Utterly atmospheric. A story woven from the golden threads of myth and mastery.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first started listening to Artemis Rising. It’s not normally a book I would have chosen, it being a YA romance, but I’m glad I did. I loved the historical aspect of this. While the story itself was abstract, almost floating above reality in a sense, fantasy and fantastical, the setting did the plot justice. The Azores are exotic and new to most, full of lush landscapes and open seas, the Portuguese language foreign to most ears. The time was right, as well, the late 1800’s when the world blossomed out, as did the world’s women from the ties of oppression – just like Ava in this tale.
Keeping the story ethereal were the intricate threads of the myths – those of Arethusa and Alpheus and Tristan and Isolde. Now, I wondered, how in the hooey is Cheri going to wend these two unrelated and vastly different myths together, but dang it… she did. I wondered, in a way, while listening to this, why Ava/Arethusa allowed herself to be so tied down to the myths? Why, in turn did Tristao? To me, it was the parental influence trickling down into the children themselves… and then when the children came into their own minds and their own lives it made sense. Much of it was more figurative and symbolic than realistic, and that was just fine with me. It was almost as if Artemis Rising was a new myth, a new tale to be told by the firesides and hearths.
I’ve read other reviews that discuss Ava/Arethusa making her choice between Paganism and Christianity, but I honestly don’t think that’s what it was. Her choice is between allowing external forces to control her life and her destiny, and taking her course in her own hands. I loved the use of name choices in this story, and while an abstract thought, the name truly defined each character, and that was a masterful stroke.
I enjoyed listening to this book but I think I may have enjoyed reading it more, and I may just do that. The narrator’s voice, while lilting, fine, and beautiful, almost song-like, was sometimes heavy handed, too high-pitched or strange in intonation, inflection and diction. I had to go back to the text sometimes to figure out what she was saying with certain words such as Marques. Granted, much of that was my lack of familiarity with the Portuguese language, so I take that bit of blame. I think, however, that the narration was right for the story. It was at times like listening to a mother or a beloved teacher reading to me, and given the poetic, beautiful language of this book, I think that makes sense, and it is a good fit.
Bottom line, I was entranced by the story. I was heartbroken, frightened, on the edge of my seat, and I felt all of the anger, fear, irritation and love right along with Arethusa. And I may have fallen a little bit in love with Tristao. 🙂 I would recommend this to a friend, and in fact, I have. I received the audio book for free, but I intend to buy a Kindle copy so I can revisit it whenever I like.