Argo by Mark Knowles

Jason discovers his parents were overthrown by his uncle Pelias who now occupies the throne. In order to reclaim his rightful position as prince, he sets out on a quest to steal the Golden Fleece from king Aeetes of Colchis. Together with a bunch of so-called Argonauts, he travels by sea and faces some serious life threatening challenges before he will arrive at Colchis.

Jason and the golden fleece is one of those Greek myths not so familiar to me. I was expecting a nice retelling of this adventure and in some ways, this is exactly what you get. We follow Jason and his Argonauts on their sea voyage to Colchis. Stopping on beaches and in forgotten places where the local tribes are a threat. There is no focus on the Godly perspective, although there is a seer on board and Jason seems to hear voices.

There is a whole bunch of Argonauts, which means a lot of names. And I just couldn’t get a hold on who was who. Except those names I knew from other myths such as Herakles, Castor and Pollux of Sparta and Peleus (the father of Achilles). Another thing that bothered me was that every stop formed a challenge. Some tribe that was friendly at first but then becomes hostile. Therefore the story felt repetitive.

I believe I missed a strong female character, as I’m used to in Greek feministic retellings. Such as in ‘A thousand ships‘, ‘Daughters of Sparta‘, ‘The silence of the girls’… Of course, there is Medea. I do find her one of the most fascinating characters in Greek mythology. But she is just a side character in this book. Although I believe she will get more prominent role in the sequel. Yes, there will be a sequel. After more than 500 pages, the story stops abruptly and I am not sure if I want to read another whopper of a book like this. Maybe I do, if I know there will be a focus on Medea.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy ‘Argo‘ at all. There were a lot of likable scenes and it’s a great adventure. I just didn’t have any emotional connection with Jason and all the fights were too similar.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


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