Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dancing with Dionysus

Title: Dancing with Dionysus
Author: Joanna Wylde
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 9781419930645
Genre: {M/F} Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Rogue Satyr

Kalliara is a young weaver, living on an island claimed by the god Dionysus. She is the daughter of a priestess to the Goddess Athena, who was shipwrecked on the island and died giving birth to Kalliara. Kalliara is the only one on the island that worships Athena. Besides humans, the island is populated by creatures favored by Dionysus, called the Maenads; satyrs, nymphs and wild women that shred to death any living thing they come across. Dionysus’ son, Sabiniano, rules the island. Every year there is a month long ‘festival’ when all of Dionysus’ creatures run wild and crazed, while humans huddle in their strong stone houses and pray to Dionysus. When Kalliara is captured by tormenting nymphs, Sabiniano ‘senses’ her fear. He also knows instantly she is not a worshipper of Dionysus. More intriguingly, he notices she is a virgin. Kalliara escapes the nymphs when they are attacked by drunken satyrs. Sabiniano gives chase. He wants to rape the little human over and over and when done with her, plans on giving her to the satyrs and nymphs, and when they are done with her, to the Maenads. Kalliara madly follows an owl. She comes to a cliff near a waterfall and the owl hovers in front of her. She realizes it is a sign from Athena and she steps calmly to her death, to be taken to the Underworld by the goddess herself.

Dionysus is outraged and tells Athena he is going to bring Kalliara back from the dead and give her to Sabiniano. But where Dionysus is bestial and blunt, Athena is intelligent and subtle. She goes to her sister Aphrodite. She warns Athena that her plan to make Sabiniano fall in love with Kalliara won’t work unless there is a tiny bit of love in Sabiniano’s cold, ruthless heart. Athena hopes there is enough for Aphrodite to work with…

Dancing with Dionysus is an enjoyable book. It is heavily based on Greek myth, but the author has taken artistic license with the myths to better match the plot. It is an exciting one that leaves the reader anxious to find out what happens next. Kalliara and Sabiniano are interesting, likable characters. The author warps ancient Greek myths almost to the degree where it nearly caused me to dislike the book. This was especially true of the personalities of the gods and goddesses. I think, however, this will only apply to a few readers, like me, that are very knowledgeable about the myths and like them unadulterated. For those that do not know much about Greek myths the author skillfully explains things in a nonintrusive manner. I do feel that there were some symbolic connections that were either chances missed by the author or were meant to be vague on purpose. On the whole, Dancing with Dionysus is a very erotic and suspenseful story that will keep readers both hot and bothered.

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