Review | The Valor of Perseus – Matt Larkin

About the Book

One cannot challenge fate alone.

In her desperation to save Prometheus, Pandora has recruited Perseus, the son of her greatest enemy. Within the demigod sleeps speed and power no mortal could match. But will he use his abilities to aid her?

Before Perseus will consider following Pandora on her quest, he has a mission of his own, leaving Pandora no choice but to accompany him on a journey that will pit them against gods and mythical monsters.

And even if they succeed, Pandora must still contend with the burden of the Box …

276 pages
Published on August 31, 2021
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Whenever another Matt Larkin book shows up in my inbox, I get excited. I’ve learned his writing just works for me in a way very few others do. His stories are complex, his prose is gorgeous, his research is flawless, and he always puts a unique spin on a story I don’t expect. 

This series of his is one of my favorites. The story of Pandora is absolutely brilliant, and delightfully complicated. Pandora is on her quest to save Prometheus. In so doing, she ends up recruiting the son of her enemy, Perseus, to help her. Together they go on a journey that has them facing Medusa, dragons, and other creatures of lore. It isn’t easy, and I loved this thread of the book because it didn’t end the way I expected. In fact, I wasn’t sure how things would go down between Pandora and Perseus, but their banter was charming, and added a nice levity to balance out some of the darker notes in the book. Perseus was a character who seemed to shine whenever he was on stage, and Pandora’s careful calculated planning and her relentless need to get closer to her own goal balanced out Perseus’s more easygoing nature. 

However, this is one of those books where we are working on numerous timelines, with numerous characters. The story of Hekate is told here as well, from her journey into the darker arts, to her own quest to find mysteries that will further her art. Hekate is a character that I both love and hate, and I think she’s brilliantly crafted in a way that allows both of those emotions with equal strength. In a lot of ways, Hekate feels like a tragic story, and she really is. She’s sacrificed a lot to get to where she is, and is driven to the point of pain. It seems like most of her decisions are rooted in emotional issues, like abandonment. There is a moment of reckoning in this book, quiet and yet all the more powerful for it. 

This is one of the things I love about Larkin’s writing. His books are powerful. Not just due to the powerful characters and their equally powerful stories, but because he infuses his books with a sense of atmosphere and emotional nuance which he positions at just the right moments to act like a punch right to my heart. He has this uncanny ability to make all of the moments in his books matter in just the right ways to make the biggest impact. It’s pure art.

The story of the gods in general is furthered here as well, as the strings of this story are woven in a way that shows how they coexist a bit more. How Hekate ends up with Zeus is answered here. The birth of her child, the intricate lines of family and connection which, at times, feel more like a graph on a paper rather than any intimate or familial bond on the character’s part. A lot of questions are answered, and a lot are left dangling with heady possibility. Yet there are doors left open for the rest of the series which promise unexpected developments. Plus, the very ending of the book… I mean, the last few pages… literally left me reeling. Here, Larkin opens the book up, not just to explore the story of Pandora, but to the wider world he’s created as well. This is where a few of his stories rub shoulders against each other, the world gets a little bigger, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

As with all of his books, Larkin’s writing is flawless. Poetic and lyrical, with a distinct style I will always recognize as his own. His prose is just about as noteworthy as the story (and the scope of it) he is telling. Never a word wasted, with atmosphere and emotion layered within each and every letter, I find myself completely absorbed in his books, halfway enjoying them for the stories being told, and halfway enjoying them because I just want to see how the author uses words. 

His world is sprawling. Fans of his books will know he is working with a scope and depth that very few other authors out there attempt. Each of his series twists mythology and history just so, and each of them weave together in surprising ways. I can’t imagine what his worldbuilding and outlining must look like. Just attempting to even think of the breadth, scope, and detail he includes in his books gives me a headache. And yet he manages it, and he does so flawlessly. 

The Valor of Perseus is an absolutely fantastic book, furthering the story of Pandora in surprising ways, while showing a bit more about how all of this connects together. Not just regarding his characters, but the larger world as well. You’ll find people and creatures from mythology in this book that you’ll recognize, and yet you won’t at the same time, because even with familiar elements, Larkin manages to surprise readers by doing unexpected, delightful things that keep you on your toes.

The Valor of Perseus is an amazing book, in one of my favorite series. I’ve got book three sitting on my laptop right now, and I can’t wait to start working on it. If you’re a fan of mythology, you really need to check out this series.

5/5 stars