Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nyxen's Review of "Dido"

Dido by Adele Geras
260 Pages
David Fickling Books 2009

Aeneas leaned forward a little and kissed her on the mouth. Just one swift, soft touch of his lips on hers and then he turned and walked away.

Love can be deadly. Especially when two young women fall for the same man - one a queen, the other her serving maid.

Elissa knows she is playing with fire, but she can't resist. Queen Dido suspects nothing until one fateful night... Secrets are revealed, hearts are broken and as dawn breaks, a terrible tragedy unfolds.


I have a lot of things to say about this book. Well, not a lot but a couple of things. First, let me tell you more about this story. The back of the book makes it seem exciting and thrilling but when I read it, I was disappointed.

Elissa is a young serving maid to Queen Dido of Carthage. She ran away from her home life and ended up at Queen Dido's palace, where she was welcomed. Elissa wasn't the only new comer though. Aeneas, son of Anchises, from the city of Troy end up in Carthage after fleeing from the after affects of the war. Almost immediately, though, Queen Dido falls in with him and so does Elissa. Throughout the novel, we learn that Aeneas was to serve his destiny and leave Carthage leaving both women heart broken. But we also delve deeper into the past and learn what has happened from when Aeneas arrived to his departure.

I thought I would love this novel. It was Greek Mythology, something that I adored, but nothing in this book was of interest. Dido was written beautifully but I could not get into it. Everything seemed to be prolonged and I found myself dozing off at times. I couldn't read more than a couple pages a time and I knew there was no use for me reading. But I continued reading it, and I found myself enjoying it but it wasn't much. There was something missing from it.

I also found this novel to be quite disappointing because of the moral of this story. At first, I thought Queen Dido would be a strong willed woman who didn't need a man, at all. But as I read on my hopes had vanished. Queen Dido falls in love and is so devoted to Aeneas that she forgets about her responsibility to her kingdom. Her eyes are only on Aeneas himself, like a love-sick puppy. She is so obsessed with him she begs him to marry her, to share the throne if that was what it took. Queen Dido went to an all new low and I got really frustrated.

Towards the climax of the story, whilst Aeneas is leaving Carthage and Dido is disheveled, we learn Elissa has been holding a secret and that causes Dido to mentally break. Aeneas was Queen Dido's life so after learning about Elissa's secret she kills herself. She kills herself because Aeneas broke her heart and left her.

I got really angry at that. Queen Dido had everything she wanted. She had power, beauty, and even her own kingdom! But one day, a man comes and everything has changed. Nothing is ever the same once you fall in love to quickly. I was just mad that the author wrote something that could give young women ideas and fantasies about needing a man to be happy. I was just very disappointed in the outcome of this novel.

All in all, I rate this novel Two Stars.

I won this book on a contest hosted by Wondrous Reads. She did not influence my thoughts on this book in any way.


  1. @AlyssaKirk

    It's okay.
    I still enjoyed it nonetheless. (:

  2. It sounds like Geras was inspired by a Greek myth about the Queen of Carthage. The Greeks did love their tragedies and Dido's love was certainly that. Would you have like the book better had Dido not committed suicide?

  3. That sounds like a stinker. :( I've read different books by Adele Geras, (Troy and Athens) and it kind of left me like "What?" The romance part of her books are a bit dramatic and irrational if you ask me.

    P.S. I found your blog through Bookworming in the 21st Century, and I love it! :)

  4. Heh, blame it on Virgil and the Aeneid etc. She exists as a plot device to explain why Rome and Carthage are always at war later on etc. Sounds like Geras keeps close to the "original" telling, especially with the concept of Aphrodite-driven obsession and pain that showed up in Troy.


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