Belles Livres's Reviews > Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy by Margaret George
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Oct 28, 11

Read from October 27 to 28, 2011

I seem to have a different reaction than many others to this book. For them, the first 300 pages dragged. However, I definitely preferred the first half to the second. I expect a number of things led to my reaction. First, the story is certainly less depressing in the first half. The latter portion is full of death and war and disappointment. Second, the whole book is from Helen’s point of view and she was a genuine participant in the earlier sections. During the war Helen could not really be a participant and so there was a distancing from the storytelling – I was simply less engaged. Third, many of the events in the very end feel rushed – as if George is putting them in because she has to, but they somehow didn’t grip me. That is, except for the very, very end.

However, I did not feel the same distaste that many readers did for Helen. If I wanted to only read about virtuous people, I would never have chosen this book! Besides, passion is extremely powerful (love is the most powerful, says Dumbledore). It was good to point out, too, that the whole war was a serious overreaction, that blaming Helen and Paris for everything was rather unfair. I liked how the emotions changed – quite realistic. I also think that the scenes with gods and goddesses were fairly well done, as such things seem challenging.

Perhaps because I’ve been encountering too many “fast” women in stories lately, I did not like the fact that Helen was fleet of foot.

I can understand that as Helen was telling the story, all the characters would sound alike, but I did get a little tired of some of George’s flowery descriptions about the sky, and the word “Oh!” was uttered by far too many. I can sympathize that the situation rather demanded it, given what was happening, but I would have liked for characters to say something else.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it – especially the first 300 pages! I would give it 3.5 stars if I could. As I can't, I'll give it 4.
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