Stephanie , Robin. Quiver. Laurel Leaf, 2005. ISBN 978-0440238195 192 pp.
Spinner retells the Greek legend of Atalanta, a royal born fosterling with athletic grace whose father and king orders her to marry in spite of her vow of chastity and devotion to the goddess Artemis. When Atalanta consents to race potential suitors on the condition that losers die and only the man to beat her will win her hand, Eros intercedes with his arrow of love. More in this version than in others, Atalanta seems a strong female character with some control over her destiny, in spite of her offerings to the goddess and the intervention of fate.
Students studying Greek myth will recognize traditional elements such as prophecy, humans desiring to become godlike, and the punishment of prideful humans. What makes Spinner’s version stand out are her savory details that lend a tangible quality to the historical period. The insertion of imagined conversations between the gods as they wager on the outcome of the human events they manipulate is unique and raises the story up a notch while adding a note of humor.
A map, author’s note about the various version of the story and a quick who’s who of the key deities flesh out the background. While this is not a replacement for Hamilton or Bullfinch, the freshness of this timeless story has appeal for teens today. Pair with McLaren’s Aphrodite’s Blessing (Atheneum, 2002) for an interesting comparison of two takes on the tale.