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Nobody's Prize (Princesses of Myth Series)
     

Nobody's Prize (Princesses of Myth Series)

4.3 180
by Esther Friesner
 

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In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo.

Helen quickly faces all sorts of

Overview

In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo.

Helen quickly faces all sorts of danger. There are battles to be fought, as well as an encounter with a terrifying murderous princess. With her beauty blossoming, Helen’s journey takes her beyond the mythology of the Golden Fleece to Athens, where her very future as Queen of Sparta is threatened.

Editorial Reviews

Her older brothers think that the quest for the Golden Fleece is man's work, but not Helen of Sparta. In this sequel to Nobody's Princess, this pretty adventurer disguises herself as a boy and, accompanied by her faithful friend Milo, sets off on the Argo. Keeping her real identity secret on a long sea voyage is no simple matter, but that is only one complication that the future queen of Sparta must confront.
Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
This novel is the sequel to Nobody's Princess. It finds the young Helen of Sparta following her older brothers on the quest for the Golden Fleece. They do not know she is tagging along; she and her friend Milo are in disguise. Together, they begin an amazing quest filled with danger and unexpected experiences. A novel with a cross-dressing, future Helen of Troy? It sounds interesting, right? At points in this sequel, I was pulled into the idea of an adventure. But the feeling never came to fruition. Despite this, I cannot say that I entirely disliked the text. Unfortuately, I cannot say that I liked it either. While it was in my hands, the book was interesting enough. The slightest distraction, however, and I would forget it. Still, if you are interested in reading a modern interpretation of a figure in Greek mythology, this might be an option. If you are interested in reading a text with a strong-willed heroine, this might be an option. If you do choose to read this book, be warned: There will be times when your previous understanding of Helen of Troy will clash with the heroine in this book. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 18.

The future Helen of Troy continues her adolescent adventures in this sequel to Nobody's Princess (Random House, 2007/VOYA October 2007). Helen is eager to follow her older brothers as they join Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, but of course, young women are not invited on that particular journey. Helen, however, has some experience in posing as a boy, which she puts to practical use in her plans, accompanied by her friend, the ex-slave Milo. Helen's intelligence and daring help to conceal her true identity as she tangles with the men of Greek myths, such as Herakles and Argus. She even falls in love, but ironically the subject of her desire turns out to be more interested in boys. Her true gender is revealed in a scene that will surely rival any true stories about the onset of menstruation. The book ends before Helen's most famous exploits, promising readers further volumes to anticipate. Friesner is an accomplished writer who is able to interweave a contemporary feel for these ancient characters with pieces of history and mythology. She can also be funny, as readers can virtually feel Helen rolling her eyes during the course of her narration. It is possible for readers to begin with this book for there are surprisingly few references to incidents in the earlier installment. But it is surely best enjoyed as part of a series, and libraries with the first book will want to make sure fans get their second helping. Reviewer: Diane Colson
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 18.

The princess is Helen. It’s the Bronze Age, and Helen is having another adventure before she has to settle down and get married. She decides to disguise herself as a boy and get on the Argo and sail with Jason (of the Golden Fleece quest). With her is the devoted servant/friend Milo, who tries to save her from whatever peril she faces. Milo cares about Helen a great deal. Helen’s brothers are also on the Argo, sailing with Jason, but they don’t know for some time that Helen is on board too. As the narcissistic Jason sails on, trying to increase his heroic standing, several unfortunate romances ensue. For instance, Hercules (yes, that Hercules) sees Helen’s boy self and gets a crush on her/him. At the end of this series of adventures, reunited with her family as Helen’s twin sister Clytemnestra is now a queen, married to Agamemnon, Helen looks at herself in a mirror and realizes she is growing up, and that she is a woman too. The man lurking in the scene, presenting the mirror, is Prince Menelaus. If you know your Homer, you’ll know where Helen’s fate lies. Friesner has a Ph.D. from Yale University, and she clearly is gifted at weaving myth, history, and adventure into an exciting YA novel. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

School Library Journal

Gr 6-9- In this sequel to Nobody's Princess (Random, 2007), the future Helen of Troy and her friend, the former slave Milo, join Prince Jason and the Argonauts on the quest to gain the Golden Fleece. Helen, disguised as a boy, is faced with trying to keep her identity secret from her brothers, who have also joined the quest. Her true gender is revealed when she gets her first period, so she claims to be the warrior Atalanta, a figure from the first book. When the crew of the Argo reaches Colchis, Helen meets Princess Medea, presented as a sinister and scheming figure. As Helen travels back to Sparta, she is captured by Theseus of Athens, who wants to marry her, and she needs to use both her strength and her wits to escape. Readers familiar with legends about Jason and Helen will enjoy finding familiar adventures and themes, while readers new to these myths will appreciate Friesner's detailed vision of ancient Greece. Characters are given depth and flaws, such as Jason's self-centeredness and Herakles's stretching the truth. Details about food and customs of the time are woven into the story. Helen's determination to choose her own future will resonate with modern teens, who will also appreciate her resourcefulness and determination to help those who help her. A solid choice for fans of Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" books (Hyperion/Miramax).-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Continuing the saga begun in Nobody's Princess (2007), a fictional Helen (of Homeric fame) goes on the quest for the Golden Fleece with Jason and the Argonauts, disguised initially as a weapons carrier. When her gender is discovered, she pretends instead to be Atalanta, the famous huntress. Events proceed as in the myth (the Isle of Lemnos, the Harpies, Medea, etc.), though this version is purposefully mundane. As in the first book, Helen is a spunky tomboy who just wants to be herself, a thoroughly modern character borne of the reading public's current fascination with Greek mythology and the Princess Diaries phenomenon. The story lacks narrative tension or character development, as Friesner simply overlays this conceit upon set events which seem to unfold as if preordained, never taking the reader anywhere beyond this rather limited expose of certain Greek myths. This is certainly not the last in the series, which will have its fans. Anyone needing another strong-female-character-with-a-sword series will enjoy it, but it is only mildly accomplished and strongly forgettable. (Fiction. 11-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375875328
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Series:
Princesses of Myth Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
8.22(w) x 5.56(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

I stood in the bow of the little fishing boat and gazed at the glittering city high on the bluff ahead. Even so late in the day, with the sun setting and the early summer light fading from the sky, I could see how tall the palace walls stood. I marveled at how many buildings clustered at their feet. Only the richest cities were so crowded with houses and shops and temples.

Iolkos! I thought happily. It must be Iolkos. After so many days’ sail from Delphi, the gods grant it’s no place else. My heart beat faster as I scanned the harbor that lay in the shadow of the citadel, seeking one special ship among all the rest. Where was it? Where was the vessel that would carry me off to adventure? Was it that one, with the almond-shaped eye painted in red just above the prow? Or that one, with a swarm of men busily at work, taking down its blue-bordered sail? Where was my ship, the ship Prince Jason was going to sail to the farthest shores of the Unfriendly Sea, the ship of heroes who would dare anything to fulfill the quest for the Golden Fleece? Where was the Argo?

“There she stands, lads, Iolkos!” the fisherman called out to Milo and me from his place at the steering oar, confirming my hopes. “And less than a day’s sail away.” He winked at me when he said “lads,” and I grinned back. Though I wore a boy’s tunic and my skin was deeply tanned from our voyage, I was no more a lad than that man’s daughter.

The fisherman knew my true name and rank—Helen, princess of Sparta, Lord Tyndareus’s heir, Queen Leda’s daughter—but I’d spent so much of our voyage from Delphi teaching him to call me “Glaucus,” the boy’s name I’d chosen for myself, that it came to his tongue naturally. He’d keep my secret. The real question was whether I could do the same. My brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, waited behind the walls of Iolkos, waited to sail with Prince Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. I intended to join them on that quest, but for that to happen they must not recognize me as their sister or my adventure would be over before it began.

I leaned as far forward from the prow as I could without toppling out into the waves. Sea spray was cool and salty on my lips. There was a fine breeze filling our sail, and the sky swirled with squawking gulls. Soon we’d land, and I’d put the next step of my plan into action.

I wasn’t the only one in a hurry. “Is it true?” Milo exclaimed eagerly, scrambling to stand beside me. “Are we there at last?” My friend was not the world’s happiest sailor.

“Soon enough,” the fisherman said. “Tomorrow morning.” He leaned against the steering oar and turned our boat’s nose toward the shore.

“ ‘Tomorrow’?” I echoed. “Why not today?”

The fisherman chuckled. “You know the answer to that.”

So I did. “Always keep the shore in sight,” I recited dutifully. While I’d spent our voyage from Delphi teaching the fisherman to call me by a boy’s name, he’d spent it teaching me the basics of sailing. “A strayed boat’s a doomed boat.”

“And—?” he prompted.

“And only owls and foxes can see in the dark,” I went on. “The wise sailor beaches his boat by dusk.”

“Good. Now come here and show me what else you’ve learned.” He stood to one side and patted the steering oar that guided our little vessel.

“You want me to beach us?” I could hardly believe it. I’d never expected such a privilege. My father could buy a dozen great ships with the oil from just one season’s olive harvest, but for the fisherman this lone little boat was his entire existence, his livelihood, his only way back home.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I know this shore. It’s friendly enough. Go on, steer us. I’ll mind the sail, but I’ll step in if I see you doing something wrong.”

I said a prayer to Poseidon as I took the steering oar with both hands and braced my bare feet against the boat’s sun-warmed hull. I leaned against the long wooden oar and felt the power of the waves pushing back against me. There wasn’t much resistance, just enough for me to feel the message of the sea: I am immortal, endless, stronger and wilder than a thousand bulls. If you think that you’ve tamed me because you’ve made me carry you where you want to go, you’re a fool. Respect me, or pay for your pride.

Yes, Lord Poseidon, I thought as I turned the boat toward shore. I hear. I know. I ask your blessing.

The god answered in his own way, by letting me beach the boat without much trouble. When I felt the bottom grate along the sand and pebbles, I took a deep breath of relief.

Milo was the first to leap from the boat. “I’ll make the fire!” he called out, racing away to gather bits of wood.

“Helpful, isn’t he?” the fisherman remarked as we dragged the boat a safe distance onto the beach.

“He’d volunteer to kill a dragon if it meant he’d have solid ground under his feet,” I replied.

After Milo got the fire started, we cooked some red mullet we’d caught and ate them along with the last of the bread and cheese we’d bartered for at a small village two days’ voyage south. I was convinced that I’d be too excited to eat or sleep that night. My mind rang with Iolkos! Iolkos! Iolkos! My body had other ideas. I gobbled up every bit of food in front of me and my eyes closed as soon as my head touched the ground.

That night, my dreams were strange and terrifying. I was back in the forests of Calydon, once more running with the hunt for the monstrous boar that was ravaging the land. The beast rushed out of the darkness the same way that he’d come when I’d helped the great huntress Atalanta meet his attack.

In my dream I stood alone.

Meet the Author

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies. She is married, is the mother of two, harbors cats, and lives in Connecticut.

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Nobody's Prize 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 176 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you were a princess, a future queen, a true beauty, and said to be the daughter of the king god Zeus, what would you do? Most people will say, "Well, I'd do what a queen does! Fall in love with a prince, marry, have children, and rule my country." But this answer is not good enough for Lady Helen of Sparta. She doesn't want to sit in front of a loom or learn to make olive oil. She would prefer to have a sword at her hip and a horse at her side. In other words; adventure. At the point where ancient Greece thrived the most, Helen of Sparta (later known as Helen of Troy) is the future queen of one of the most powerful kingdoms. However, before she gives everything up to rule a kingdom, she want an experience like no other. Leaving her guards and her friends (as well as her girl side) in Delphi, Helen sets off, masquerading as a boy, to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. She and her ex-slave Milo are ready to conquer the dangers of the voyage through the Clashing Rocks, the Wavy Sea, and eventually the foreign land of Colchis. A great many battles take place where her skills that she learned from her weapon trainer Glaucus are put to the test, and her honor as well as boy mask are threatened. Of course, it is not just battles she must worry about. Her brothers are also on the voyage, and if they find out she is there, boy or not, they will send her away back to Sparta to live her queenly life. As if that isn't enough, a handsome young weapons bearer catches her eye, and a greek hero falls in love with Helen's male side. Her identity is almost discovered with her welcome to womanhood. The young princess's life is threatened greatly when she encounters a murderous princess that is convinced that she is in love with Jason, her lover. Helen must find a way around that many times poison meets her, and the evil princess declares her finished. But Helen's adventures don't end in Colchis. She is captured by the king of Athens and forced to become his bride without a warning to her parents in Sparta. While captive behind Athen's walls, Helen meets a rejected knight and takes on a task that could lead to freedom. Nobody's Prize is quite possibly the most excellent book I have ever read. It is thrilling, romantic, nerve-racking, and shows the loyalty as well as strength of one of ancient Greece;s most well known ladies. As Helen encounters challenge after challenge, her jaw is set and her sword is ready. Nobody's Prize will take you on a journey that will leave you dreaming about setting off on an adventure of your own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the main character, Helen, she is not a damsel in distress. It is also a good book if you are an adventure lover, like me. I was a little bit disapointed at the ending, but it was still worth reading.
JanelleP More than 1 year ago
I LOVEDDD the first book but i was pretty disappointed at the ending i wished that there was more in this book or there was another book after this I just wanted MORE.I think Helen should have fallen in love with him and they fight for their love in the next book but over all i loved Helens character of being different
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Great read and page turning. Even though i know the story of helen i was still disapointed at the end.
k_marie More than 1 year ago
The book was fast paced and a good read.
SophiaLerman More than 1 year ago
i am very into greek mythology and history and literature, and this is a great book. it is one of my favorites.
Ravenrocks More than 1 year ago
This is a great sequel to the book Nobody`s Princess. the book is filled with twists and turns and keeps you intrigued until the last page. I wish that it had more romance in it. it did not have any! over all it was a great book and i think that you should read it. Helen is such a life like character that makes you wish you could meet her!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Helen is not your ordinary, princess. She dosen't want to sew, walk around around and look pretty, and she dosen't want to be queen! Instead she wants to figt, go places, sail, ride horse, but if she wants to do all those things she needs to pretend to be a boy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Could not put this book down from the time I picked it up!!!!!! I loved the first book, Nobody's princess, and loved this one even more!!!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING!  It intrigued me to read up to 50 pages per day!!! I love it so much that I'm doing a book report on it/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than the first one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I swear, both these books are a wonderful read for any Rick Riordan fans! This is seriously one of the books where you are asking "Wait.. There's only two books in the series?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read those books and I still understood what was being said in "Nobodys Princess".
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like it applies to a lot of girls when boys just assume their stronger and then when they get beat by a girl it shocks them. Lets just say girls are not just pretty faces.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the entire series, especially the first book 'Nobody's Princess' and think that they are all well written :-)