I really enjoyed the book, until I got to the end and all the strong awesome characters were raped and killed. Granted it's war and these things happen, but I couldn't finish the last two chapters because it made me so sick. I was really disappointed too because most of the book was very empowering & beautifully written. If you can handle the rape and death of your favorite characters, then I suppoe it's not a bad book.
An excellent look at the Trojan Wars through the eyes of a woman.
Simply put, there are very few authors who can match Marion Zimmer Bradleys amazingly rich and encompassing fantasy tales. With a reputation for using intriguing ideas and old-world realities, the stage is set for anything of Bradleys that goes into print, whether her own or that of her close friend Diana L. Paxson, who often writes under Bradleys name. Together these two provide an in-depth look at times long past in an enlightening and entertaining way. Ive also discovered that her books appeal particularly to Wiccans and Pagans because of their often Goddess/Mother centered themes.
Personally when I think of Troy and that epic tale originally told in the Iliad, I almost always think of the Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom movie that was released in 2004. Knowing that that movie as my only real knowledge of Troy, and knowing full well that one of the films greatest criticisms was that it wasnt historically accurate, I decided to discard all that I knew about the siege of Troy to read Firebrand.
One of the things that I loved the most was the characters. When Kassandra is a child, she describes Hector as a bully and isnt overly fond of him, but when she meets him again after his death in the Spirit World, theyre obviously fond of each other. Paris, traditionally depicted as the romantic, star-crossed lover who sparked the Trojan War along with Helen, doesnt get away scot-free in this version. Here, hes depicted as petty, arrogant and not very likable. Makes me wonder why Helen went with him, even if she did have Aphrodite Herself urging her to go.
The introduction and development of other characters that are rarely, if ever, talked about today also added to the depth of the story. I loved that Kassandras mother, Hecuba, had once been an Amazon but had chosen to settle down with a man. Hecuba is a direct contrast to her sister Penthesilea, who is an active Amazon Queen. Depicting the Amazons, at first from Kassandras young eyes all the way to their ultimate destruction fighting Agamemnon was heart-wrenching but also brilliant. Bradley represented virtually every kind of woman and explored all of the choices we have to make throughout our lifetimes. It was both entertaining and eye-opening.
Something that I feel Bradley is legendary for is how she keeps time flowing. Her flawless transitions let you know how much time has passed in vivid, worldly descriptions that are much better than X Months Later.
The only reservation I have about Bradleys books is how long it takes me to read them. I have to be in the right mood and really have to keep myself on task to get through them. Dont get me wrong; her stories are great. Theyre just very overwhelming. I suppose they have to be like that though, otherwise they would be regular paperback novels, and she just another fantasy writer.
In The Firebrand, Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon, has re-imagined the story of the Trojan War -- and retells it from the point of view of Kassandra, the beautiful and tormented royal princess of Troy. (From the flyleaf of the cover)
This book is fantastic! I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since I read it 10 years ago. This is a unique and powerful story about the Trojan war from a new angle.