Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Review & Giveaway] Curse of the Sphinx

Curse of the Sphinx

by Raye Wagner

Publish date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Mythology
Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads summary

How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?

Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.

My thoughts

God, I just love Greek mythology so much. But what I really liked about Curse of the Sphinx is that it takes a look at a lesser known myth, the story of the Sphinx. The Sphinx has the body of a lion, wings of an eagle and the head of a human. In legend, the Sphinx is consider a monster because it would stand outside Thebes and ask a riddle to any travelers in order to pass into the city. Anyone who didn't answer correctly would be eaten. Then, Oedipus came along and answered correctly and it was all downhill from there for the monster. 

In Curse of the Spinx we revisit that legend, but with a twist. What if the Sphinx had a daughter to continue the line? And what if that line was cursed to die if they ever had a complete family with anyone other than the god, Apollo?

The story follows our main character, Hope, as she deals with the sudden death of her mother due to the curse. Hope ends up all alone, hiding from Apollo's minions and the curse. I really felt the depth of Hope's sadness and grief in this part of the book. I cried for her and everything she lost. She became a real person to me as she struggled to move forward with no direction. 

Then came along our love interest, Athan, who is the son of Hermes and a hunter of sorts. He can find anything and anyone. His journey starts when he witnesses Hope's mother's death and is sent to find Hope and bring her back for his father. He shows up at Hope's school and immediately takes an interest in her. He thinks she's a demigod of some sort, but he can't quite figure her out, so he sticks close to her and eventually they fall in love.

Here is where I thought the story could be improved. The romance is very underwhelming. Athan sort of just decided he's in love with Hope and forces his way into her life. She loves him back for really no reason other than he's there. It's not insta-love by any means, but there's really no development to this part of the story either. 

Now, here's the biggest pet peeve I had with this story. I'm the kind of person, in both books and movies, where I need things to make sense. I need logical reasons for things to happen and I need people to have rational reactions. It drives me crazy in movies when people do things that any normal person wouldn't do in their situation. Like, everyone splitting up during a horror movie. It just doesn't make sense. 

Since Athan was there for Hope's mother's death, he knows what she looks like. Repeatedly, we are told that Hope and her mother look exactly alike. They have the same hair and the same eyes. Eyes that aren't even a natural color. So tell me why Athan has no idea who Hope is until she reveals herself later in the book? He's searching for the Sphinx, so logically he's searching for someone who probably looks like the woman who just died. It doesn't make any sense as to why he can't obviously see that she looks exactly like her mother. The only reason it makes sense is because it fits into the story better. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the biggest pet peeves I have. 

Even with that being said, Curse of the Sphinx is definitely worth the read. It mixes well known mythology with the lesser known and adds brand new characters. Beyond the romance, there's also action and mystery in the story. I will definitely be looking out for book two so I can see what happens next. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

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About Raye Wagner

Raye Wagner grew up in Seattle, the second of eight children, and learned to escape chaos through the pages of fiction. As a youth, she read the likes of David Eddings, Leon Uris, and Jane Austen. Inspired by a fictional character, Raye pursued a career in nursing, thinking to help the world one patient at a time.

One summer afternoon, when her then young children were playing in the pool, a plot dropped into her head, and she started writing. 

She enjoys baking, puzzles, Tae Kwon Do, and the sound of waves lapping at the sand. She lives with her husband and three children in Middle Tennessee.

Origin of the Sphinx, a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, is her first publication. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series.

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