Friday, August 13, 2010

Black Ships by Jo Graham

I've been a busy girl. I brought a stack of books with me to read while my boyfriend's at work. I finished this one in less than 48 hours.

Black Ships is barely fantasy, but there are magical and supernatural elements about it. From the back cover:
In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, she is destined to counsel kings.

When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she was born for and a most perilous adventure - to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest, and only she can dare the gate of the Underworld to lead him to his destiny.

In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.
I must admit, from the description on the back, I was hesitant to read this right now. I was in the mood for something fast-paced and exciting, and this seemed like it would be somewhat meandering and introspective. Plus, historical fiction has never really been my thing. However, it was due back to the library first of all of my books, so I felt obligated to at least give it a try.

I was very pleasantly surprised. This book has a very similar feel to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon novels, as is noted on the back cover. It is definitely a female-centered book, as it is narrated by Gull throughout.

Also, if you pick this book up, I highly recommend reading the "extras" in the back. As someone who doesn't know much about the ancient world, this pulled a lot of the information together for me.

Overall though, I am heartily looking forward to picking up Jo Graham's second book The Hand of Isis.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Stand-alone
Plot: 3.5 / 5
Setting: 4.5 / 5
Characters: 4 / 5
Pace: Middlin'
Descriptiveness: Fair
Fantasy factor: Low link


libertyfallsdown said...

I've not read this one, but I really enjoyed Hand of Isis. It's much the same as this one by the sounds of it - very girly historical fiction with a slight fantasy twist.

I shall have to hunt this one down at the library :)

Escapist said...

I can't wait to get Hand of Isis. I may have to pick it up when I get back from vacation.

She's got a new one just out called Stealing Fire. It looks to be a bit different than the other two.

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