Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn

The world is at war again. Food is being rationed, there are checkpoints and patrols in every city. What the world needs now is magic.

Magical objects were hidden away in the storeroom centuries ago because they were no longer needed. Now, with the global war, the objects are being claimed again. Evie Walker just returned to Hopes Fort for Christmas and to take care of her dying father. She doesn't know anything about her destiny as keeper of the storeroom. Once she enters the room, sees the objects, and gives the glass slippers to the old woman at the door, she realizes that there are some things in which we are not given a choice. The choices are made for us.

Evie runs into trouble when a polished woman shows up for an object. The woman is Hera, wife of Zeus. She is seeking the golden apple of discord. This apple was fought over by Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. Aphrodite won the apple and caused the Trojan War by presenting Helen to Paris. Hera still believes that the apple belongs to her. Evie instinctively knows which objects belong to which people, and the apple is not for Hera. The world is in shambles as it is, Hera and the apple can make everything oh so much worse.

Alex was a prominent feature in Homer's "Odyssey." His name was Sinon and he was the man who convinced the Trojans to take in the giant wooden horse that led to their downfall. Shortly after the war, Alex was taken by Apollo. He learns important lessons about gods during his stay. First, gods don't understand that raping people isn't cool. Second, gods are actually just people with extraordinary abilities. Regular people saw the abilities and decided to worship them, so the gods became distant from humanity. They used humans as playing pieces in their games. So Zeus ended the age of the gods and stored away the magic.

Apollo put a chain around Alex's neck that gave him eternal life. Alex is seeking anything that will take the chain off and end his life. Evie and Alex, plus King Arthur and Merlin, Evie's father and his adorable giant wolfhound Mabe, have to defend the apple and the Storeroom from Hera and her accomplices.

Discord's Apple seamlessly mixes mythology and history. The narrative skips around from the present events to Alex's experiences in his Sinon days to flashbacks of former Walkers creating and guarding the storeroom. It all comes together into a really great story.

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