3 out of 4 stars
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A war broke out between the Trojans and the Achaians when Alexandros (son of the king of Troy) refused to give back Helen (wife of Menelaos, younger brother of the king of Mykenai) to her husband. Nine years have transpired since the Achaians first waged war against the city of Troy, yet no side has triumphed. The Achaians have not sacked the city of Troy, and the Trojans have not pushed the Achaians away from their city.
Homer’s Iliad began by detailing the events which lead to a fight that broke out between Agamemnon, king of Mykenai, and Achilles, the Achaians’ greatest warrior. Filled with bitterness, Achilles decided not to fight alongside the Achaians. Achilles’ bold decision did not produce any effect on Agamemnon. Agamemnon did not attempt to reconcile with him. Then, Achilles implored his mother Thetis to ask Zeus a favor: Achilles wants Zeus to side with the Trojans, not with the Achaians. Will Zeus approve of Thetis’ request? Will Agamemnon come to terms with Achilles? Will the Trojan War end with the Trojans as the victors?
An Accessible Iliad by Emer Jackson tells the story of the epic poem Iliad in the form of prose. It strictly follows the plot of the original piece and is divided into twenty-four chapters, which are conventionally called "books." Since the story involves a large ensemble of characters, reading the book can be confusing. To aid the readers, the book offers three separate lists of significant characters and their concise descriptions for the Greek side, the Trojan side, and the Gods. The narrative features themes of betrayal, violence, and deception.
The strongest feature of the book is the simplicity of the language used in telling the story. The book remained true to its purpose, which is to render the Iliad into uncomplicated prose that is accessible to ordinary readers. For some people, the original epic poem can be arduous to read and understand because of its old poetic style. I know that with this book, readers who don’t like poetry will genuinely enjoy learning about the events that went down during the Trojan war.
What I disliked the most about the book is the reason behind the war between the Trojans and the Achaians. I believe that if the leaders of the Achaians and the Trojans resolved their conflict peacefully, all the battles and the slain men would be prevented. However, I only hated the foolish basis of war and the war leaders’ absurdity slightly. I supposed the brutal manner of thinking and doing is only normal under that epoch. Thus, my hatred isn’t grand enough to affect my enjoyment of the book.
The use of profane language is minimal. Lewd scenes are also reduced to euphemisms and sexual references. The book is filled with errors; I recorded more than ten mistakes. Overall, I rate An Accessible Iliad 3 out of 4 stars. Emer Jackson has masterfully rendered the epic poem into prose while retaining its original touch and feel. With its simple language, the book is accessible to the average reader. The silly grounds for fighting did not affect my enjoyment of the book greatly; I still removed one star from the rating since the errors affected my appreciation of the book.
Violence is one of the key themes in the story. Many scenes take place on battlefields and contain gruesome depictions of how men slaughter each other. The most extreme descriptions feature beheading and disembowelment. Hence, I do not recommend this to very young readers. This book best appeals to avid readers and scholars of ancient Greek literature. Readers who have read the original piece of Homer’s Iliad might want to read this version. If you have not read the Iliad because you dislike poetry, I recommend you to read this prose.
An Accessible Iliad
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