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*Attained 17th place on the hourly 'Top 100 Amazon Best Sellers - Greco-roman Myth & Legend Fantasy Fiction' list*

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Contrary to an algorithmized shelving of the book here on Goodreads, the novel is adult fiction and does not belong to the Young Adult genre.]

On Cosmos, death is not everyone's fate. There, where children cannot grow up away from their birth land and humanity is split into four Nations ... are Stones that are not stones.

A cadet official of her country’s royal council, Drynoe keeps finding herself torn between who she is and who the world forces her to be. What is more, her scarred past has forced her to believe that being governed by one’s feelings is a weakness that comes with a fatal price.

When a most revered, supercentenarian ruler who was unable to die meets his unforeseen end, and Hydranos, the primordial Stone-‘essence’ of water that uncovers even the most hidden of feelings, takes flight, the cosmic balances start to go haywire. Drynoe and her friends end up in the vibrant colony of Helicasteros and on the threshold of life-altering events, like their encounter with the enigmatic master builder Lythes, who constantly challenges anyone that isn’t true to oneself … when he’s not weaving his own impenetrable mist of secrets. Immersed into the oblivion and almost eternal summer of a land where treasure hunters are entitled to sanctuary and no barriers between wishes and real life exist, Drynoe’s resolve is tested more than ever. And the group’s protean hostess Vryx is⸺like Hydranos⸺tenaciously set on unmasking their hearts' deepest desires ... turning them from dreams into reality.

Sailing in literary fantasy waters, Hydranos is the first novel in the series The Age of Stones.

584 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 1, 2014

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About the author

Constantina Maud

6 books131 followers
Constantina Maud (pen name of Konstantina Koutsoupia) is a bilingual writer.

Hydranos--her debut fantasy novel published in Greek (2014) and in English (2018)--attained 17th place on the hourly 'Top 100 Amazon Best Sellers - Greco-roman Myth & Legend Fantasy Fiction' list.

Other works of hers include the short stories YT-79605 (attained 29th place on the hourly 'Top 100 Amazon Best Sellers - Literary Short Stories' list) and Rite of Passage (published in the anthology 'Conversations' by Kingston University Press). Flash fiction stories of hers have appeared on the literary platform ‘121 Words’.

Holder of a Master of Laws in History and Theory of Law from the University of Athens [thesis: The Law of War in Thucydides's Work], she has years-long experience as a lawyer and has also worked for Kazantzakis Publications, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre and the Civil Society sector (Bodossaki Foundation, HIGGS). As a distinguished Honorary Reporter of the Korean Culture and Information Service, articles of hers have been selected and featured on the official web portal of the South Korean government (KOREA.net).

When she's not pouring cultural diversity into her writing, she can be readily found creating worlds from scratch.

Explore Hydranos's universe here .
Instagram: @constantina.maud9
Pinterest: https://gr.pinterest.com/constantinam...

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5 stars
25 (36%)
4 stars
24 (35%)
3 stars
16 (23%)
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2 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,343 followers
February 8, 2019
Temporary EDIT: Per the author's page there is a discount on this book until February 23rd if any of you are interested in reading this one!

***Advance Review Copy generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I have so much to say, so I just hope I won't forget.
When the author offered me the book, I was not entirely sure whether I should accept. The blurb did not sound like something I would usually read, and I'm not exactly drawn in by the cover. I know, I'm vain when it comes to book cover. The thing is, the cover works very well with the story. But I'm still honestly going to say that this cover would not get me to read it. Which would be a shame! Because I really like this novel. And if you are in a market for a novel that is well written and is nothing you ever read, then pick up this one.

Whether she willed it or not,
those memories were always the reality.
As is life.
As is death.
Or the path that binds them.

The first thing I need to say is that the author's English is absolutely marvellous. She has an amazing way with the language. It is that great that I had to double check whether she is a native speaker or not. (She's not if you are wondering.) There are so many writers that are native speakers that should ask this author for help with English. The only problem I sort of had in this department was a huge overuse of ellipsis. I decided to ignore all of the ellipsis because a majority of them should have been replaced by periods. But the author said that she's working on removing them, so that should be resolved.

This is not a book you could just randomly open and read a bit and then close it. It is a bit harder to read, mostly due to a complicated story (in a good sense!). The author created a very complex world where you really have to pay attention to what is going on. It seems she took inspiration in Greek history/mythology or even language which worked brilliantly. Everything made sense, and I could not find anything that seemed strange or out of place.

If I had to describe the novel's writing style with one word it would probably be rich. As I already said, the author has a great way with words, but it sometimes created a situation where you need to re-read a sentence to make sure you understood correctly. But then that was the beauty of the novel. It is not an easy read, but it is an amazing read!
Also be ready for a bit more "descriptive" style. Sometimes there are pages and pages without dialogue. Which from the beginning were a bit hard to get into but I would say that after three chapters I did not pay attention to any of this. I was just flying through the pages!

As for the characters... I usually don't like the main character. And I could not believe that I was actually liking Drynoe. She stands out from her group of friends which made me interested in her. Also, the conversations this group of friends have? Pretty hilarious!
My second most favourite character would be probably Vryx. And for some reason, I cannot point out one character that I hated.

"I think honesty is my worst flaw,"

The novel has an extensive glossary and trust me, you are going to need it. Somewhere in the middle of the book I stopped reading and read the whole glossary, like twice!

Dear sister, don't give love any more importance than it deserves."
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,653 followers
May 15, 2019
4.4 STARS! a mythical and philosophical work of high literary fantasy with a breathtaking world, unforgettable writing, and world-shaking twist :)

A twist that, in its aftermath, I am left staring at the wall, my features etched in stone into an expression of, not only shock, but the one you get when you realise the solid ground beneath your feet is, in fact, the sea—and you're falling. A glorious soaring free fall.

At first I could only utter senseless inappropriate sounds, then it turned to hysterical laughter, and now I am left starting at the wall, lacking any words because ... WOW!

I need to recover properly to write the review this underrated book deserves; but, in the meantime, read this shortened and slightly edited version of the heartrending letter in the book. And read it till the end while I go to continue my wall-staring vigil:

Dearest friend,

Even if staying here is a mistake, even if, that is, I myself block my own way, please, don’t forget that I strived so hard to go down paths, where others had cast shadows on, too. What is truly unfair is having something other than your own self stand in your way. However, when the decisions and the faults are yours, you are also responsible for setting them right. Here, now, I shall accept whatever fate.

Did I confuse you? My guardian, I’m telling you all this, because I don’t think I will eventually experience a lot of things—and I don’t even know if I want to doubt, about whether I’ll ultimately live those things or not. Whatever is meant to happen, will happen for a reason...

Since we live for a reason; and it is never one single goal. It’s the line between the milestones, a mechanism leading each of us in accomplishing whatever we were made to accomplish: being whole.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Because the things leading each one of us to completion are different. First, one has to find those things, all of them ... and then make them come true. The enslaved part of my nature needs complete care—perhaps even for centuries. Perhaps then I shall be ready to feel whole. I want to believe it’s not too late.

Rhyathea, I’m tired. Sometimes I say, if I had the chance to wish for something unrealistic, I’d wish to be a bird. A new kind of bird that could fly even outside the world’s air, and always away from the earth.

I got carried away. And these days, ‘normally’, I would have been drawing closer than ever to the end of some of the battles which, if I ever won them, it was only by shedding my blood. ‘Must’ that became ‘want’? No. The opposite. I chose many of my paths, along with their exacting turns, routes which I was once even looking forward to. ‘Something that is real,’ I used to say... How did this volition shrink down to an imperative?

Because, as you’ve seen, I fly too much. And I’m not allowed to, I was ‘simply’ born in the air without ever having actually landed. This means that, when I will have to meet the earth for good one day after all this flying, the landing shall be rough. Therefore, what? Dreams should remain stars? And the feet on the ground? Either way, I shall keep trying to tame the nature and the thirst of this heart of mine. I want to love life, not to end up cursing it.

I’m not a poet, unlike you. Whatever I write is pointless, at the very least. For me, though, these are the truest things I’ve ever told you. Did I manage to ride the wind? Well, it’s still too early to know. Because I feel that now is the beginning. And there are much more to come. But thanks to Eon, to you, to my brothers, the beginning in this place here is ... ideal!

I was blessed enough to receive a copy of Hydranos in exchange for an honest review. I cannot wait to read more books by Constantina Maud 😍 what a debut!

Review to come!
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,459 followers
November 13, 2019
Very impressive first book by a new author. I am not sure whether I should put it in the Epic Fantasy book category or the Epic Sci-Fi book category. The author has used elements from ancient Greece and she managed to create a unique, definitely brand new and very imaginative world.
To be honest world building and word building do not allow much room to the story in this first book of the series. And consequently made my reading progress very slow. Sometimes the descriptions made me wanna skip pages, but when I did that then I was lost. Then I had to go back and reread. Overall it is a very complex, compact, tight book that will need your full attention. Needless to say all the details are important.
The Glossary that it is included in the end of the book is a very important feature of the book. I went back and forth to it several times in order to keep up with the story. The maps of the Cosmos are also interesting and helpful, while the Genealogical charts are far too complicated and maybe they will be interesting only to the hard-core fans of this universe.
The title and the stellar book cover are totally connected to the story. “Hydranos" is a stone, one of the five primordial Stones. It is affiliated to the Water, the Feelings and the Virtues of the Heart. When it takes flight, the cosmic balance will be out of control and Drynoe and her friends will have their adventure.
With one word, I could characterize this work: ORIGINAL. It is undoubtedly worthy of your attention.

(I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)
Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
458 reviews4,422 followers
March 8, 2019
Thank you so much to the lovely Constantina Maud for an opportunity to review her book.

So glad I'm finally getting around to this. So excited!

Image result for hydranos constantina maud

08/03 - This book was fantastic!!! Review to come soon. Thank you to Constantina for giving me the honour of reading this book!
Profile Image for Menia.
470 reviews32 followers
May 14, 2019
EDIT: this review is for the first edition July '18
(recently I was informed that it is now edited in the text)
The ebook was kindly provided by the author for an honest review.
Thank you Constantina and keep it up!
Well, it took me a little bit to finish it, but it was worth it.
It is a fantasy book with a new world and a promising plot but the new glossary and the new names almost in every sentence in the first chapters made it a little difficult to follow. The stone of the water element that represents the heart of the body is Hydranos and when it goes missing an adventure starts!
The book has loyal friendship, promising fantasy world, elements aka fire, earth, air, water and stones that represent them, a fifth element that holds them all and an adventurous quest.
All in all, it is a promising first book from a new author that deserves our support 
Profile Image for May.
297 reviews9 followers
January 8, 2021
If you asked me what this book is about, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I have some ideas, but they are half formed and incomplete. Moreover, the ending has only added to my confusion.

Hydranos is a Stone affiliated with the virtues of the heart. There are 4 other stones that have zero importance to the story. The world is divided into 4 nations. Drynoe, the protagonist, lives in Khoa, and has four "bosom" friends: Agathon, Adeimos, Pheidon, and Skemmos.

Agathon and Pheidon are the wise -and usually silent- ones; they are also completely redundant and have the same function as pieces of furniture. Adeimos and Skemmos are the clowns, and after a while their spectacular sense of humour starts to become jarring and annoying. Then we have Vryx, an infuriatingly silly and frivolous person with some idiotic and meaningless experiment in mind, and Drynoe and her friends are the test subjects.

Drynoe herself is boring, bland, and one-dimensional. Frankly I have no idea what the hell she was trying to accomplish. She has a sob story for a background, and then she leaves her home to become some sort of a military person, and then...what?

The major theme of Hydranos is the classic mind vs. heart dilemma: should you follow logic and reason and do what needs to be done, or do you look to your heart and unearth your true desires? Nevermind that these two things need not be mutually exclusive, I actually don't know what Drynoe has been trying to choose between. What are her true desires? What is her goal? What is she forcing herself to do? Maybe I am just too stupid to figure it out?

Anyway, someone or something offends Hydranos and it runs away. (I'm saying this with a straight face)

Drynoe and her friends find themselves in a shipwreck and end up in the city of the Art where people love festivals and dancing and having a jolly good time. Our five characters forget to inform their grieving families that they are alive and join in the celebrations.

We have other characters like Aristomachos, Aion, and Hython, whose existence is utterly insignificant. Narias and his sister are evil people (apparently for no reason) and a good deal is dedicated to describing how horrible they are, and then we never see them again.

And that's basically half of the book, which is also covered by the official description.

Now to the writing style. At the outset I'd been told that Hydranos relied more on descriptions and inner thoughts rather than action and plot twists, and that's fine with me. What I hadn't expected was that these descriptions would be so...excessively ornate. Every other word there was a simile, a metaphor, or some other litrary device that was completely unnecessary and sometimes rendered the text incomprehensible.

The saltiness of the sea air invaded your lungs and you felt as if it was in excess, as if made out of the tears for the long gone national leader somewhere above the envious waters.

if you paid a little attention during the funeral, you'd spot some drops of pain and love in the deep water eddies

'Time,' continued Agathon, 'shut its ledgers in a heartbeat. And it opened a new one for Vyssos, the new sea-master, who's bound to have a man beyond compare as a measure to live up to.'

Locals and visitors buzzed like tireless bees across the arteries of the heart called Plesthepolis
(Bees inside a heart???)

Up in the sky, a couple of red stars perpetuated their hiccup.

The sea wind, a godsend wind, had sent them to her like a healing wave and they sprinkled her heart with fragments of her friend's heart.

she enjoyed the breeze that played with her accommodating eyelashes.
(eyelashes, seriously??)

Your heart, my child, is both destination and haven. Whoever sails in it shall always come back.

the young woman's eyes rejoined, dripping bitterness on the moon in honour.

This last one is especially egregious, since I don't think I've ever heard a narrator refer to the protagonist as "the young woman", as in "and the young woman did so and so...and the young woman reciprocated the smile" or whatever. Each time I read this phrase I cringed so hard inside. Seriously: Every. Single. Time.

Which is a shame, because at times the descriptions were indeed beautiful, the focus on friendship and not on romantic love was a welcome change, and the world building holds so much potential (that has been completely wasted because it doesn't really serve the aim of the story). The Strife of Hydranos went right over my head and I didn't feel that the world's complicated history contributed anything worthwhile. The plot twist was not even a twist. And finally, the ending fell flat on its face (I still don't understand what Orrygenes has to do with the Archmedon, or why Hydranos got so offended).

But this is just my personal opinion. I don't care for ornate and flowery descriptions, obscure monologues, and nothing actually happening (whether internally or externally) for 500 pages, but there might be those who do. I wouldn't know.

This is one of two quotes that I actually liked:

"I don't know," she began reservedly, "whether a new horizon holds something different from those we've already known. But the faith that it might, keeps me alive. Every life is worth it, if there might be even just one moment in it when its master can say "I am complete". This moment... do you think we have already passed it by?"
"Such a moment shall never be only one," he told her. "But even if it were, if it's happening here, now...Wouldn't it be a pity to be talking about it instead of living it?"

*My thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Marilena ⚓.
605 reviews76 followers
October 11, 2018
The ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

First book of the series and it's a good start.Α different fantasy novel with action and suspense.
The novel begins when Hydranos disappears and Dryone and her friends start an adventure to find it.

As usual, however, those who strive to understand have no power to act.”

Ιt took me some time to finish it ,because it needs time and concentration to read it.
The language and the writing seemed quite difficult and hard for me at first, but after a few chapters I got used to it and I didν't have a problem.Thankfully at the end of the book there is a glossary that helps. Definitely you will need it!

The one thing that I did' t like was the details.So many details about the protagonists and about the world which Ι often passing lines.I understand that the author wants to make her writing more interesting but its didn' t work for me.

Overall I didn' t love it but I liked it.Surely it was a good try and it deserves our support.

And then, whatever you yearn for may indeed become a weakness or an open wound... if you make it the only standard by which you live your life.”
Profile Image for Mary ♥.
442 reviews101 followers
February 12, 2019
4.3/5 stars

Wouldn’t the joys of life lose all colour, if life was eternal?

**I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Something to listen to while reading this ♥

It was such a pleasure to read something from a fantasy writer from the same country as I, Greece. Especially writers who can create such a carefully constructed, clever, detailed and beautiful world. If there was one thing that completely blew my mind in Hydranos, it was the wonderful world building. There were names for the solar system, the Gods, the history, the land itself, the drinks and foods, the clothes and every single aspect of reality someone could think of. It was all so mgically woven together, that it created a fantasy world that wrapped itself around me, enclosing me in walls of ancient histories.

The downside to this masterpiece of a world building was that it perhaps stole some tension from the plot, reducing the action, which is why I gave it 4.3/5 stars. Despite that, though, the plot still had specific arcs that were more than just interesting, and there was a huge plot twist that had me completely taken aback, and that I absolutely did not see coming.

Another thing I really liked was the beautiful writing, and the way everything raised questions, making the story really thought provoking. The characters were many, each one carefully created to play a specific role in the story, but Drynoe was my favorite, as she was complex and strong, and curious, and just needed to come to terms with her emotions and draw her own path. I don't usually come to choose main characters as my favorite, but she was definitely a very great female protagonist. Bonus points to the story for the heartwarming friendships as well, and specifically for this merry band of Drynoe, Adeimos, Pheidon, Agathon and Skemmos ♥

The entire atmosphere was really great, and since I was in the mood for some high fantasy when I picked it up, I was not at all disappointed ♥ The world is based a lot on Ancient Greek mythology, as many of the names are based on that, and it also is heavily influenced by the natural elements, and the things that make us human, like feelings, reason and soul.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable read, and I really recommend for fans of complicated world buildings and strong friendship bonds ♥

Until the next review, keep reading and losing yourself in stories ♥

Profile Image for Roobie.
670 reviews88 followers
September 12, 2018
⭐️4 stars⭐️

I am incapable too, of bearing to lose what I wholeheartedly love. What did I use to tell you?
"That's how it is with what you love. You must be prepared to endure the pain when you lose it.
Because, you always lose it."

A great debut novel by a very promising new author.
The world she created is amazing and I loved reading about it and about Drynoe and her friends' quest. Not gonna lie, I used the glossary a couple times and to be honest I liked that it was there and I wasn't left wondering what certain things meant.

I will definitely be looking out for the next book.

A big thanks to Constantina Maud for giving me a copy of this book.

Profile Image for Tahera.
557 reviews227 followers
December 20, 2019
A big thank you to Constantina Maud for sending me an e-copy of the book 😊❤️!

I now hope to read this again in the form of a physical book to better appreciate the brilliant world the author has created. I know I took more than 2 months to complete the book because it initially did take me some time to get used to the language and the world described in this book but once I got the pulse of it, I was 🤯🤯. I am pretty certain I have not read a book like this one... like ever! It is original in every sense, from the story, the setting and world building and the characters.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
906 reviews278 followers
May 25, 2019
DNF @ 16%
This independently published book was just not for me. While it's high fantasy, which is normally my go to genre, Constantina Maud's style is one that I found a bit too difficult to stay in touch with.
As with any review I want to ensure everyone that by no means is my opinion a reflection of how awesome Maud is or her capability to write. It is merely my thoughts. I can tell you that I have had the pleasure of communicating with Maud on a few occasion's and she's an absolute doll. Super nice, patient and totally accepting of criticism. I also want to acknowledge Maud for all the work she does to market Hydranos and her writing. It's not an easy thing to ask people to review your work and then take what they say later at face value in a public forum.

Writing Style
Maud's writing style in Hydranos is of the 'high' literature type; in that there were many words in the opening pages I did not know the meaning of (all of which were cleverly used however!) and time when I found myself re-reading sentences. Not because they were grammatically incorrect; just because they were a bit wordy for me.
For example:
"He had got up and fed a few logs to the hearth."
"With Agathon's narration, time passed like ungrounded soil under the vigorous flow of rainwater and thus came the moment when the storm was raging only in the perpetual realm of the past."
Call me a wuss but that's a bit too much effort for me to digest complex writing like this. It's a completely valid way to write; but just not for me when it comes to fictional stories. I barely manage most classics, in honesty, for the same reason. For me reading should not be work or unduly taxing to my brain.

While we're talking about words and language I think it is interesting to note that Maud tells me the original manuscript was in Greek. It was then translated and proofed by someone in the UK and South Africa. This intrigues me in that one of the barriers to understanding some of the words or language might actually be that a North American didn't also read and provide input to Hydranos translation. It might seem weird but let's face it, yes even us Canadians, are lazy when it comes to language. We'd (generally) much rather simplify language. Even most Canadians drop 'u' from words (the American way) because it's just too much effort to bother; or because spell check tells them it's wrong (lol).

While I didn't get very far into the story, it was still apparent to me that there is a lot of great character development happening. From the dialogue having a certain tone and style to the internal thoughts we see the story from.
Another note here on language. This is not a book written with traditional dialogue. In some cases the dialogue is embedded into the thoughts or narrative of a person. This is common in older European fiction. I found this a bit stifling and realized I prefer to read dialogue broken out as a scene rather than as a narrative or flashback embedded in the story.

Some of you whom have read a few of my reviews likely noticed that I like my 'lol's' and my ellipses (...) in my reviews. This is a style choice I make and probably drives some people crazy. Interestingly Maud uses a lot of ellipses in her story. In fact I am willing to bet that every single page has 1 if not more ellipses on it. Because of the flow of the narrative from a characters thoughts it works in most instances. But, as an ellipsis (singular still has an 's'!) is rarely used punctuation in most fiction. As such I found it really distracting to see so many on the page. At one point I was glazing over the words as I read and instead just counting ellipses. Darn my wandering mind!

While Hydranos was not for me, I do believe it is for some readers. You can see many others here on Goodreads like it (including one of my 'buddies' Mary whom I trust and respect!) and so obviously there is a market for this style of literature. For those fantasy readers who like their stories to read like classics or in a 'Tolkien-esque' style I think this is the perfect book to give a chance.
Finally, I am doing something I don't normally do here... I am giving a 3-star rating to a book I did not finish (usually they get one star). The reason is that I think it's important to note that my dislike of the book was solely due to style and not based on the plot, characters, setting, etc. So as not to unfairly bring Maud's rating down I am ranking this one in the middle. Agree or disagree with my choice here as you like; but I hate to one star independent writers who are also working with significantly less resources than 'the Big 5' publishers.

A copy of Hydranos was provided to this reviewer by the author for free. This is an honest review; with no bias given to having received the book for free.
Profile Image for Ioanna.
58 reviews67 followers
September 21, 2018
A very interesting debut novel that you will like if you enjoy reading fantasy novels. Personally I loved it and I am looking forward to the next book of the series!
P.S. I would like to thank the writer for allowing me to read and review her book! Keep up the good work! 😊🌹
February 11, 2022
Αυτό το βιβλίο δυσκολεύομαι να το κατατάξω σε μια από τις καθιερωμένες λογοτεχνικές κατηγορίες, θα μπορούσα ίσως να το ορίσω ως φιλοσοφικό νεανικό μυθιστόρημα φαντασίας ή ακόμα καλύτερα να το χαρακτηρίσω ως αταξινόμητο. Ίσως κατά μία έννοια να αντικατοπτρίζει την κεντρική ηρωίδα του, την Drynoe, η οποία δεν έχει ξεκαθαρίσει μέσα της πού ακριβώς θέλει να πάει, τι ακριβώς θέλει να γίνει και πώς θα το επιτύχει. Συνεπώς δυσκολεύομαι να καταλάβω ποιο είναι ��ο κοινό στο οποίο απευθύνεται. Από καιρού εις καιρόν αγαπώ να πειραματίζομαι με διαφορετικά λογοτεχνικά είδη και ομολογώ πως δεν μετάνιωσα για ετούτη την επιλογή μου.

Έχω ξαναδιαβάσει δείγμα γραφής από τη συγκεκριμένη συγγραφέα οπότε ως προς το ύφος και τις τεχνικές ήξερα τι να περιμένω, σε γενικές γραμμές τουλάχιστον. Είναι σαφώς ένα πρωτόλειο μυθιστόρημα που ωστόσο μου προσέφερε μια ολοκληρωμένη και ικανοποιητική αναγνωστική εμπειρία και τη διάθεση να θέλω να μάθω τι θα γίνει στη συνέχεια. Η απόφαση να διαβάσω αυτό το βιβλίο ήταν αποκλειστικά και μόνο δική μου, το αγόρασα με τα δικά μου χρήματα, η συγγραφέας ανήκει στα άτομα που ακολουθώ στο bookstagram και μέσα από εκεί ανακάλυψα τη δουλειά της.

Κάτι πολύ σημαντικό που θα ήθελα να απευθύνω πρωτίστ��ς στους νεότερους αναγνώστες ως άτομο μεγαλύτερης ηλικίας. Το συγκεκριμένο μυθιστόρημα περιέχει στοιχεία που συναντώνται περισσότερο στο είδος της young adult λογοτεχνίας Περιέχει νεανικές αγωνίες και αναζητήσεις που εκφράζονται από μια ομάδα μαθητών που εκπαιδεύονται σε μια στρατιωτικού τύπου ακαδημία και ξεκινούν μια περιπετειώδη αναζήτηση, αναμετρώνται με υπερφυσικά όντα, ασκούν κριτική και εκδηλώνουν την αμφισβήτησή τους απέναντι στην κοινωνία των ενηλίκων στην οποία οφείλουν να ενσωματωθούν και την οποία θέλουν να αλλάξουν προς το καλύτερο και βιώνουν όλα τα άγχη που συνεπάγονται αυτής της κατάστασης.

Ωστόσο όλο αυτό αποτελεί μόνο ένα μικρό και επιφανειακό μέρος του βασικού πυρήνα της αφήγησης. Υπάρχει επίσης ένα δύσκολο έως δυσνόητο φιλοσοφικό υπόβαθρο (χρειάστηκε να κρατήσω 25 σελίδες με σημειώσεις) ένας πολύπλοκος μύθος και ένα ιστορικό πλαίσιο με πλήθος από χρονολογίες, πρόσωπα και γεγονότα που έχουν διαδραματιστεί στο παρελθόν και αναλυτικές περιγραφές τοποθεσιών, πόλεων, κτιρίων, εθίμων και εορτών, κοινωνικών, θρησκευτικών και πολιτικών συστημάτων, επαγγελμάτων κτλ. Το χτίσιμο αυτού του κόσμου και η θεωρία καταλαμβάνει περισσότερο χώρο μέσα στο βιβλίο από ότι η καθαρή δράση.

Ως προς τη θεματολογία του συγκεκριμένου έργου κατέληξα σε ένα διαχωρισμό που περιλαμβάνει τρεις βασικές ενότητες:

Cosmos, ένας πλανήτης όπου η ψυχρή λογική υποτάσσεται στο συναίσθημα:

Τα νοήμονα όντα που κατοικούν τον πλανήτη που στο βιβλίο ονομάζεται Cosmos και τα οποία σε αρκετά σημεία ορίζονται ως humans (παρόλο που η βιολογία τους δεν ταυτίζεται με την ανθρώπινη, είναι ωστόσο ανθρωπόμορφα) βιώνουν μια απότομη μετάβαση από την παιδική ηλικία κατευθείαν στην ενηλικίωση:

Seven years had passed since the day Drynoe was born on a boat drifting across Adamas's Field, about two years since the moment she had come to Plesthepolis and almost four since the oeakion had appeared on her body. Within roughly a year, every Cosmian has passed from birth to the end of adolescence; but the oeakion on the nape, this irreversible sign of ultimate maturity that looks just like a dark spot, even if it does not appear at the same, set age for everyone, it always marks the end of many things... Nevertheless, Drynoe was young.

Ασχέτως με τη βιολογική τους ηλικία ή αν είναι θνητά, αθάνατα ή αιωνόβια, όλα τα πλάσματα αυτού του σύμπαντος ως προς τη συμπεριφορά, τα συναισθήματα, τον τρόπο σκέψης και πρόσληψης της πραγματικότητας και την οργάνωση των μεταξύ τους σχέσεων ακολουθούν ένα κοινό μοτίβο, έχουν κοινές πολιτισμικές και ιστορικές καταβολές καίτοι υπάρχουν διαφορετικοί θεσμοί, ιδεολογίες, ήθη και έθιμα, φυλές και έθνη. Κάποια από αυτά τα όντα είναι ικανά για απίστευτη, εγκληματική σκληρότητα, πρόκειται για μια ζωώδη, αρχέγονη βία που μπορεί να προκαλέσει αληθινούς πολέμους και γενοκτονίες αλλά τα περισσότερα δεν διαθέτουν ίχνος από την ενήλικη σκληρότητα του ανθρώπινου είδους. Αντί αυτού έχουν εξαιρετική δυσκολία (σύμφωνα με τα δικά μας ανθρώπινα κριτήρια) να επεξεργαστούν και να ελέγξουν τις συναισθηματικές τους αντιδράσεις και γι’ αυτό, προκειμένου να εξασφαλιστεί ένα είδος ισορροπίας υπάρχουν οι λίθοι που εκπροσωπούν αφενός κάποιο φυσικό στοιχείο κι αφετέρου ταυτίζονται με μια κατηγορία ψυχικών διαθέσεων. Ένας Κόσμιος άνθρωπος έχει μια οντολογική εξάρτηση από αυτές τις πέτρες και ολάκερος ο πλανήτης τους κατ’ επέκταση χωρίς αυτές είναι καταδικασμένος σε μια αταξία κολοσσιαίων διαστάσεων (η οποία εκδηλώνεται μέσα από φυσικές καταστροφές).

Έκαστος ανθρώπου σύμβολον:

Οι χαρακτήρες του βιβλίου προσδιορίζονται κυρίως μέσα από τις σχέσεις και τις αλληλεπιδράσεις τους με τους άλλους χαρακτήρες. Αυτό δεν σημαίνει πως δεν έχουν ολοκληρωμένες προσωπικότητες και διακριτά χαρακτηριστικά. Πολύ συχνά και σε έντονο βαθμό αντιδρούν και καθρεφτίζουν τις σκέψεις και τα συναισθήματα εκείνου που έχουν απέναντί τους και η επιρροή που έχουν ο ένας επάνω στον άλλο παραπέμπει σε ένα είδος εξάρτησης. Οι δεσμοί που σχηματίζουν μεταξύ τους είναι εξαιρετικά ισχυροί και βιώνονται με εξαιρετική ένταση σε σημείο υπερβολής.

Όταν αισθάνονται την αποδοχή και την ασφάλεια μιας σχέσης (είτε πρόκειται περί φιλίας, είτε περί μαθητείας είτε περί έρωτα ή γονεϊκότητας ή για οτιδήποτε άλλο) όλες οι αντιστάσεις τους καταρρέουν κι αυτό τους καθιστά ευάλωτους τόσο για τους εαυτούς τους όσο και για τους συντρόφους τους. Οτιδήποτε έξω από αυτόν τον δεσμό μπορεί να τους κάνει είτε εξαιρετικά αδιάφορους (με την έννοια πως όσο ζουν μέσα στο προσωπικό τους σύννεφο ευτυχίας βιώνουν αισθήματα πλήρους ικανοποίησης παρά τις όποιες αντιξοότητες και κινδύνους που τ��υς περιβάλλουν και χαλαρώνουν τις άμυνές τους) είτε υπερβολικά υπερπροστατευτικούς (αν νιώσουν πως κάποιος άλλος που αυθαίρετα ορίζουν ως ξένο εισβάλλει στον χώρο που επίσης αυθαίρετα έχουν οριοθετήσει ως δικό τους μπορεί να αντιδράσουν επιθετικά και να εκδηλώσουν αδικαιολόγητη κτητικότητα).

Επίσης έντονες και ανεξέλεγκτες συναισθηματικές αντιδράσεις μπορεί να έχει κάποιος όταν δεν βρίσκει ή χάνει την συναισθηματική ανταπόκριση που είχε προηγουμένως, το σπάσιμο ενός δεσμού μπορεί να εκφραστεί με εκρήξεις οργής ή με βαριά μελαγχολία και πλήρη παραίτηση. Πολλαπλοί και παράλληλοι δεσμοί μπορεί να συνυπάρχουν με διακυμάνσεις στην έντασή τους, τίποτα δεν παραμένει αναλλοίωτο και στατικό μέσα στο πέρασμα του χρόνου αλλά η ανάγκη τους να ανήκουν κάπου ξεπερνάει το όριο μιας τυπικής ψυχικής συναισθηματικής και βιολογικής ανάγκης.

Από μια άποψη μου θυμίζει το Πλατωνικό συμπόσιο όπου εξετάζονται οι διάφορες πτυχές του έρωτα που μπορεί να είναι ωραίος και καλός, άσχημος και κακός, σωματικός ή ψυχικός αλλά σίγουρα είναι οντολογικά αναγκαίος όταν τον ορίζουμε ως αναζήτηση του ημίσεως. Κανένας από τους ήρωες του μυθιστορήματος δεν μπορεί να υπάρξει έξω από κάποιον δεσμό, η απώλεια ή η απουσία του Άλλου συνιστά ένα κενό όπου μπορεί να αφανίσει ολάκερη την υπόστασή τους ή να την καταστήσει ατελή, ανάπηρη. Μισή.

Τα Νήματα της Ιστορίας και η σχέση τους με τον Κοσμογονικό Μύθο.

Το έτος όπου εκτυλίσσονται τα γεγονότα ορίζεται ως το 2597. Οι κάτοικοι αυτού του πλανήτη φαίνεται πως έχουν μια κοινή ιστορία. Στο σημείο μηδέν του ιστορικού χρόνου δεν υπάρχει μια αρχαία ιστορία, ούτε μια προϊστορία. Υπάρχει ένας κοσμογονικός μύθος που περιλαμβάνει τη δημιουργία του σύμπαντος ο οποίος ωστόσο δεν είναι μύθος με την έννοια μιας φανταστικής αφήγησης αλλά με την έννοια μια πανάρχαιας προφορικής κοσμογονικής εξιστόρησης η οποία επιβιώνει ως τη σύγχρονη εποχή και που ως βάση της έχει πράγματα απτά, πέντε αρχέγονους λίθους που επηρεάζουν τον ιστορικό γίγνεσθαι και υφίστανται μέσα σε αυτό: ο Hydranos η Khoa, η Pyrrha, ο Aver και ο Dion.

Σύμφωνα με τον κοσμογονικό μύθο αρχικά υπήρχε ένα λίθος που κατονομάζεται ως ‘proto-Stone’ Hapan η οποία άρχισε να διαστέλλεται ώσπου εξερράγη και έτσι δημιουργήθηκε το σύμπαν που ονομάζεται Empan. Πέρα από αυτόν τον πρωτόλιθο ο οποίος κατά μία έννοια αποτελεί την υλική πλευρά του σύμπαντος υπάρχει και μία θεϊκή οντότητα ο Eon από τον οποίο προήλθε μια άλλη οντότητα το Apeiron το οποίο κάποια στιγμή έχασε την απειρότητά του και μετεξελίχθηκε σε κατώτερο θεό του κακού, ο οποίος ονομάζεται Olyon. Άρα ανάμεσα στο καλό και το κακό υπάρχει μια συγγένεια και συνάμα υπάρχει κι ένας ανταγωνισμός που εκδηλώνεται ως πάλη ανάμεσα σε δύο αντίθετες δυνάμεις.

Οι κάτοικοι του συγκεκριμένου Πλανητικού συστήματος έχουν από τη μια πλευρά καταγεγραμμένη ιστορία, ζουν σε προβιομηχανικές κοινωνίες σε μικρές κοινότητες ή πόλεις - κράτη, έχουν ανεπτυγμένο εμπόριο, ναυσιπλοΐα, γεωργία, αστρονομία, τέχνη, θρησκεία, φιλοσοφία, βιοτεχνία και από την άλλη συνυπάρχουν και αλληλεπιδρούν με οντότητες στις οποίες αποδίδουν θεϊκές ιδιότητες. Όσες από τις οντότητες αυτές βρίσκονται στο πλευρό του καλού θεού ονομάζονται Thesea και φυλάσσουν τον λίθο που ονομάζεται Dion και όσες βρίσκονται στο πλευρό του κακού θεού ονομάζονται Kedea. οι Aessons είναι τα Thesea που κατοικούν επάνω στον πλανήτη και φυλάσσουν τους τέσσερις υπόλοιπους λίθους:

The Aessons of Silence, before whose beauty every mortal is literally unable to utter a single world, guard Khoa; the Stone after which the ‘group’ of the first Khoan lands was named, as well. The Unseen Aessons linger around the Well, where their ‘leader’ Melomphaia has fallen, taking Aver along with her... The Naiads together with the Naians, the Haliads and the Haliaessons guarded Hydranos. And of course, there are the Lyceans too––the Aessons of Pyrrha, as brilliant as the sun itself... But the goal of all them was, is and shall always be another: the Aessons--who, for as long as they are Thesea and whenever they don’t disguise themselves, have for each one of us one and the same face, one and the same voice--guard and assist us; the weakest, most vulnerable of all creations.

Το βι��λίο περιλαμβάνει αναλυτική εξιστόρηση τόσο των γεγονότων που αποτελούν την ιστορία των Cosmians όσο και της μυθολογίας τους την οποία διάβασα με ιδιαίτερη προσοχή και αμείωτο ενδιαφέρον. Έχει επίσης εξαιρετικές περιγραφές που αποτελούν το δυνατότερο του σημείο ενώ το πιο αδύναμο είναι οι μακροσκελείς διάλογοι ειδικά όσοι δεν εξυπηρετούν την εξέλιξη της υπόθεσης αλλά βρίσκονται εκεί για να εκφράσουν τις εντάσεις και να εκτονώσουν το νεανικό angst των ηρώων ή τα παιδιάστικα ευφυολογήματά τους.

Από όλους τους χαρακτήρες (ανθρώπινους και μη) πέρα από την κεντρική ηρωίδα, αγάπησα βαθύτατα τον Agathon, την Sperchousa και τη Rhyathea. Δεν ξέρω πως θα αξιολογούσε κάποιος που έχει τα αγγλικά ως μητρική του γλώσσα την συγκεκριμένη μετάφραση, για εμένα που η αγγλική είναι απλώς μια lingua franca μου φάνηκε αρκούντως βατή και κατανοητή. Θα ήθελα ωστόσο να διαβάσω και το ελληνικό πρωτότυπο αν μπορούσα να το βρω διαθέσιμο σε ηλεκτρονική μορφή στο amazon.

Profile Image for Youstina.
25 reviews27 followers
February 16, 2019
I enjoyed this a lot! It was initially tough to get started, which is why I didn't give 5 stars, but once you got past the beginning things started to pick up quickly and stayed interesting through the whole book.
I loved the premise, which is a Greek-inspired fantasy. Too many fantasy books these days are medieval Europe inspired, which gets boring. The Greek influence was fun and refreshing.
The main character really impressed me. She is fascinating. I liked seeing a female character treated with the same type of care and respect as most male fantasy characters are treated with. As a girl who reads a lot of fantasy, the genre does struggle with writing well-developed female characters. It is not the case in Hydranos.
I enjoyed the writing for the most part, but I did notice there were a bit too many em dashes and ellipses, which didn't always need to be there. A tiny nitpick, but it became distracting at times.
Overall, if you like fantasy and are looking for something new and exciting, but still recognizable as fantasy, then give Hydranos a try.
1 review
September 3, 2018
“What kind of art can replace life?” asks the author in the first pages of the book (Chapter 1). Why do we read novels? And what can the heroes of a novel that bridges literary fiction with fantasy have to whisper to us?
In the first book of the series the author lays the foundations of an imaginary, unknown yet oddly familiar world. In the non-Greek literature, there lies already a long tradition of such endeavours, which have often found their way into films. However, this book is one of the first attempts of world-building in the Greek language. The building of the world of another age, the Age of Stones, with its own names and lands and beings that have their own customs and ways of life.
The foundation of their world lies in four primordial elements, which in the novel assume the form of stones, and to which correspond four Nations too; the red, pyramid-shaped Pyrrha, which represents the element of fire and refers to the virtues of the mind, the black, cubic Khoa that corresponds to the earth element and governs the body, the white, octagonal Aver, which represents the air element and is associated with the soul, and the blue, spherical Hydranos, which is linked with the element of water and the realm of emotions and feelings.
The first book of the series refers to the watery world of emotions. “Because there is an opinion that since the soul is beyond grasp, it wants to be reflected only in the boundless ocean” (Chapter 21). The novel begins when Hydranos , the Stone that reveals the deepest, most hidden of feelings and gives its name to the novel, disappears.
There are two levels of reading this story. Externally, the novel takes the form of the narration of a quest for a lost Stone. It is the journey of a group of friends from different Nations of their universe, a journey that takes them away from their harsh and unfair daily life as cadet officials and leads them to a nearly magical, colourful land where, despite their equally different personal stories, they come closer than ever -- to one another but also to their true selves. The plot is fascinating and makes the reader an instant and indispensable part of the adventure. In the end, we simply can’t wait for the next book.
Through another perspective, however, the Nations represent psychological archetypes. Like reflections on water, taking different, illusionary forms and then disappearing, in Hydranos's watery world identities are multiple and their borders fluid, as the heroes often ‘shapeshift’ and strive to tell apart what’s true from what’s deceptive. In this sense, the journey becomes also a constant removing of masks and thus, since it takes place in the realm of emotions, turns into an inward one: a journey of self-discovery, a voyage from fake identities towards authenticity ... and perhaps towards Hydranos itself?
Profile Image for Rosa.
1 review
December 9, 2019
“”If words and more words were enough
to praise the virtues of the sun,
I would sing at your doorstep,
to steal from your light.”

This beautiful story has left its mark on me, no doubt about that. The author has perfected her style of writing to a point of absolute brilliance, which makes this a lovely, detailed and very high fantasy read. To catch every phrase and every hidden meaning you must focus and take in everything, word by word. The descriptive tone left my imagination flying, just as much as the witty dialogue made my heart warm up with laughter.

I have always been fond of Ancient Greece and everything about it, so this was definitely a pleasant read for me. Being familiar with the ’original’ mythology was definitely handy while reading, since it’s clearly been a huge inspiration for the author.

The book has dozens of end pages filled with glossaries, maps and charts, which were a big relief during the reading that helped me memorize and get to know the certain terminology and family bloodlines important to the story. The hard work of the author has pulled off with the appendix really pays off and enlightened the story throughout the reading experience.

I’m looking forward to the next episode in this fascinating saga, as the ending left me literally gasping on the edge of my chair.

*copy recieved from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Jenna Wiegand.
75 reviews3 followers
September 30, 2019
*Advanced copy provided by author*

Wow!! What an amazing read! I was initially unsure on how I would feel about the story. While I love an epic fantasy story, I also love cheesy endings, but this story was enthralling, detailed, gorgeous and truly pulled me in! The characters were extremely well written, and I felt like I knew them, the plot made me want to plow straight into the book, and the language, holy cow the language was beautiful. I felt like I was I the story, in the best way possible.

I’m so grateful that I got to read such a gorgeous novel, and I am so excited for the next book!
Profile Image for filming.pages.
240 reviews16 followers
September 15, 2018
Thank you Constantina Maud for the free copy of this book in exchange with an honest review!

Overall, I really liked this book! It was a very interesting and original read with an area of intriguing characters and many humourous and adventurous moments! What I liked most about the book is the fact that the author seamlessly combined adventure and action bits with humour, which for me, is essential when reading a fantasy novel!

My favourite character is definitely Drynoe. I know it seems a bit "easy" to say you like the main character of a book sometimes, but in this case I'm way beyond justified for my likeness of her! She's a very strong-willed and determined girl and I think she posses many interesting attributes, that make her someone to look up to!

Something else that I really liked about the book, is the seamless way it incorporates Greek elements. Even though it's written in English, many words are Greek or derived from Greek words, and that makes the book all too familiar for a Greek reader!

The only "problem" I had with this book would be that sometimes I found the wording and the writing a bit complicated, some things could be said with fewer words for example. I do understand though, that this is due to the author's effort to make her writing more rich and interesting, do I can't say it bothered me that much.

All in all, I really liked reading "Hydranos". It's a very nice debut novel from an author that definitely has much to say and give to the writing community and I'll be anxiously waiting to see what she'll do next!
Profile Image for Sotiria.
230 reviews47 followers
June 28, 2019
Disclaimer: The ebook was kindly provided by the author for an honest review.
Thank you Constantina and keep it up!

Hydranos is the first book in the high fantasy series "The Age of stones". It is filled with adventure, suspense and unexpected turns of events.

What I liked:
The universe that Constantina Maud built is original and fascinating.
The "godlike" stones is a very unique concept that captivates the reader's interest.
I loved the nomenclature of the story (probably because of the greek influence in the names!).
The more fast-paced scenes and the dialogues were great!
The appendix at the end, with all the maps and vocabulary, was a very helpful addition!

What I did not like:
The story, especially in the descriptive parts, sometimes felt really slow,without cohesive flow.
I struggled with the pacing in the beginning but after a few chapters I got used to it.
The language is a little too "flowery" and lyrical for my taste but I know that there are many readers out there who prefer this kind of writing. So if it is up your alley, don 't let my personal taste deter you from picking up the book! :)
Profile Image for Maura.
107 reviews17 followers
November 2, 2018
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book (and some nice conversation) from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Are you looking for Greek mythology inspired high fantasy (that reads like interconnected short stories) with superb world building,strong female characters, no unnecessary romance, and a heaping dash of whimsy and adventure? Then this book is for you!
Profile Image for Avely.
103 reviews7 followers
April 20, 2019
"Indeed, Adeimos... Together. Agathon puts it better, though : 'That's what friends, that's what brethren are for. To be there, where words cannot.' "

I really loved the writing style and how everything was described so thoroughly.
Interesting story, very rich and complex at the same time.
Drynoe was likeable and the journey of her and her friends was engaging.
Profile Image for iberiandirewolf.
2 reviews21 followers
February 22, 2019
The opera prima of greek author Constantina Maud is the kind of fantasy that immerses you in a world that is not always easy to read or understand, but once done transports you into a vivid place where the philosophical aspect of the characters is combined with a detailed and exquisitely embroidered universe. Hydranos is not your average light reading story, it is a work in which you have to invest your time and attention in order to pick up all the details and savor (and discern) all the beautiful nomenclature, which is clearly inspired by the Greek languague. I have never come across a fantasy novel that integrates Greek parameters in it, and Constantina does it so smoothly and with such a rich background that the story has the ''I've never read or experienced such a story before'' feeling to it, and it will be so even for the most avid fantasy reader. The universe is unique, and so is the writing style, in spite of appearing a bit difficult at the beggining. It is a deep book, and a whole new fantasy universe to get lost into that will not remind you of anything you have ever read before.
Profile Image for Melissa  ~ Recreational Hobbyist.
55 reviews29 followers
July 13, 2020
I have fallen into the category of some of the other reviewers here that did not finish this novel, but I am still rating a 3 as it is due to my own preferences as a reader. I think there are plenty of high fantasy readers that would truly enjoy the novel.

The number one issue I had is the timing as I began reading this at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and I tried multiple times to get into the story, but I just couldn't. And it was not for lack of trying.

The world building in this book is fantastic & the character development is great. There is a lot of history & back story provided for the characters that are introduced, however, I did get a bit lost at times between the history & present day.

This novel is high fantasy & is definitely not light reading. I think I might pick it back up in the near future as I really enjoyed the world the author created.

*Thank you to the author, Constantina Maud, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*


Profile Image for Anna Maria.
162 reviews
November 7, 2019
I must say that at the beginning I was not quite enthusiast about the story, but the more I read the more I was in the book and it totally captured my attention, so I really have to thank Constantina Maud for giving me an opportunity to review her book. The story was fantastic and well built, I look forward to read "The Age of Stones 2". Well done Constantina I like the way you write, you have a really descriptive style so continue writing!
Profile Image for Otchen Makai.
193 reviews51 followers
September 11, 2019
Story 3 stars
Translation from original language (Greek) to English 3 stars
Editing 2 stars
This is a good story with loveable characters, magic, love, adventure, growing up and evolving, and so much more.
There is a LOT going on in this book.
Because of the rough translation, parts of this get very overly wordy, and some parts don't seem to make a lot of sense but you can figure out what she's trying to say. Don't let that dissuade you while reading this, just get past those bits and you'll find the story very enjoyable.
Definitely worth a read, just make sure you make use of Appendix, Glossary, and Maps in the back of the book as you go. The author created her own world, words, roles, hierarchy, etc. It's a very imaginative book with some very beautiful imagery. Parts of this book are very poetically written and beautiful.
It was quite the journey.
I wanted to read this book so desperately that I took advantage of my local libraries purchasing request option and had them obtain a copy so everyone I know could read it as well. It will be on display once we are all through with it. ;P
(ask your local librarians about this option if they ever don't have something you're desperate to read like this book!)
Profile Image for Max.
750 reviews19 followers
July 23, 2019
*Spoiler-free review*

What a beautiful fantasy novel! This is an epic tale centered about Drynoe and her quest to find Hydranos. The writing style is amazing and I really love the cover as well.

Okay, where do I begin, it was a long read but I loved it. It's kind of difficult to get into, but after a few chapters I rolled right in. It's true high-fantasy style, so reading it in the bus back from work wasn't doing it for me as I needed to concentrate to truely enoy it. So when I got home, sat down with a cup of tea I found it was a great compelling story and I finished it in three evenings!

The story is inspired by greek mythology, which I love. I'm glad there's a glossary at the end of the book, so if you're confused about some names, please check the last few pages out as they're extremely helpful in the beginning of the story.

A great debut novel, and I can't wait for the follow up! Thank you to the author for providing me with an eBook version for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
605 reviews64 followers
November 29, 2019
...and drink the blood of my freedom
as if it were sacred water...

This wasn't an easy book to read, but I don't mean that in a bad way! This is not a book to be dipped in and out of, or skim read with half your mind on something else. It's an epic and philosophical high fantasy that requires your full attention - lapse in focus and you risk falling overboard and losing yourself in the sea of characters, foreign geography and several points of view. I definitely most enjoyed reading this when I had the time to consume several chapters at once, to immerse myself in the world-building and rich prose. Unfortunately that was a rare occurrence as I read it during some of my busiest months this year, and every time I returned to the book, I was constantly having to refer to the glossary, search previous mentions, flick back to remind myself of the plot and refamiliarise myself with Cosmos.

The detail in Maud's world-building is truly impressive. There are maps, genealogies, myths and religion...I feel like she could probably write an entire history book based on her imagined setting. I do think the maps might have been better situated at the front of the book, rather than at the end, so the reader'll know they have this aid before they begin. A cast of characters would've also been helpful (à la The Priory of the Orange Tree), as well as their associated epithets/nicknames.

The writing was beautiful, and Maud uses very lovely and often quite original metaphors. She has a knack for creating a setting; some scenes were so detailed, they felt like they could've been standalone vignettes! My favourite parts were the patches of poetry sprinkled throughout this book: haunting, moving and evocative.

Unfold your laughter, so that fear runs away and be afraid of nothing;
the sacred gaiety of your face
is my lantern, a road to you.
I tasted fire and drank earth,
and Time is my witness
that stateless did I tread, counting
the seas of solitude.
I just love that. (And I'm told that was one of Maud's favourite parts to write!)
I see the Lyco [Sun] in your gaze.
Let me meet it
and if in its light I lose my sight,
the last image shall be the worthiest.

Honestly, how beautiful is that? Style-wise, there was a somewhat inordinate amount of ellipses flooding the pages, but I got used to them eventually and they didn't bother me much.

The tight-knit bond between Drynoe and her friends was another thing I really loved reading. Their love, loyalty and banter with eachother was so wholesome and heartwarming, and many a joke made me chuckle. Adeimos was especially lovable, and Drynoe grew on me, especially after they reach Helicasteros. We gain a deep insight into her self-warring personality, and Maud has created some Pinterest boards to help visualise their appearances and general sense of character.

The backstories of the characters were really interesting, though sometimes the recounting of past events was rather information dense. Aristomachos recalling his youthful exploits with Aion and Hython was particularly exciting, but I kept getting distracted from it whenever I remembered that Aristomachos was narrating this all to Aion (who would surely already know this?), and referring to himself in third person too. Often the characters would point out that the recount was, essentially an info-dump, for example by commenting that 'they don't need a history lesson', but I'm not sure if this in itself makes it not an info-dump.

The plot twist at the end was very unexpected! I was a little confused about Drynoe's wrathful reaction to the big reveal, and doubt the trustworthiness of a character that pops up near the end, but I feel like it's deliberately left unresolved, for the sequel to pick up the threads and carry on.

All in all, a highly original, introspective and strongly character-driven fantasy novel that raises many interesting philosophical questions.

Every life is worth it, if there might be even just one moment in it when its master can say ‘I am complete’. This moment... do you think we have already passed it by?

Many thanks to the author for a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Lygeri.
300 reviews20 followers
January 26, 2020
First of all, I want to thank Constantina Maud for giving me the chance to read her book. I promised her my honest opinion and here I am ( I should have done that earlier though, I know, but personal reasons kept me away from my favourite pastime..).
Hydranos is a fantasy book. A fantasy that seems like history - I am sure the author could write wonderful historical novels, as well. What makes it so special for me (and made me read it firstly in English and right after in Greek - yes, I searched and bought the book to have both editions, I will explain myself later) is the language.
The story is about Drynoe, a rebel in soul, a girl who tries to fit in but always seems to be more than asked, and her company / friends /cousins in a fantasy world that is depicted so detailed and complicated that it is a good idea to consult the maps at the end of the book while reading it (how Tolkien is that! Clapping for Constantina!!). It is about strange stones which constitute the core of existence of the Cosmos and the disappearance of one. It is about political casts that in some way distantly reminded me of the Metabarons of Alejandro Jodorowsky. But the language... Let come to this.
When I started reading the English version I thought of the demanding vocabulary used and was impressed. And then I started thinking of ancient Greek tragedies more and more, especially Antigone (The book is not a tragedy at all, I don't want to make spoilers, I have already referred to the ancient Greek drama triangle: plot tie - climax- denouement in a previous comment). So, I finished the book constantly thinking of that, impressed and wondering. I bought the Greek version of the book and I started reading again. There was the answer to my thoughts... The author has mailnly used ancient Greek terms in a modern book in such a way that it is like she is reinventing them, but not really. She uses them in a way that even for someone that has never studied ancient Greek in his whole life, they are understandable. I felt awe for her great effort and the beautiful result! Congratulations. It is really rare to meet a wonderful fantasy book with such high standards. I can't wait to read more of her work in the future..
Profile Image for Chris.
484 reviews78 followers
May 8, 2019
”Whatever is meant to happen, will happen for a reason... Since we live for a reason; and it is never one single goal. It’s the line between the milestones, a mechanism leading each of us in accomplishing whatever we were made to accomplish: being whole.”

Damn! I really enjoyed this book. It took some time for me to get into, but after 30 or so pages I was sucked into it. Hydranos is a complex fantasy story (which the maps, charts and glossary in the end of the book can vouch for! you’ve gotta love a book with multiple maps!) with epic world building. While reading this you dive into a well worked out and completely new fantastical world. I love these kind of books, but they definitely need to be up your alley for you to enjoy it. What surprised me most of all, was the writing style; I found the writing very beautiful, which is something I sometimes miss in fantasy books, but at the same time easy to go through.

Also, I really love the cover; and I actually found out it was designed by the writer! Love that!

Profile Image for Ana Reis.
Author 5 books80 followers
March 23, 2019
"That’s what friends, that’s what brethren are for. To be there, where words cannot." -- Agathon.

The first thing that came into my mind when I finished the first volume of Hydranos was that this book was born from a labor of love.

Constantina's debut novel speaks directly to the heart, so unlike the massified works of fiction that fill many bookshelves around the world. There are many layers surrounding the mysteries of Hydranos: a dead immortal ruler, a Stone that doesn't want to be found, an unusual friendship, and an unwanted quest that unveils true magic in a land where gods and men live and dream side-by-side.

I loved the dialogues and the intense emotional struggle within Drynoe. There's a richness in the thoughts of this character that it's hard to describe. Don't we all struggle to find the balance between the desires of our hearts and the reason of our minds?

“The desire, the need for love is bad––if there’s something I’ve seen being confirmed again and again... that is it. It doesn’t let you feel fortunate for what you already have, not even for a moment. It makes you resentful.” -- Drynoe.

I loved the witty Skemmos and the deep conversations between him and Drynoe. Skemmos unveiled so many simple and yet complex truths throughout this book that I found myself underlying almost all of his sentences. Here's another one:

“Why would one mask be enough?” said Skemmos, picking up on her thoughts as if they lay there before his very eyes. “Since each of us has so many faces... as many as there are truths!”

I can't give this book less than 5* because it's Constantina debut novel and if this a debut I can't wait to see how her craft grows from now on.

*Forever grateful to Constantina for this opportunity to review her debut novel. I'm glad I found you in this sea of noise...*
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