Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest

By A. Lee Martinez
Published on July 16th 2013
Published by Orbit

Source: Netgalley
Witness the epic battle of the cyclops!

Visit the endangered dragon preserve! Please, no slaying.

Solve the mystery of The Mystery Cottage, if you dare!

Buy some knick knacks from The Fates! They might come in handy later.

On a road trip across an enchanted America, Helen and Troy will discover all this and more. If the curse placed upon them by an ancient god doesn't kill them or the pack of reluctant orc assassins don't catch up to them, Helen and Troy might reach the end their journey in one piece, where they might just end up destroying the world. Or at least a state or two.

A minotaur girl, an all-American boy, a three-legged dog, and a classic car are on the road to adventure, where every exit leads to adventure. Whether they like it or not.
This was such a fun read!  It took longer to read than I'd wanted to, solely because I was using it as my "read a chapter here or there when you've got down time at work" type of book, so I was never really able to make much progress on it.  But thanks to the ridiculous weather we're having right now (social media seems to have dubbed it Chiberia here in Chicago), I've got nothing to do but read, so I was able to finish the back half of this book fairly quickly.

If you are a fan of mythology, you will definitely find a lot to enjoy in this one, set in an alternate world where magic and mythological/fantasy creatures are real and just a fact of life here.  There are tons of throwbacks to classic mythology, yet the story manages to feel completely fresh, thanks to Martinez's inventive characters and situations, and the way he modernizes myth to suit this universe.

Helen and Troy are both delightful lead characters who share a bit of a coming-of-age story as they go on their quest together.  There's a bit of romance, but it helps drive character growth and develops naturally, but the real focus is on the two learning to work together as a team and to trust not only in each other, but themselves.  Helen in particular has a great arc as she comes to terms with truly accepting her abilities as a minotaur, and finding herself worthy of being cared for by someone else.

This is an entertaining read and absolutely worth your time.  There are tons of laugh out loud moments, especially in the B-plot involving a group of orcs who are tasked with stopping Helen and Troy.  I don't know that there's anything particularly epic about the book, but it's a fun, often surprisingly touching, read.

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