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Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Discord's Apple" by Carrie Vaughn (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Visit Carrie Vaughn's Official Website Here
Order Discord's Apple from Amazon Here

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the popular Kitty Norville series. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado. This is her first solo adult title. She's also written a YA title which was released this year. The eight title in the Kitty Norville series was published recently & she's contracted for a few more.

FORMAT/INFO: Page count is 299 pages divided over Seventeen chapters and seven unnamed-unnumbered interludes. Narration is in the third person and features four characters such as Evie Walker, Sinon/Alex and a couple of others. The plot is self contained and ends with this novel.

July 6, 2010 marked the North American hardcover publication of "Discord's Apple" via Tor Books.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Carrie Vaughn is an author with whom I was unfamiliar with. While I had heard about her Kitty the Werewolf series, I haven't had the chance to try them out. So when Discord's Apple came out and had two very appealing qualities: being a solo book and the fact that the blurb mentioned it being associated with the Trojan War vis-à-vis Greek mythology, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to give Carrie Vaughn's writing a try.

Discord's apple is a fusion of Greek myths and apocalyptic thriller with a bit of mild comedic flavor.

The story begins with Evie Walker, a comic book writer who's returning to her small town roots in Hope's Fort, Colorado from Los Angeles. She isn't returning because of a break up or some other reason, her prime reason for returning is that her dad Frank Walker seems to be dying and she must be at her dad's side if this is true.

What she does not know is that her Dad shares a unique heritage. One which has decreed that their ancestors often had to sacrifice quite a bit of their lives either in the form of re-location or extreme hardships.

Evie also has another small query on her hands in the form of her comic book as she seems to be at a crossroads as to the direction of the main character in her comic, Tracker, the solo female in a special ops unit and who is as confused as her creator.

On returning back she finds that her town in an upheaval of sorts due to the current world events (the time frame seems to be a few years into the future from now). The US homeland has been attacked again and has lead to a tremendous increase of security measures. Upon her return her father decides to pass on a family mantle to her which comes in the form of a special room which houses certain very very special artifacts. There are several people who will be returning to collect them, some of them patiently, others rather crudely. She also meets a stranger named Alex who has met her dad and seems to be in the search of something which is beyond his means.

Inserted in this tale is also the story of a certain Greek warrior who caused the fall of Troy with his words. The Achaen warrior Sinon, who lied to the Trojans about the horse and caused the downfall of Troy is the focus of this thread. Since there's nothing mentioned in further annals about Sinon as in this story it's shown what happened to him and how he literally becomes a plaything for the gods. Sinon's struggles to survive and retain his humanity then unfold in parallel chapters as those with Evie.

In the Central storyline, Evie and Alex have to face a nemesis of legend that even Hercules feared. This person wants the apple [Of Trojan fame] which is stored with Evie's Dad and will do anything to get it. Thus begins the string of events which will lead to the world's eventual conclusion however its up to Evie, Alex and their allies to prevent a total rout and shepherd humanity into a favorable outcome. We also are treated to what happened in Sinon's timeline which also affects events in the present timeline.

Weaving Greek mythology within contemporary settings, Carrie Vaughn has written a very delectable story. Although the story appears to be very fast, at the same time it manages to slow the reader down with its intricacies. I had a chance to re-read this story and found several things that I had missed when I had read it the first time.

Although the story has a very light tone, it deals with a lot of very heavy subjects. Carrie Vaughn has to be appreciated for the way that she weaved certain heavy scenes within the narrative. These parts were so smooth the that reader rarely realizes the gravity of the situation until that particular scene is over.

The only downside to this tale is that the ending is a bit ambiguous as to what actually happened. Even though there are lines given to indicate Evie and Alex's future, the tale is left open ended which might not be to every reader's liking. After finishing this book I'm definitely tempted to check out Carrie Vaughn's other titles and I'm sure she will find lots of new fans with this book. Whether you are a Carrie Vaughn fan or just trying her out for the first time, Discord's Apple will give you a sample of her writing style, try it out for yourself and see what you think!


Nayan said...

Bravo!! Thats a wonderfully written review...havent read Carrie Vaughn yet, but I think it is worth the try.

angie said...

I've been reading Carrie Vaughn since the first Kitty novel came out and she is one of my fave authors. I highly recommend the Kitty series and Voices of Dragons (another stand-alone novel).

Caitrin said...

I really enjoyed Discord's Apple! It took me a bit to get into because I didn't get the present day sort of setting, so it threw me off at first. But in the end I really enjoyed the novel and I'm secretly hoping we see the characters again. I want to know what happens next! :D

The Reader said...

@ Nayan

Thanks a lot, I hope that you do give her a try.

@ Angie

I will be trying the Kitty series next.

@ Caitrin

The ending was bittersweet & perhaps an extended epilogue would be great as well.


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