Matt Posner's Reviews > Dioscuri

Dioscuri by Chrystalla Thoma
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Aug 31, 11

Read from August 27 to 30, 2011

Being familiar with the original Greek mythology, I introduced myself to Chrystalla Thoma and asked her to let me read and review Dioscuri, her re-imagining of the tale of Kastor and Polydeukes, two sons of Zeus one of whom is immortal, and one of whom is not. (In the original myth, they are the brothers of the immortal Helen and the mortal Klytemnestra, who were key figures in the Trojan War.) Chrystalla warned me that she had changed a lot -- and she has. Now sharing a body after Kastor's death, the two brothers are engaged in an ongoing war between the Greek gods and mortal men, with beasts from Greek mythology (harpies, lamiae, chimeras) taking the field for the gods, and some lesser immortals (nymphs, dryads, a goat-man called Satyr) on the human side. They have rifles and tanks and are living in essentially a modern world that has Greek gods and monsters in it. But Polydeukes, the immortal one, has made a deal with a mysterious partner to let Kastor continue to live in his own body, alternating days in that body with Polydeukes, whose immortal body lies on the slab. How long can they keep this up before father Zeus takes note and gets really angry?

The story is about 60 pages long and is a very quick read -- essentially half a novella, it can be read in a single sitting. Chrystalla writes very smoothly. Proofreading is excellent, and sentence writing is skillful and efficient. The characters are very well-drawn and distinctive, and the plot moves at a fast clip and has a fully satisfying resolution of the conflict. It is not in any way similar to the Percy Jackson books, which are set in our world -- this is about adults and written for adults, and it is a dark and dangerous world that stimulates the reader with the possibility of other unexplored corners.

I came out of this story feeling that it could have been about five times as long and still held my interest. There was vast potential in this world and in the characters. I would recommend that Chrystalla expand Dioscuri to a full-length novel if she is ever so motivated.

I will definitely read more books by Chrystalla Thoma.
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