is a very minor character in the Aenid. I'm not one for Greek/Roman epics, and I surely can't remember who Aeneas was. (Btw, how do
you pronounce Aeneas? I like to pronounce it Ay-ee-nay-ahs bahaha) Nothing to worry about, the Aenid can be understood in this book.
*Random thought* Any retelling of any original work feels like fanfiction to me. So, yeah, this is an Aenid fanfiction to me, from a truly talented writer.
The amount of research Le Guin put for this deserves 5 stars. So even though this may not be the best Le Guin, and I didn't enjoy it like the HP series or The Book Thief, I would still rate it 4 stars. At least I didn't struggle to finish this book.
There are themes about war and women's roles and destiny. I tend to leave thin post its at the pages to bookmark memorable passages. Suffice to say, there are plenty of pink post-its on my copy of Lavinia.
It accurately portrays the negative side and senselessness of war (if there is a positive side to it, it doesn't outweigh its consequences). It also tackles the question of whether destiny is real or if there really is free will. Lavinia knows she is a fictional character, and knows what will happen to Aeneas. And yet, by accepting her destiny, she said that she never felt more free.
There are things in this world we can never predict, and who knows if things are really premeditated? Like Lavinia, we must go on.
I also loved the setting for Lavinia, an ancient Italy, the time before a sprakling rich Rome, where kingdoms are sometimes only as big as a village and soldiers are farmers. By the end, the grand Roman empire hasn't been built yet, but this book is about Lavinia, and her life, as never been told in the Aenid. As for Lavinia herself, she is a quietly strong female, who narrates in a somewhat cool detachment of her surroundings, which works for the book.*3.5 stars*
It didn't appeal to me emotionally, but my history-loving side liked this book. It will mostly appeal to lovers of ancient Roman/Greek war stories.