Thursday, November 23, 2023


I started Jennifer Saint's Atalanta over a month ago, while I was on a short trip visiting family. I read about half of it while I was away, but once I got home, life got away from me and I didn't go back to it until a few days ago.

Atalanta tells the story of Artemis's champion, the huntress the goddess raised after she was abandoned on a hilltop to die as an infant. Atalanta grows up to be a fierce warrior, adept at hunting, making the goddess proud. But when word comes to the goddess of Jason and the Argonauts' quest to obtain the Golden Fleece and bring glory to the pantheon, Artemis decides to send Atalanta on the quest as her champion. Atalanta has to fight and prove her right to be counted among the other heroes of the quest (who are all male, and look down on women), all while striving to remain true to her goddess.

I'm not overly familiar with Greek mythology (beyond very basic things), so I was quite excited to read Atalanta, especially when I realized the book would deal with Jason and the Argonauts as well. I've heard of them, but didn't really know anything about their quest. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, with Atalanta's upbringing among Artemis' nymphs and her struggle to prove her place with the Argonauts.  But the second half of the book really started to lose me. Keeping in mind that I'm not familiar with the story, I found the conclusion of the Argonauts' quest rather anti-climatic (and honestly, so did Atalanta, as the Fleece was won by trickery, not through bravery). Their return went fairly smoothly, especially compared to the journey to get there. Their welcome and the subsequent murder of the king and disappearance of Jason and Medea felt kind of glossed over (I would have thought that people would have gone after them or something, but nope). The boar fight likewise happened rather quickly, and then Atalanta kind of hid herself away for awhile with nothing really happening (it was with good reason, but made for not very exciting reading). And then the end of the book kind of happened rather abruptly, especially when she realized she was in love with Hippomenes and they ran off together.

I believe a lot of these events are true to the mythology (I just checked Wikipedia), but again, the book didn't really treat them well.  Atalanta's earlier relationship with Meleager felt earned through all the events they survived together. Her relationship with Hippomenes felt rather forced, and kind of shoehorned in because of the mythology, not because Atalanta actually felt things for him through their history. 

So I'm not quite sure what to think of Atalanta. It was an interesting read because I got to learn more of Greek mythology. I also really did enjoy the first half of the book.  But the second half didn't really work for me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Vampire Slayer Volume 3

It took me awhile to get (and read) The Vampire Slayer: Volume 3, but I finally have!  And I have to was a bit underwhelming compared to the first two volumes.

Starting up where Volume 2 left off, Willow and Faith enter Hungrus' lair to save Buffy. Willow triggers her magic to help, but accidentally taps into a well of dark energy (it's the generational magic of the slayers). She kills Hungrus and, as the dark magic starts to consume her, starts plotting to unmake reality to do away with the world's suffering. Faith attempts to confront her, but when that goes poorly, she decides to tell Buffy about what has happened.  Buffy confronts the rest of her friends angrily, then they all go off to stop Willow.  Faith and Buffy manage to get through to her and convince her to give Buffy her destiny back. Then at the end, Giles calls someone to help rehabilitate Willow: Tara.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, beyond more of a fight with Hungrus I guess.  But definitely not Dark Willow sitting around for a good chunk of the story as she became one with the dark magic. There was also a lot less of Spike and Xander in this one - Xander finally decided to dump his boyfriend (his boyfriend didn't respect him at all, so it was a long time coming), and Spike was just basically along for the ride (he seemed more active in the earlier volumes because he ended up helping people out just trying to get closer to the Slayer).

Volume 4 is due out next month, but I'm honestly not sure if I'm going to read it. I found this one just okay, and with the main story feeling over (Buffy got her slayer powers back), I don't really feel the need to keep going. But who knows, maybe when the library gets it I'll give it a read.