I picked up a new book at the library, Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn. Everyone remembers that apple right? It was golden and had “To the Fairest…” inscribed on it; Eris threw it on the table during a party that she wasn’t invited to and Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all fought over it. Eventually, they went to Paris and bribed him to pick a winner. Aphrodite offered him Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world and he gave it to the Goddess of Love. And then we get into the Trojan War. Yeah, that apple.
Anyway, the story takes place in an alternate reality with checkpoints and way more military control than ours. Terrorists attack nearly every day and there are a lot more political issues going on, between the countries with nuclear war and similar issues. The main character is Evie Walker and the reader finds out that her family has been guarding these treasures for thousands of years. Like Cinderella’s glass slippers, the poisoned apple, iron shoes, Discord’s apple, Excalibur, the Golden Fleece, Hermes’ winged sandals… If you can find it in mythology or fairy tales, it is being kept safe in this Storeroom. You also meet Hera, Robin Goodfellow (Puck), Sinon (he was around during the Trojan War), Arthur and Merlin, and a few other characters.
For the most part, it was a good book. Not one that I would rush out and buy, but enough that I read it in one sitting (three hours). You follow Evie’s story in the present time and learn about a character that she is writing about, Tracker and their stories intertwine with one another. I made sure to follow those. There are brief excerpts about Evie’s ancestors and guarding the Storeroom and then there are Sinon’s experiences during the end of the Trojan War and as Apollo’s slave. Everyone remember Apollo?
Actually, Sinon was one of my favorite parts of the story. Vaughn outright opens one of the chapters with “Men could be raped. Sinon knew that from his experiences in the army,” (Paraphrasing that as the book has already gone back to the library) and that… impressed me isn’t right, but I liked that she didn’t pull punches. This is what Apollo did to this man. And there are suggestions later on that Sinon goes to Apollo’s bed.
But at the end, everything starts unwinding very quickly and at times I wasn’t sure what was going on. And I really hate being confused. I get that it was the end of the world, there was a reference to the Four Horsemen and everything and there was even suggestions that this had happened before. The world gets bad, but somehow turns back to another time and we start over or is pulled into a parallel universe and we sort of start over. Which I do follow and think is very possible, particularly with what is going on today. Getting off track. But by this point, I couldn’t understand Hera, who was supposedly the “bad guy” in all of this. She wasn’t anymore; she had a plan to bring about the destruction of the world and start over because the world needed it.
It’s just, after all the back story and the build-up, the ending was kind of a letdown. I would have liked to seen more about Hera and her motivations and understood her and her plan a bit better at the end.
Then again, it was about Discord’s Apple, so maybe my confusion was the end goal.