4 out of 4 stars
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King Oceanus led his army to Tiryns, Greece with plans to overtake the village. Although Chieftain Aner wished to avoid bloodshed, led by Councilman Gorgon, the villagers fought back and forced the soldiers to retreat. However, they suffered the loss of several loved ones.
With plans to assemble a stronger and more ruthless army, Oceanus returned to Aktika, where his son Inachus lived. Because Inachus’s mother had died during his childbirth, Oceanus detested him and stayed away for years. Planning on using his son to head his army, he utilized multiple forms of torture to harden him and the soldiers. If anyone dared to question what the king said or did, they were executed and possibly tortured beforehand. Believing his father must always be right, Inachus gradually became more and more like the cruel king.
After several years of training and building his formidable army, the time came for Oceanus and Inachus to return to Tiryns. Knowing his plans had failed previously, Oceanus attempted a sneakier approach this time. He told the villagers he came in peace and brought food to them as a gift. He hoped to divide the people, which would make his takeover easier. Many of the villagers, having lost loved ones previously and wanting peace, were willing to give King Oceanus a chance. Will the Tirynese realize this evil king can’t be trusted in time to save themselves?
The Curse of Beauty: The Story Behind the Myth by Lauren Lee Merewether is a 484-page historical fiction, which is inspired by the Medusa myth. War, forbidden love, hate, and redemption all play roles in this intriguing tale. It is the first book in the Ancient Legends series but can be read as a standalone novel. It was difficult for me to predict the direction in which this mesmerizing story was going to unfold.
The book begins with a map of ancient Greece (1650 B.C.), which is enormously helpful in comprehending how the story evolves. The novel jumps into the action in the first chapter with King Oceanus and his soldiers arriving in Tiryns. The author has obviously spent time undertaking research and has brought ancient Greece vividly to life for the reader. Her enthralling prose demonstrated how Oceanus, with his psychological and physical abuse, could harden his son and soldiers into believing that respecting life represented a form of weakness. Conversely, Ms. Merewether showed how the people of Tiryns grew up under different circumstances and, therefore, had respect and love for others.
All of the main characters are excellently portrayed. One of the best characters is Thais, the chieftain’s daughter. She believes she has a role to play that is bigger than herself and is willing to set aside her own happiness for the good of the people. Her mother was killed in front of her when Oceanus came the first time. She will go outside of her comfort zone to prevent the bloodshed from happening again. However, her insecurity about the right course of action makes her believable and relatable. On the other hand, Oceanus thinks only of himself and reaching his goals. He has not always been so cruel. However, following his wife’s death, he has cared for no one and has believed other people’s lives are unimportant. Inachus has become hardened due to his father’s brutality. Although it is difficult to like him as he becomes more like his father, we grieve his horrendous childhood.
Although I have read several excellent books recently, this one has ranked among the best and has lingered in my thoughts since finishing it. There is nothing that I didn't relish. Therefore, I am thrilled to award it four out of four stars. This amazing novel is enthusiastically recommended to readers who appreciate historical fiction and drama, especially if they enjoy reading about ancient Greece and Greek mythology. Romance lovers would also appreciate it. A great deal of violence is encountered in the story. If that is a problem, then the reader might want to look elsewhere.
The Curse of Beauty
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