Review: “Lovely War” Near Perfect

Greek mythology novel portrayed unique combination


Photo by Elle Polychronis

“Lovely War,” is written by Julie Berry. It tells the story of four characters, Hazel, James, Aubrey and Colette adjusting to their new life in the midst of World War I.

The fictional world of Greek mythology mixed with World War I stories made “Lovely War” difficult to put down.

“Lovely War,” written by Julie Berry, was my first World War and the first book I went into blind, and it’s near perfect. 

I was pleasantly surprised with how the charters developed throughout the story. Each of their perspectives told by Aphrodite, Ares, Hades, Apollo and a third person omniscient went outside the box for normal historical fiction reads. This book mixes mythical history and real history with fictional characters.

Each of the gods had a purpose in this story. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, portrayed the struggles and wonders of love, therefore, combating with Ares, the god of war, perfectly capturing the training, the blood and mindset of someone at war. Apollo, the god of music, played a perfect role when some of the characters played the piano and sang to convey their emotion through music. Hades, the god of death, represented the pain of loss as a result of war, disease or violence. Each of the gods captured the intense emotions of each subject to balance out “Lovely War.

The emotional parts hit me like a truck. I just wanted the best for these characters that have been through so much torment. The World War I setting loomed throughout the book, making the emotional beats stronger, all the charter’s stories that made my heartbreak.

The writing was so unique. Many authors of historical fiction are afraid to use foreign languages in a book, but Berry wasn’t. She uses French terms to capture the essence and language of Paris. The writing style is mature and there are parts of the book that makes you stop and think about what life is about.

There is one aspect of this book that makes it almost perfect, but not quite. In the book, there are multiple grammatical errors. A couple involve the incorrect tense of a word and a few punctuation issues. One example would be when the back end of a set of ending quotation marks was attached to the word “said” instead of the actual dialogue being said. These errors made me livid because I wanted to put this as a perfect five-star rating, but couldn’t.

Overall, “Lovely War” is a must-read. It shows the purpose for each and every one of its characters, the mythology aspect is something unique, the characters develop in masterful ways, the emotional beats are amazing and the writing is stellar even if it has a couple of mistakes.