Tuesday, 7 June 2011

review: Torn From Troy

by Patrick Bowman
Ronsdale Press, 2011
historical young adult
review copy received from publisher (thank you!)

After a day of celebrating Greece's retreat from Troy's walls, Alexi wakes up to find his city on fire. Somehow, the Greeks have entered Troy, and before he knows it, his sister is wounded, left for dead and Alexi himself captured and put to work under Odysseus himself. As the Greeks sail homeward, encounters with mythical creatures like the Lotus-Eaters and a cyclops put the soldiers and slaves through dangers and risks. Alexi grows to respect the Greeks, but his attention is immediately drawn when he receives the news that his sister might be alive.
The cover:

I like to see a well-drawn cover now and then, and this one captures the hurried atmosphere wonderfully. The juxtaposition of such natural colours and a unique title font finishes it off nicely, though I do wish the author name wasn't written in Times New Roman.

The book:

This may be written from a Trojan's point of view, but it doesn't make the adventure more original. That summary (which I wrote) doesn't end with a decision or call to action like usual blurbs, which reflects the plot's arc accurately; in the book the tension actually peeters out towards the end, with the action to be continued in the next book. This may or may not achieve the intended effect -- to keep readers waiting for the sequel -- given the writing's mediocre quality.

While the plot doesn't shine, Bowman does take the time to develop his cast of characters. Odysseus, or Lopex as he's known to his men, is equally brutal, cunning and fair, though right hand man Ury is a little too thoroughly evil. Kassander, a slave captured alongside Alexi, has secrets about his origins and past that weave conflict effectively into the story.

Bowman's borrowed action is faultlessly straightforward, to the point where it's nearly predictable. An simple adventure, Torn From Troy would probably go over best with the tween age group.

Rating: 2 out of 5