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405625,915 (4.22)3
Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans, the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy's gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings-- and these are their stories.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
This book took me FOREVER to finish. I read the first two installments in this series-A Day of Fire and A Year of Ravens. Those feature a myriad of complex and sympathetic characters that made me feel for them all the more because their lives centered around such a tragic moment in history. Maybe it was because Song of War was all about fictional characters and a fictional war that it lacked the same emotional impact as its predecessors. There was a story or two that shone above the rest, but overall, I just didn't care and couldn't wait for it to be over. I would've given up if I wasn't so stubborn.

Kate Quinn opened this anthology, and she is flawless as always. Everything she writes is amazing and layered and transports me to another era. Even in short story format, her story The Apple is no exception.

I also liked Shecter's The Horse, but that was because it was succinct.

Thornton's story of The Prophecy was middling for me. Cassandra was a compelling character, but the story felt repetitive and unremarkable.

Everything else I couldn't stand, particularly Whitfield's piece about Agamnemnon. Gosh, was that a slog. I couldn't care less about a character than I did about him. He was either drunk or in heat the whole time. There was no evidence of the great king he was supposed to be. A major letdown of one of mythologies more well-known characters.

As for everything else, all you need to know is that everyone was either screwing each other or wanted to. That's pretty much it. Now, I like some good Harlequin every now and then, but this was all just angsty and "I'm drawn to him but I don't love him. He's too powerful for an emotion as human as love." Blah blah blah. Please. Spare me.

So, I'll spare you, reader of my review. Read maybe the first couple stories, and then just go read the Iliad. You're not missing any nuance by skipping this.
( )
  readerbug2 | Nov 16, 2023 |
I haven’t read many books about Troy so this was a great read. While I absolutely loved this, it was also very hard to read and sometimes I didn’t even want to pick it up. Sometimes it just sucks to know the history! I would just go; Noo, he’s going to die! I don’t want that to happen!

I really liked to read about Cassandra. At times she appears to be a mad-woman and other times she seems to be the only voice of reason. It was frustrating so see how she tried to warn her people what would happen and how they just ignored her.

I liked how Helen was portrayed in a more active role as a schemer. She wasn’t just stolen from Sparta but decided to leaves on her own accord.

Another awesome collaboration by the authors. Christian Cameron was the only new author for me and I was little scared how he would do Hector’s death. I thought it was a great idea to see it through the eyes of Briseis so it was a bit less painful. I thought the chapters worked well together. ( )
  Elysianfield | Jan 27, 2017 |
I was so excited when I learned that these authors were teaming up for another go at a collaborative book. The first one, A Year of Ravens was so very good. What is so wonderful is that the authors don’t try to conform to a set manner of writing to tell the tale – they maintain their own visions and styles for each of their section of the story. It’s really a short story collection ( and you all know how I feel about short stories by now. If you don’t – I despise them. I feel like they are being written somewhere above my head. ) but each individual chapter for lack of a better word advances the overall narrative.

If you don’t know the story of Troy I’m not going to explain it to you here but I am sure you have at least heard of the Trojan Horse. Google it and then if you want to know more read The Illiad. It is a wonderful book. But back to A Song of War. What is so delightful about the way it is written is that even though it is telling one complete story you can easily stop after one section for each is its own tale. So you don’t feel that overweening pressure you sometimes get when reading a full on thriller – and the story of the Trojan War is a thriller. At least for those of us that love ancient history. Heck – it’s a great story for modern times too. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Nov 11, 2016 |
It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of the writing collective known as the H Team -- a group of authors who have produced three collaborative historical novels, the first being A Day of Fire and the second being A Year of Ravens. This offering is their third, and it's their meatiest, bloodiest, and most emotional yet.

The fall of Troy takes place over a decade, and the authors of this collection manage to cover the scope of the conflict without losing tension and drama. They took a story that I always perceived as being rather male-heavy, combat-heavy, and honor-heavy, and presented it as a deeply emotional, psychological, and human tale, one told through the viewpoints of five men and four women, and I was really moved and surprised as I read.

In their telling, the collective decided to forgo the mythic, god-meddling basis for the conflict, and so everything that unfolds is due to human foible and folly: greed, envy, pride, selfishness, a mistaken sense of honor. Helen ends up their villain -- tough, calculating, determined to be free -- and even when she's unrepentant, I couldn't help but like her. (She is one of the many figures who isn't presented with her own POV piece, which I actually enjoyed. We none of us get to find out just what exactly she thinks and feels. Is she a monster? A tragic figure? Both!)

The inimitable Kate Quinn opens the collection beautifully, not only setting the stage for this horrific conflict, but introducing many of the key players through the eyes of her narrators, Trojans Andromache and Hellenus. To my delight, Quinn and co-author Stephanie Thornton, who pens Cassandra's chapter, decided to cast twins Cassandra and Hellenus as biracial, a small tweak I found very meaningful and greatly appreciated.

Cassandra has always been a favorite of mine, and I loved Thornton's take on the frustrated prophetess, a woman driven to madness when everyone ignores her.

Russell Whitfield's offering, from Agamemnon's point of view, lingers with me still as a particularly poignant and imaginative piece. Ostensibly a villain, Whitfield rather successful evoked in me some empathy and pity for the beleaguered king, and offered a humanizing look at why these warriors still pursued this seemingly futile war.

Christian Cameron and Libbie Hawker both presented female warriors in their pieces -- Cameron with Briseis, Achilles' war prize taken by Agamemnon; and Hawker with Penthislea, the Amazon warrior who captures Achilles' heart. I confess I'm one to gloss over fight scenes, but Cameron's chariot scene is so cinematic, it's breathtaking. In both cases, I was grateful to see women as soldiers in ways that felt authentic rather than intrusive or anachronistic.

Hawker also imagines Philoctetes, owner of Hercules' bow and Paris' killer, as a gay man, and in her author's note she writes about how important it was for her to present a gay character as a hero. This small change, like that of Hellenus and Cassandra, hardly alters the original story yet makes the reading of it so much more rich and interesting.

Odysseus -- who I suspect will be a fan favorite -- is charming throughout the entire book, and Vicky Alvear Shecter's chapter from his point of view is bitterly funny and achingly sad, and it sets up the tragic conclusion, written by SJA Turney, beautifully. Turney, and by extension his Aeneas, have the unenviable task of wrapping up all these disparate threads, and noble Aeneas proves perfect for the task.

Another knockout read, one that is more battle-oriented than I am normally drawn to, but stuffed full of delicious emotional drama and angst. I didn't want to linger with the conflict anymore, and yet I still felt intense loss leaving everyone, a credit to the authors for creating such wonderful, evocative figures. ( )
  unabridgedchick | Oct 26, 2016 |
The Trojan Wars are steeped history through myth, legend and epic tales. A Song of War brings together seven stories from throughout the war by seven different authors. Each story, or song, took me chronologically through the War, which made the songs flow together melodically. I enjoyed the changing perspectives, bringing forth different views from different sides. I especially liked that some of these characters were people that history has swept to the background. While the stories of Helen, Menelaus, Achilles, Paris, Hector and Odysseus were exciting and action packed, it was the stories of Cassandra, Briseis and Penthesilea that were the most insightful, heartfelt and brought true passion from all sides.
I truly enjoyed this anthology format for reading. Each author showed their own voice through their characters, yet there was still one full story pulled together through each verse. I was impressed with how each story was able to pull out a different emotion: greed, sacrifice, torment, tragedy, vengeance, thoughtfulness and hope. I think this is a great example of anthology style of writing, I enjoyed the focus not being on one character or point of view, but the experience as a whole. I can’t wait to read more from this historical fiction team.

This book was provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. ( )
  Mishker | Oct 22, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Quinn, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cameron, Christianmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawker, Libbiemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shecter, Vicky Alvearmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Thornton, Stephaniemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Turney, SJAmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Whitfield, Russellmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Iliffe, GlynIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans, the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy's gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings-- and these are their stories.

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