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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris

Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons Jane Yolen, Robert J. Harris Open Road Integrated Media

Due to a prophecy, to keep themselves pure, Amazons must kill their second son (the first is given to the father).  Because Amazon Queen Otrere refused, she is deposed and thrown in jail.  Her adolescent daughter, Hippolyta, takes the infant second son to the father, Laomedon, King of Troy.

Laomedon accepts the child but rejects Hippolyta's idea of Laomedon taking over Amazon to save her mother.  She mocks him, and he throws her in a dingy jail where she awaits to be a late-night snack for the sea monster that attacks the city.

In prison, Hippolyta meets her first brother who wants to know about his mother.  Thinking him like their cruel father, Hippolyta rebuffs him yet craftily guides him to believe he needs her to learn about his mother.

However, when she's chained to rocks, awaiting the sea monster, she prays to the gods that hate Laomedon, giving her promise to avenge them, and a kind of deliverance arrives.  She and her savior make their way back to Amazon.  On the journey, a mysterious stranger helps Hippolyta learn control to become a better warrior.  Later, the stranger will become familiar as Hippolyta must not only battle her own goddess, who wills the death of her brother, but also another.

Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons is an adventure story.  The characters don't scrape deeply, but it's full of "one damn thing after another."  With its strong female, youthful warrior, this is likely to appeal to those whose hearts crave brave thrills battling against impossible odds.

Theme spoiler: As in The Dragon's Boy, religion as a theme appears, ringing several similar notes, but this time to let us know it should not be a part of wars.

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