Told in the first person, which made the story seem very immediate, this was a fast read because of all of the action. The girls will pick it up because of the tie with Helen, and the boys will like all of the fighting. I was most enthralled with the portrayal of Helen not as the namby-pamby, beautiful plaything of the gods, but of the real, live Spartan girl with her own agenda. I will be very interested to see how Friesner deals with the rest of the story.
I also read, at the insistence of a language arts teacher, Mildred Taylor's classic Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Certainly, this is a good book that illustrates the prejudice and intolerance that blacks had to suffer in the 1930's. Was it so fabulous that teachers should still be assigning it 30 years after publication? Maybe not. Cassie Logan seemed rather clueless-- did her family really keep her that sheltered that she didn't understand that she would suffer consequences for her refusal to bow down to the cultural mores that kept blacks in "their place"? Combine this with dialect, slow descriptions, and drawn out problems that took forever to be concluded, and this read like a book that (as one of my parent volunteers put it) your language arts teacher would assign to you. Perhaps selections of this would be better for discussion than the whole book, since the reality is that 30 years after publication we still have 150 copies of these for class use, and don't have money to buy something new on the topic.