Monday, July 2, 2012

Snakehead by Ann Halam

As a seventh grader who enjoys reading Greek and Egyptian mythology and science fiction, I found Snakehead to be exciting and well-written with a strong story line that draws the reader in. At first it took a little time to get into the book, but after sticking with it for a few chapters, the action started. Normally, I might have put the book down after reading a few pages and not finding them enjoyable, but as I was determined to review this book, like it or not, I knew I had to read on. I'm glad I did!

The story takes place during ancient Greek times on the island of Serifos, part of the Cyclades Islands, after a natural disaster leaves thousands of people stranded as refugees on the islands. The two main characters are Perseus and Andromeda (or Kore as she is also referred to) and they meet in a chance encounter in the port of Naxos (another Greek island) while waiting for a ferry to take them to Serifos. Perseus, son of Zeus, has no idea that the beautiful girl he has just met is Princess Andromeda, the daughter of Cassiopeia, the queen of the Phoenician city of Haifa. As the story unfolds, Andromeda hides her identity from everyone while working and living at a taverna (a Greek bar/restaurant) with Perseus and his family. He grows more infatuated with her and begins to fall in love as time goes on. The story becomes heated when Andromeda's identity is revealed to the mercilous and tyrant king, Polydectes. Perseus is then sent on a quest to kill Medusa (the “Snakehead”) and bring back her head to the king as a wedding present.

I thought this book was entertaining, suspenseful and a good read, especially for teenagers that enjoy mythology and mythological characters. The author, Ann Halam, knows how to keep readers on the edge of their seats and to keep them wondering what will happen next in the story line. She uses many larger vocabulary words and therefore shows her knowledge and ability as a thought-provoking writer. Ms. Halam does an effective job of developing the characters, which allows her reader to identify closely with them and also permits the reader to feel he or she exists in the same time period described within the book. Some of the professional reviewers have described this book as “gripping,” “suspenseful,” and “exciting” and I fully agree with their opinions!

  ~Jacob, Teen Book Reviewer

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