If you’re in the mood for a Greek retelling with a bit of a twist, Game of Strength and Storm is for you. It’s a gender bent competition re-imagining of Hercules’ labors. And for action and mythology fans, it’s an obvious choice. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Victory is the only option.
Once a year, the Olympian Empresses grant the wishes of ten people selected by a lottery — for a prize. Seventeen-year-old Gen, a former circus performer, wants the freedom of her father, who was sentenced to life in prison for murders she knows he did not commit. Castor plans to carry the island Arcadia into the future in place of her brother, Pollux, but only after the Empresses force a change in her island’s archaic laws that requires a male heir.
To get what they want, Gen and Castor must race to complete the better half of ten nearly impossible labors. They have to catch the fastest ship in the sea, slay the immortal Hydra, defeat a gangster called the Boar, and capture the flesh-eating Mares, among other deadly tasks.
Gen has her magic, her ability to speak to animals, her inhuman strength — and the help of Pollux, who’s been secretly pining for her for years. But Castor has her own gifts: the power of the storms, along with endless coin. Only one can win. The other walks away with nothing — if she walks away at all.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: animal death, animal cruelty
Game of Strength and Storm has to be on your TBR if you love unique Greek mythology re-imaginings. I have not read another one that details or re-imagines Hercules’ labors. So reading about this quest style competition was thrilling and action packed. The action – in tandem with the pacing – made me keep wanting to read more. You want to not only figure out who will win, but also how they will approach these impossible tasks.
But even more so, Game of Strength and Storm explores what we will do for revenge, for love, and for agency. This story features two characters, Gen and Castor, one who is trying to take her future into her hands and the other who wants to save her father. With varying skills, I could not help but pick Gen as my favorite. It’s no surprise that her quest seems a bit more noble – trying to save someone she loves – but it’s also that she faces discrimination because she’s half Mazon.
And so not only is her family on the line, but also the people’s fears of her blood and mind magic. The ways they distrust them and the public opinion. Whereas Castor is driven by her desire to be taken seriously – which I love – but she’s a bit too capitalistic for me in who she does not care who she is arming with dangerous lightning. And unexpected favorite was also Pollux, Castor’s brothers perspective. It was a glimpse into what our family can do to us and how we bear the pressure.
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Overall, Game of Strength and Storm not only features a competition, but it also asks if we will be the type of person necessary to win. If the ends justify the means. If you love Greek mythology then you have to read Game of Strength and Storm. At the same time, if you just love action stories with a healthy dose of competition, this is for you! Find Game of Strength and Storm on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.