Author: Claire Andrews
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 54 minutes
In this thrilling reimagining of ancient Greek mythology, a headstrong girl does whatever it takes to rise up and become the most powerful fighter her people have ever seen.
Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis–who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands–upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.Guided by Artemis’s twin–the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo–Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.
Daughter of Sparta is the first novel in a new series that is a retelling of “Daphne and Apollo.” I am not sure how many volumes will be in the series, but this novel semi-ends with a conclusion to technically act as a standalone yet there are many questions that are still open which will be answered in future novels. The story takes familiar characters, myths, and legends to create a very interesting and unique tale. I love mythology tales, so I was very excited to read this novel. It favors the plot-driven side of storytelling compared to character-driven, so there are still a lot that I want to know about the characters. Although it was not perfect, there is a lot of potential there and I would be willing to try the sequel.
Daphne is the main character in the story and a strong warrior. She lives in Sparta with her brothers and adoptive parents and is an Outcast as she is not a true Spartan. Her past is mysterious, as she does not know a lot about her history. This isolation and turmoil was well done as it was apparent that she wished to belong and prove her worth. One day she encounters the goddess Artemis, who gives Daphne a seemingly impossible task. She is tasked with finding nine items that were stolen from Olympus. Her failure would mean that the world would be thrown into chaos as the powers of the gods would disappear. Along for her journey is Apollo, a god, the twin of Artemis, and protector of the Muses. Additionally, there is Lykou who is Daphne’s friend from Sparta and is wolf-form after becoming transformed by Apollo. The story follows this cast of characters as they encounter figures from other myths, like the Minotaur, Theseus, and the Sphinx, and they try to find the lost items.
The pacing of this story was a little off balance as the beginning portion felt very rushed. While Daphne is introduced with her life in Sparta, it almost felt like a blink and you missed it segment before she is already on her journey with Apollo. If this were a standalone, I would be a little more understanding as there is only so much space to fit in all the plot, setting, and characters. However, as this is a series, I felt it was a missed opportunity for the author to properly introduce everything and allow readers to connect more with Daphne, the gods/goddesses, and the setting before everything is set into motion. Now once the journey starts, it was a very fast-paced action story. There are multiple dangers and obstacles that the characters face. There was not a lot of downtime for the characters, which added a nice layer of tension to the story.
The characters in this story were interesting. While they are well described, I could not quite put my finger on the exact details, but something still felt a little lacking with them. There is a lot of potential there and I think they will become further developed as the series progresses. Daphne and Apollo share a lot of witty banter and I loved their enemies to friends/lovers to enemies to maybe something else story develops. The characters were a roller coaster of connection that fit their circumstances and personalities. I will be very curious to see how it develops more as the series moves forward as I enjoyed both of their characters both separately and as a potential couple. There is a still more that needs to come together before I would be fully invested in the writing of them becoming an actual couple, but I am curious to see it grow.
Overall, this novel was a good start to a series that just needs more for me as a reader to feel more connected. Although Daphne is a great warrior, I feel there is not enough background given to explain some of the recoveries after some losses or how she is supposed to be thought of as more skilled than others. Sure, she trained hard, but I do not recall being given more information that that baseline. There were some twists and turns in this story that were interesting, but, again, I still expected more. I am definitely happy that this turned out to not be a standalone as it gives the author some time to further develop some areas that, I felt, had tons of potential. If this turns into a trilogy, I will see how the next one goes before committing to the final novel. However, as of now, I am interested in continuing this series with the next novel, Blood of Troy.