Written by Adele Geras
Review by Suzanne Crane

Toward the conclusion of the Trojan War, two orphaned sisters, Xanthe and Marpessa, watch events transpire from within Troy. Very human teenage girls, they live through the horrors war brings. They also fall victim to the whims of deities, especially bored Aphrodite, who decides to amuse herself by smiting the girls with Eros’s arrows.

While her novel is easy reading, Geras’ characters have no real depth. Geras also has the assorted gods and goddesses appear to mortals and explain some past, present or future event, which is then erased from that person’s mind. While this is probably helpful in fleshing out events for the reader, story-wise it seems a bit inane.

Understandably, however, it is difficult to take a renowned epic and rewrite it in a way that infuses something new. In this novel appropriate for both adults and young adults, Geras meets this challenge by focusing on the pain and joys of a few obscure teenagers in a time when only the “heroes” were noticed.