Good story

The Loves of the Argonauts - John Michael Curlovich

Disclaimer: ARC Via Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books

So I find it really hard to be negative about anything that expresses a love for the Jason and Argonuats movie by Harryhausen. Just saying.

In fairness, I should note that I am not a huge romance fan. I really am not. But how can you pass up a book that actually acknowledges that the Argonauts weren’t just rowing oars?

Curlovich does a fine job of bring the legend to life.

The story of Jason and his quest for the fleece is told via Acastus, his cousin, and son of the man who stole Jason’s father’s throne. Acastus is not a typical Greek prince, something that no doubt can be traced to dedication to the Muses. His father is not quite right and there is a sense of decay in the kingdom. The arrival of Jason and the quest for the fleece suggests a solution to the problem.

In some respects, the book is a typical romance. There is instant love between Acastus and his partner, there is instant lust as well. Curlovich does an excellent job at showing the love between the men, in particular when it is the true love of equal. This actually makes the use of instant love less annoying because the relationship does develop and not every character is going “oh, does he love I don’t know for sure” like in another book I recently read.

Acastus is a fully rounded character whose conflicts might be too modern in some aspects, but, perhaps because of this, his voice makes it easier for the reader to enter the realm of the story. He isn’t perfect, and at times, he uses too modern a tone – there is a reference to differences in cultural values that does seem to fit an ancient Greek.

The sequence describing the Argonauts quest for the fleece is good and contends the right amount of daring do. The drawback is that too few of the crew stands out. While this is understandable considering the source material, it can also be a little confusing or disheartening as some characters seem to pop up and go away again, making it hard for the reader to become attached to them. At times, too, it does feel like Curlovich is pairing all of them up. This makes Atlanta an oddity because she is the sole women on the ship. While I wish her role had been larger, Curlovich includes her, which is more than many modern retellings do.

Still, that is a very interesting part of the book. While I might not agree with Curlovich’s reading of the Medea story, his use of homosexuality in terms of Greek culture as well as woman’s place in that culture is well thought out. What do the powerless do when they are cut out of most aspects of societal control? It is an interesting theory that Curlovich plays with, and it does make sense.

This is the first male romance book that I have read, and I want to read more Curlovich.