Being brutally honest about books

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The good, the bad, and the ugly: Bring Down the Sun by Judith Tarr

Bring Down the Sun (Alexander the Great, #2)
Clickbait summary: Horny priestess marries King of Macedonia, has magic.

The good

  • About a historically intriguing woman, Olympias (Alexander the Great's mother) 
  • The setting! (Ancient Greece, 4th Century BCE)
  • Main character has a clear goal she is determined to reach (but she reaches it too easily to mane an interesting plot)
  • Ancient Greek girls usually have extreme levels of chastity, so it was a nice change to read about one with a sex drive (however, I think it could've been toned down a notch in place of a stronger plot) 
  • Just the right level of description, enough to get a rough idea of the visuals, not so much as to be overwhelming and boring
  • Strong female characters in a patriarchal society, and especially this quote:
"I know what I want," she said. "I do my best to take it."

"You should have been a man," he said.

"Why would I want that?"

She had taken him aback. "A man is - A woman-"

"Ask yourself," she said, "why a woman has to be weak to make a man feel strong. Are men so weak that women's strength is a threat to them?"

The bad

  • Lust = love; lust - therefore love - at first sight
  • Strange writing style with some weird phrases and sentences that don't quite make sense
  • The magical elements don't work for me (I don't like mixing my historical fiction with my fantasy, but that's just me)
  • Unlikeable, underdeveloped main character (unlikeable characters don't have to be underdeveloped, they're allowed some positive personality traits, and an interesting past)
  • All the name-changing is confusing

The ugly

  • SNAKES!!!
  • Hints of bestiality 


  • While I disliked many aspects of this book, overall I liked it
  • Would recommend to adult (or older teen, as it's not sophisticated but is sexually explicit) readers who like magic and historical fiction

The summary

Alexander the Great ruled the greatest Empire of the ancient world, but he was ruled by his mother, called Olympias. There are as many legends about this powerful Queen as there are of her famous son, and the stories began long before she even met Philip of Macedon.

Priestess of the Great Goddess, daughter of ruling house of Epiros, witch, and familiar of Serpents...she was a figure of mystery, fascination and fear even during her own lifetime. Author Judith Tarr uses the legends to weave an intensely romantic fantasy novel set in ancient Greece and Macedon.

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I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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