J. Else's Reviews > Goddess of Yesterday

Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney
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it was amazing
bookshelves: ancient-greek-or-rome, awesome-female-leads

I was very impressed with this story and where it went. The author has beautiful descriptions. As a reworking of a traditional tale, this story comes alive with an original character and new perspectives.

The author laces historical beliefs and rules and creates a relatable tale. It’s a great time period to explore. The main character, Anaxandra, goes through a lot of growth. She learns about the different societies and takes the readers along in her observations. I really like the details the author included. For instance, the men of Sparta laugh at men of Troy because they ride on the back of a horse, finding it a pointless exercise. "Kings were not stable boys, to handle animals." I also love how the characters notice differences in Greek dialect between cities! I felt very immersed in the time period.

In terms of writing style, I think the author used "but" too many times before clauses. I've found a few cases where "and" would have made the sentence flow better. While I think this largely relates to the author mimicking the literary styles of ancient Greek authors & playwrights, a few sentences did not fully make sense the way they were structured.

Gods and goddesses are portrayed as being an intrinsic part of everyday life, including peoples’ belief that their fates were completely in their gods’ hands, and this strongly ties the story to the Illiad’s style. I liked this aspect and felt it was very believable for the culture. The author is never graphic, yet issues are laid out clearly about the life of islanders and pirates. Societies and their points of view came alive as I read.

The author is honest about what is taken from historical records and what is fiction. Anaxandra is a creation of this author, but I liked the minor role she comes to play in the Trojan War. It helped bring her redemption of her guilt. It also gave her meaning to a life otherwise dictated by the kindness or cruelty of strangers. Women at this time had few if any rights and thus were not always an active participant in where their life went. This is portrayed gently in the story and came to a satisfying conclusion at the end. Anaxandra persevered through all the boulders thrown in her path.

There are small plot threads that come back later in Anaxandra’s life, like the idea of men riding on the backs of horses and how actually experiencing this changed her outlook. In addition, her hair is a constant bit of conversation. When Helen orders it shaved a second time, Anaxandra believes she is being punished by the gods and that it will never grow back (hair being considered a glory of a woman’s life). Yet the author gives us hope again after she return Plies to Menelaus. The author is great at resolving not only major events but also the subtle occurrences that affect the characters. There is a beauty illuminated when things great and small wrap themselves together. The author gave us that. Would it have been nice to have a bit more pages about when Anaxandra landed on King Euneas’s island?... Yes. But I was left satisfied with the ending nonetheless. I would enjoy reading more from the author.
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Reading Progress

January 16, 2013 – Shelved
May 31, 2014 – Started Reading
May 31, 2014 –
page 53
20.15% "I really like the details of the cultures by the author. The characters of Sparta are currently laughing at the Trojans for riding on the back of a horse, finding it pointless. "Kings were not stable boys, to handle animals." Also love how the characters notice differences in Greek dialect between cities! Impressed this far."
June 2, 2014 –
page 144
54.75% "I think the author uses "but" too many times before clauses. I've found that "and" would make the sentence flow better in many paragraphs."
June 3, 2014 – Finished Reading
April 28, 2016 – Shelved as: ancient-greek-or-rome
April 28, 2016 – Shelved as: awesome-female-leads

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