Wednesday, January 15, 2020

TBR Challenge: Elisabeth Naughton - Unchained

For thousands of years, Prometheus’s only certainty was his daily torture at his enemy's hand. Now, unchained by the Eternal Guardians, he spends his days in solitude, trying to forget the past. He’s vowed no allegiance in the war between mortal and immortal, but when a beautiful maiden seeks him out and begs for his help, he’s once again powerless to say no. Soon, Prometheus is drawn into the very conflict he swore to avoid, and, to save the maiden’s life, he must choose sides. But she has a secret of her own, and if Prometheus doesn’t discover what she’s hiding in time, the world won’t simply find itself embroiled in a battle between good and evil, it will fall in total domination to Prometheus’s greatest foe. 

Comment: As with other participants, this is the first TBR challenge post of the new year and I want to use this opportunity to wish everyone a great challenge!
In January the theme tends to be short stories or smaller length novels and I picked a novella from the Eternal Guardians series by Elisabeth Naughton because I followed the series and I had it in the TBR list anyway.

In this short story we see what happens after Prometheus has been free of Zeus' control following a rescue mission from the Argoleans, especially since his daughter Natasa mated one of them.
Prometheus is facing a calmer life, the prospect of being free a good one despite the things he suffered but being in Argolea, close to his daughter and seeing her happy makes everything easier.
One day he starts hearing a strange seductive voice calling hi for help although he doesn't know how he could do anything.
Suddenly a figure appears even though not in full presence. She presents herself as Keia, but in fact she is Circe, a witch imprisoned by Zeus so he can control her powers. Will Circe convince Prometheus she is not what fame has made her to be? Can he trust her? Will they join forces to free Circe at last?

I couldn't remember the last time I had read a story in this series and it was 2016 but to be honest I only remembered the basics. It seems since the last full length story, the author has only added novellas to the series and since I don't always read novellas, it just hasn't been in my radar lately. 
I must also note that as soon as I started reading, some details came to mind but not many. Reading this novella out of order will leave readers confused, especially if their notion of the Greek mythology is updated, because the author picked that base to develop this series and some pairings are... original.

Since I did read the other books and I recalled some details, I was prepared to enjoy this novella about Prometheus and Circe, two of the characters that populate the series which was originally focused on the fictional realm of Argolea, a place from where seven warriors were chosen to help humans from the deceitful gods (the main books in the series).
Prometheus and Circe were only secondary characters in the past and their connection non existent which makes me wonder why they were paired off, perhaps just to solve loose points or something...

Thinking about the way this story is inserted in the main plot, I would say it was just a little piece of the puzzle instead of a big part of it finally solved. It was good to see a little extra something done but it doesn't change the big picture. Isn't this what usually happens with novellas in big or already developed series? It barely reaches the surface, much less meatier stuff.
I don't think it really added much to what was happening so I cannot say this was a successful tactic done by the author.

Circe and Prometheus don't really seem developed characters. They could be anyone else that the story would be exactly the same and since there was barely enough to allow the reader to connect with them, I felt very detached from what was happening and finished the story thinking it might as well not have been written, or it could have been inserted in another, bigger story perhaps.
Part of this short sized story is showing how Circe and Prometheus bond over sex and apparently one sex scene and a few meetings are enough to convince them (and us) they are meant to be together, in love, as if that immediately puts them in the "serious commitment" level.
I didn't buy it. I was not convinced, by the way the author wrote, that they really had achieved that level and not even the paranormal aspect of the series is enough element to make it easier to accept.

I've liked the books in this series and I've liked some of the settings and developments the author has created. I cannot imagine the effort to think about reducing a story so much that it would make sense within the world created and still be worth it on its own. Were this to be a cute vignette in a newsletter or something perhaps it could have even enough but to me, this story doesn't make sense as a novella. It's just too short, too much under developed and the characters are forced to look having chemistry. The romance is non existent, not convincing and nothing really important happens to move things along (if that is even a purpose now that only novellas are being released in the series).

I like the world, I liked seeing a few references to things I remembered and characters I know from the other books but, in general, this just barely makes a positive grade, since I was generous but in reality it would read more a 4.8 or something in my scale, thus the final 5.
Good for fans but not that special overall.
Grade: 5/10

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