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Book Review: “Spoils of War” by Aleksandr Voinov & Raev Gray

April 17, 2011

I took a few minutes to review “Spoils of War” by Aleksandr Voinov & Raev Gray tonight. The short story was a quick and fun read for me, so I thought I would post it here as well.

Spoils of WarSpoils of War by Aleksandr Voinov & Raev Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story is very good. There are nuances and references made to various figures in Greek mythology, which I really enjoyed. They are handled in such a way that I don’t believe they would bog down the reader. I might be a little biased here, though, since I’ve done a good deal of reading in Greek mythology over the years, so the references all made sense to me and added depth.

Achilleus’ internal conflict of enjoying the tryst and being offered immortality while also wanting to recover Patroklos comes off as genuine and heartfelt. Ares lust for Achilleus and the perspective he has on the whole scene as a god is equally engaging.

The one issue I encountered was the frequent jumping of perspective in the narrative, likely a result of the piece being co-authored. At times, it jumped rapidly and pulled me out of the story, but for most readers, I don’t think it will be much of a problem. The writing itself is excellent and engaging, so the head-hopping can be forgiven. If the piece had been longer, it would have been more of a problem, but for a short story like this one, it didn’t do too much damage.

My favorite aspect of this story might strike some readers as odd, but I loved the subtle interaction between Ares and Hermes. There is rivalry there and a touch of humor that made me smile from ear to ear. The end actually sparked hope in me for a spin-off short story that would involve Hermes, since I loved the personality that Voinov and Gray gave him in his small appearances.

Overall, this is an excellent, quick read. The imagery is vivid, the emotions well-conveyed, and the contrast of Achilleus’ love and devotion to Patroklos with the violent lust and passion Ares emulates and inspires makes this an engaging short story. Well worth the $0.99.

Buy a copy of “Spoils of War” here for $0.99.

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