Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Review: Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn

Discord's AppleEvie Walker is a comic book writer who is to inherit a magical storeroom from her terminally ill father. Unbeknownst to her, it has been the duty of her family for thousands of years to keep this storeroom safe. The storeroom contains artifacts from myth and legend, such as the Golden Fleece, Cinderella’s slippers, and of course Discord’s apple. Not only is Evie about to inherit these objects of legend, but she is also about to inherit the attention of powerful beings that would love to obtain them.

Discord’s Apple is a straightforward tale featuring the classic themes of love, friendship and sacrifice, played out by classic characters drawn from sources ranging from the Greek mythos to Arthurian legend. When I first read the back cover I was expecting to find worn-out clich├ęs within. I figured there would be timeless true love, sacrificing heroics, and predictability of the kind one might expect of a story that contains several legendary heroes. I was sort of right — I did indeed get everything I expected — but the classic tropes were employed in a refreshing and unexpected way.

Carrie Vaughn breaks up the narrative into multiple storylines. In addition to Evie’s plot arc, there is a plotline following Tracker, a comic book character created by Evie. Tracker is everything Evie never could be, and Evie lives vicariously through her adventures. A third strand focuses on Sinon of Ithaca, or Sinon the Liar, the man who convinced King Priam to bring the Trojan horse within the walls of Troy. Sinon is a legendary character who has not had much face time in modern fiction, and it’s fun to see Carrie Vaughn’s portrayal of him.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Discord’s Apple. Carrie Vaughn is a talented writer and she did very well in her first adult foray outside of the KITTY NORVILLE series. I must emphasize that Discord’s Apple is very much an adult novel. There is nothing overly graphic in the novel, but the sexual themes might prove unsuitable for younger readers.

I listened to this on audio CD produced by Brilliance Audio. The story is read to us by Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels. The majority of the story is told from Evie’s perspective, and Dawe’s smooth youthful voice is perfect for her. Daniels, who voices Sinon, is also excellent. I enjoyed listening to this a great deal, and highly recommend the audio version.

You can also learn more about Carrie Vaughn's books at the Fantasyliterature Carrie Vaughn page

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