Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Review: The New Achilles by Christian Cameron

Title: The New Achilles
Author: Christian Cameron
Series: Commander #1
Publication: April 18th 2019 by Orion
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo
Rating: 3/5

Meet the greatest Greek general you've never heard of: Philopoemen. In his day, a leader as skilled and as dangerous as Hannibal: a ferocious fighter, a superb general, and credited as the inventor of modern 'special operations'. More importantly, he was a brilliant political leader.

He commanded Greek forces at the turn of the third century BC, when mighty Rome, fresh from the destruction of Carthage, and Imperial Macedon, the greatest power of the day, chose Greece as their battlefield. In a world of rival empires, slave-taking cartels, piracy, terrorism and failed states, will Philopoemen be able to hold anything together?

Why are books rated with three stars so hard to review? I didn't dislike this book but I also can't say that I enjoyed it enough to end up as a favorite of mine, you know? There were both good and not-so-good qualities this story had and in this case I'm not entirely sure if the good or not-so-good wins out.

To start, it was a bit of a hard book to get into, initially. I did, however, made a lot of progress easily so it wasn't something I had a tough time to get over. Only a chapter or two, I think. My favorite thing in the book by far were the battle scenes. I always tend to love battles scenes in historical fiction books that are set in the ancient world so I wasn't surprised by this at all. 

My least favorite thing were the characters. I just felt like I couldn't connect to them very well and there were a lot of them so it could be a little hard to remember who was who. The story featured a lesser known Greek general, Philopoemen. But it was all told in the point of view of Alexanor, a marine who joined the priesthood to become a healer instead of a killer.

Even though I couldn't connect to the various characters, I did like most of them well enough to continue reading about them. Especially main characters like Alexanor, Philopoemen and Phila for example. A favorite of mine it won't be but I am interested in reading the next book to see what will happen in that one. 

About the author:
Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age seven. He attends the University of Toronto when the gods move him and may eventually have a Masters in Classics, but right now he’s a full time historical novelist, and it is the best job in the world.

Christian is a dedicated reenactor and you can follow some of his recreated projects on the Agora. He’s always recruiting, so if you’d like to try the ancient world, the medieval world, or the late 18th century, follow the link to contact us.
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  1. I feel you, it's always hard when it comes to this rating for us, isn't it? I get what you're saying though, and the fact that you wanna read the next instalment shows it still worked. Fingers crossed it will be even better!

  2. Me too, three star reviews are sometimes the toughest. I don't always have a lot to say about them.

  3. It's so DIFFICULT when the characters just aren't really readable. I love a good plot and story--but, I NEED the characters to love a book. This one does sound interesting, though!

  4. I agree that 3 star reviews are so hard to write, I find myself writing "good" to describe everything!

  5. Yes, those three star ratings are the most difficult to share your thoughts on and properly review! I don't think this is going to be one for me though, as characters are always my main focus when reading and I need them to be interesting.

  6. Those 3 star books really are hard to review! I have to relate to the characters as well and it is almost always a make or break thing for me. I hope that the next book is more enjoyable for you. :)

  7. I sympathise and totally get it -- books like this are so hard to make a decision on!

  8. Characters are the most important thing to me in books so that was a little disappointing in this one....

  9. Yeah it's like... I enjoyed it but didn't love it. Doesn't mean it was a bad book and yet... you know? 😂

  10. The characters were just... there. So meh, sadly enough.

  11. Always give authors another chance. ^_^


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