Book Review: Sacred Bride by David Hair and Cath Mayo

Title: Sacred Bride, Book 3 in the Olympus series

Authors: David Hair and Cath Mayo

Publisher: Canelo

Publication date: October 14, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

Summary: In Book 3 of the Olympus series, tension between Achaea (Greece) and Troy are mounting while Odysseus’ love for the forbidden Kyshanda of Troy only seems to be mounting. When Odysseus witnesses a new prophecy, a chain of events involving sister princesses Clytemnestra and Helen is set off, ultimately forcing the gods to choose between Achaea and Troy. This third book takes another step towards war with Troy as Odysseus works to unite Achaea to stand strong against the Trojans, using the two princesses.

In a way, this third book didn’t seem as breathtaking as the first two, but I loved it because it recounts the stories of two sisters I’m familiar with. Perhaps it isn’t as breathtaking because I’m so familiar with Clytemnestra and Helen (of Troy), but I did enjoy getting a fleshed out story.

As with the other two books, I wasn’t a fan of how modern Odysseus felt, but I think it’s growing on me. I still don’t like it, but at least it isn’t jarring anymore. I was also puzzling about Odysseus, Kyshanda, and Penelope, but this one really pulled the three of them into their right places. I now look forward to how it will move forward, especially when it reaches the inevitable Trojan War.

There are some differing historical accounts surrounding Clytemnestra and Helen. Clearly, the authors had to choose which version of details to go with, though the results are the same. I really enjoy the paths they took as it made sense within the ongoing series, set up future events, and followed very well from what came before, especially since we had seen Helen before in the first book. I must say that my favorite part of Sacred Bride was Helen’s characterization. In the stories, she’s constantly referred to as the most beautiful and desirable woman in the world, so I kept picturing someone akin of a statue. The authors, though, turned her into a flesh and blood woman who was, of course, stunning beautiful, but definitely had more personality than marble.

As much as I enjoyed this book, though, the thing that bothered me was that it almost felt like it could just be split into two. Half of the book is about Clytemnestra and the other half about Helen. They’re stitched together because they’re sisters and the prophecy at the beginning of the book mentioned the two girls, but it also felt a little disjointed because they’re two distinct stories. Still, this book felt a little lighthearted compared to the first two. Perhaps because the violence was contained to the first half? Or maybe it dealt less with death and fighting than marriage.

Overall, this was a bit of fresh air for the series. I loved that it was much less violent while still keeping the same atmosphere. The characters are all so amazingly consistent, and I find my curiosity about the daemon Bria growing with every book. Odysseus is also growing on me and he definitely feels like he’s maturing into the man he will be during the Trojan War. If you enjoy Greek mythology, I definitely recommend this series. It’s a little different, but really ties the stories together with a refreshing air.

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups of tea will do just fine

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Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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