Merrie Haskell's Reviews > Discord's Apple

Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn
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Jun 19, 2011

Read in June, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I really enjoyed this, in spite of a) having an extremely serious misconception as to what this book was about (I thought it was a YA retelling of Troy! I hear some people read the backs of books, and I guess this is why! *tongue firmly in cheek*) and b) not usually being a huge fan of this kind of book, "this kind" meaning where old gods turn up in the modern world and start creating havoc.

The gist of the story is that Evie is the heir to the Storeroom, where all the magical artifacts of myth and legend have been kept to allow humans to shape their own destinies. The simple premise is that Hera has returned, and she wants the golden apple that sparked the Trojan war. Sinon, a survivor of the Trojan war who was enslaved by Apollo and granted immortality (or perhaps "punished with"), shows up looking for something to end his life. And Merlin shows up, looking for Excalibur.

Normally, this would have been a dealbreaker for me, but everything was extremely well-executed. The characterization of Sinon was a great help, and got me interested in the whole story when I might otherwise have dropped off; and the novel take on gods (people who just happen to have a lot of magic) was also good. It is so rare that a book grabs me by the throat and drags me through the whole book that I appreciate that quality almost above all others, at this point; and the narrative here was highly compelling. The great reveal towards the end (that the keepers of the Storeroom are the descendants of Odysseus) was nicely underplayed, to my satisfaction. It was refreshing to have defined, limited magics, a main character who was interesting but not "urban fantasy kick-ass," strong family relationships that were neither empty and painful nor maudlin/saccharine, and world-weary characters who are simply world-weary, not uselessly jaded and cynical.
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