.

TW: Sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, being lied to, being forced to do things you do not want to.

This is a new adult or adult mythology retelling of the story of Sparta and Troy told from the women’s perspective. Helen and Klytemnestra are the pricesses of Sparta and told from an early age that they have to marry the appropriate candidate chosen by their father, and so they do. But, what will come of their lives? Will they see each other again? Did their view of live and the world change throughout their experience?

I was expecting a story pretty similar to Circe in the sense that we’d see female rebellion and independence in a time where that was not really a possibility. However, this was far from what I found.

I strongly belief that one’s expectations for a book should never determine your rating, so I tried to be faithful to this, because that isn’t the book’s or the author’s responsibility.

I felt the writing style was quite YA, although most topics are adult, but it was quick and easy to read despite how hard it was to face the reality of those women.

This work shows how women were treated in the Greek culture, how they were told they could not marry someone they loved because, either their father chose the most suitable candidate for them or several suitors would participate in tournaments and the woman was forced to marry the winner. They also had to do as told by males and had no right to talk or do anything unless the man gave them permission to do so. Many of them, hence dreamed of being loved and/or having a pretty different life to the one they were obliged to follow, so some tried to make this real and this book demonstrates that what is said to have happened, was simply the result of the oppression women were suffering.

I find these topics essential in books, so we can understand what their situation was like, how far we’ve come, and reflect on the fact that many women are still living like that in many parts of the world.

Another topic that is shown as a secondary one, but not of lesser importance, is slavery. Those in the ‘lower layers’ of society would be considered objects that nobles could decide on and do with as they pleased. They existed merely in order to do what others didn’t want to or, on the contrary, demanded. Their feelings, as those of women, were not taken into account, if others thought they had them, even. So they were not humans.

Despite being plot driven, characters are deeply developed and show evolution of lack thereof for plot purposes. They were real, full of flaws and led me to believe everything that happened to them because their feelings and thinking processes were perfectly portrayed.

I highly recommend you read this book if you’re not triggered by the contents.

Let me know if you’re read the book, what you thought of it or if you’re planning to read it.

Bear hugs!

Anne

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