Nobody's Princess

The back of Helen of Troy with a short sword hanging off of her belt
Esther M. Friesner
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jun 26, 2023

Nobody's Princess is a great historical fiction story about Helen of Troy. It does not support history but tells a mythological fiction story about her based on what we know. This was such a great girls disguised as boys themed book. I am looking forward to reading the sequel about our main woman of steel Helen. It is a very good book but it drops off at the end so you need the sequel about Helen's adventures in the Mediterranean Region.

In this book Helen starts out strong with some great adventures. Long before the Trojan War there was a young girl named Helen who was good at disguises. Before she tore the Greek world in half, before she reigned as Sparta’s queen, she was a small child who loved her family and hated the loom and the gender roles that it represented. Nobody’s Princess explores the life and times of one of mythology’s most famous women– and one who never got to tell her story before the gods and goddesses interfered with her life. Beginning in Helen of Troy’s youth, the events that unfold before the Greek mythological war.

A lot of what I’m writing and reading right now involves the history and mythology of one of the world’s most iconic civilizations, so I looked online to see what YA retellings involving Greek mythology and the personal quality independence were out there. This Greek mythology story isn’t a new book; it was published a little more than a decade ago. In some aspects of the writing and story structure about our princess, this is obvious.

I truly believe the YA genre has outdone itself in the past few years in terms of diversity, interesting premises, self-discovery, and fascinating plots. While I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into the self-discovery in women and what Helen could and might have been, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. The writing style is sometimes oversimplified and in-your-face, such as when Helen goes about trying to end slavery within her household. There’s a lot of that ‘I’m not like other girls’ undertone throughout the book, which is aggravating to read, especially when the book is focusing on women's roles and how many women Helen meets goes against what is traditional. Still, Friesner did her research, and this novel does offer a very honest insight into a young woman's life in Bronze Age Greece, and I loved experiencing all the locations and cameos: Delphi, Sparta, Atalanta, the Pythia, Theseus, etc.

Reviewed by Anne G
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