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Elektra

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The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods. Clytemnestra The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon - her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. He The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods. Clytemnestra The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon - her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost. Cassandra Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall. Elektra The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?


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The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods. Clytemnestra The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon - her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. He The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods. Clytemnestra The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon - her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost. Cassandra Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall. Elektra The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

30 review for Elektra

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shima

    The day might come when I'm tired of feminist mythology retellings. But I wouldn't bet on it. The day might come when I'm tired of feminist mythology retellings. But I wouldn't bet on it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i think because there have been sooo many greek mythology retellings over the past couple of years, especially when it comes to the illiad, my enjoyment has become a little diminished due to how similar they are all. and, because of that, i think i now prefer reimaginings, rather than faithful retellings, which is what this book is. this novel tells the stories of three women who are impacted by the trojan war - clytemnestra, elektra, and cassandra (why this book is named after only elektra, i co i think because there have been sooo many greek mythology retellings over the past couple of years, especially when it comes to the illiad, my enjoyment has become a little diminished due to how similar they are all. and, because of that, i think i now prefer reimaginings, rather than faithful retellings, which is what this book is. this novel tells the stories of three women who are impacted by the trojan war - clytemnestra, elektra, and cassandra (why this book is named after only elektra, i couldnt tell you). and because i am already familiar with their stories, this didnt offer me anything new. its very true to the original tale and does a good job at giving a voice to these women. i just wish there had been a little more uniqueness to this book. i think readers who want to get an expanded view of the effects of the trojan war, specifically when it comes to the women, this is a good book to pick up. i can easily see this being a 5 star read for many readers who are new to the greek myths. ↠ 4 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sujoya

    4.5⭐️ For readers who are familiar with the Classics and/or enjoy the plethora of retellings revolving around the Trojan War, it should not surprise you that there is not much about the Trojan War itself in the retellings that will strike you as completely new. But the beauty of Jennifer Saint’s Elektra lies in how the author chooses to highlight the perspectives of the women from these stories as told from their different vantage points. In Elektra, the author focuses on the “tainted” bloodline 4.5⭐️ For readers who are familiar with the Classics and/or enjoy the plethora of retellings revolving around the Trojan War, it should not surprise you that there is not much about the Trojan War itself in the retellings that will strike you as completely new. But the beauty of Jennifer Saint’s Elektra lies in how the author chooses to highlight the perspectives of the women from these stories as told from their different vantage points. In Elektra, the author focuses on the “tainted” bloodline of the cursed House of Atreus and three women whose “fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods”. Our narrators are not on the battlefield and they don’t share the same loyalties or motivations - but Cassandra, Clytemnestra and Elektra are three women whose lives and destinies are irrevocably impacted by the events preceding, during and after the fall of Troy. Cassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy and Hecabe , blessed with prophetic vision that nobody believes, her warnings and pleas fall on deaf ears as Troy falls. “Every word I speak is unwelcome. My throat is raw from the words that are torn from me when I touch someone, when I look into their eyes and see the blinding white truth. My prophecies rip out my insides, but still they come, unbidden, even as I quake at the consequences.” Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae of the House of Atreus, mother of Iphigenia, Elektra and Orestes. Her rage resulting from Agamemnon’s sacrifice of her firstborn daughter Iphigenia in Aulis before the Trojan War wreaks havoc in Mycenae and the cursed House of Atreus “In the light of the rising sun, I prayed that my husband would survive this war and come home safe to me. I wanted no Trojan soldier to take what was mine; no glory-seeking warrior to seize his chance of fame by plunging his sword into Agamemnon’s heart Let him come back, I hissed into the empty sky. Let him come back so that I can see his eyes as the light drains from them. Let him come back and die at the hands of his bitterest enemy. Let him come back so that I can watch him suffer. And let me make it slow.” Elektra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, unflinching in her loyalty to her father chooses to justify his actions as the will of the Gods and will do anything to exact revenge on those who were responsible for her father’s demise. “ I have always wanted to grow up to be the woman he thought I would become, the woman I could have been, if only he had been able to stay. To live up to the name he gave me.” A major part of the narrative is shared between Elektra, Cassandra and Clytemnestra- each of whom gives us a brief picture of the significant events that impact their lives before, during and after the fall of Troy. Only after almost ¾ of the novel does Elektra’s voice become stronger in the narrative. There is a lot packed into the novel without it becoming too tedious. There is a certain amount of repetition but given that each of the narrators tells the story from different vantage points, nowhere did I lose interest. Cassandra’s narrative was heartbreaking as was Clytemnestra’s agony in witnessing Iphigenia’s death. The author is brilliant in her portrayal of the strong emotions and complexities in these women- Clytemnestra’s rage and agony, Cassandra’s innocence, despair and frustration and Elektra’s loyalty, anger and desire for revenge. The scenes between Cassandra and Clytemnestra were stunning in their emotional depth despite rarely anything being said between the two. The complicated mother-daughter relationship between Clytemnestra and Elektra, each obsessed with their respective quest for revenge, was brilliantly penned. Elektra does not come across as very likable but I think hers was probably the most complicated character to develop, a task that the author does expertly. Many of her actions and motivations might not feel justified but she is her father’s daughter and is unapologetic in her quest to avenge her father’s death and willing to sacrifice and bear the consequences of her actions. Author Jennifer Saint masterfully weaves the multiple PoVs together with elegant prose and superb characterizations in a well-paced and intense narrative. While I enjoyed Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne, which I thought was an impressive debut, I found Elektra to be a more powerful and absorbing novel. I would not hesitate to recommend this to those with a fondness for feminist retellings of stories from the Greek myths. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and eagerly look forward to more from this author in the future.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First, the positives: Saint's interpretation of Clytemnestra is, by far, the best modern interpreration to date (imo). She was a character I've never really cared much about before, but after reading this, she's become one of my favorite Greek myth characters of all time. I *will* give Saint credit for the depth, nuance, and care she gave Clytemnestra. Her drowning, never-ending grief was portrayed so well, her fierce love for her children felt so tangible that it felt like *I* lost people belov First, the positives: Saint's interpretation of Clytemnestra is, by far, the best modern interpreration to date (imo). She was a character I've never really cared much about before, but after reading this, she's become one of my favorite Greek myth characters of all time. I *will* give Saint credit for the depth, nuance, and care she gave Clytemnestra. Her drowning, never-ending grief was portrayed so well, her fierce love for her children felt so tangible that it felt like *I* lost people beloved to me as well. Her character FINALLY given justice after all these centuries. And the sisterly bond between her and Helen was just ... *chefs kiss*. Also, Iphigenia's death scene was so gruesome and so well-done and Clytemnestra's raw pain after was quiet painful to read that I actually skimmed some because I couldn't handle the gore and grief anymore. Negative stuff: this book is still no better than Ariadne, but it at least got a little bit interesting after Agammemnon's death. I feel like Saint's retellings just follow the original texts too closely, but that's on me, not her. With the stories of the characters she's chosen so well-defined and told already, she has very little leg room for her own added flair or take on them. Helen was painted in a light not so different from others': pretty, perfect, cunning Helen who could do no wrong. And I hate to compare her to Madeline Miller, because other reviewers must've done this countless times, but Miller's prose just shines through with her work, which is why there are just SO MANY memorable quotes from TSOA & Circe. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for Saint. Her chapters, while the events themselves are highly compelling, the way she tells them is just dull. Simply dull. Yeah, someone's being murdered, mutilated, etc., but the way Saint describes it feels the same way as she might a grocery list. A few description of the weather, the palace pillars, palace floors, maybe people around them, and tada, scene's done. On to the next. And the next. Next. And the nex— [GUNSHOTS] Elektra, while very much strong-willed and stubborn, gets exhausting after a while. I know Saint's just following the original text, but my GOD does Elektra get exhausting after a while. And she got sooo unbearably selfish near the end. I could understand her anger at her mother, but the way she was ready to sacrifice her brother to those horrible creatures, leave her best friend/husband who's been NOTHING but supportive and kind and patient with her, not sympathize with the other thousands of people who also had someone dear to them killed because of the war and NOT TO MENTION HER SISTER IPHIGENIA WHO WAS MURDERED all for a man who BARELY gave her any attention in the first place, the only meaningful interaction with the 2 of them is him giving her an ugly-ass dagger and ... petting of a dog? The whole thing where she TRIED TO REASON HER FATHER'S TAKING AND *RAPING* OF BRISEIS JUST LEFT ME SHOCKED. Seriously bitch? This dried little walnut cares as much about other women as she might a pebble stuck in her shoe. Elektra never truly cared about anyone apart from herself. Not even her husband, and you can't tell me otherwise. She thinks the whole world revolves around her and HER pain and noooooooo one will ever relate to poor, poor, Elektra. This is literally her every time she speaks: "Oh, woe is me! Woe is MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Jesus. Get your shit together girl. Elektra seeked her father's approval so much and got SOOO blinded by the legacy of tHe miGhTy hOuSe oF aTrEuS and revenge that she willingly overlooked the fact that her father was a cruel, terrible, spiteful, petty and weak man, the cold-blooded murder of her sister, friendship of another sister, undeniable pain and grief of her poor mother, and the grim future she set for her brother; the rose-colored glasses of childhood nostalgia for pathetic little interactions she had with her father that MEANT NOTHING TO HIM blinded her ass so much to the truth that it's honestly so fucking frustrating. And that ending's supposed to be happy? Or hopeful? Fuck outta here. This book did the opposite for Elektra with it did with Clytemnestra for me. I've never really cared much about Elektra's character before, but after this, hope I NEVER read ANYTHING about this whining, revengeful little assbag ever again. Cassandra, though. I would absolutely DIE for her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Nelson

    5 stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! For many, it was Percy Jackson. For me, it was Elektra that made me fall in love with Greek mythology. I'm a little late to the obsessing-over-Greek-myths club, but better late than never! Following the story of three different but interconnected women, Elektra takes an insightful look at the complex, rich, albeit sometimes tragic relationships between mother and daughter, as well as the devasta 5 stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! For many, it was Percy Jackson. For me, it was Elektra that made me fall in love with Greek mythology. I'm a little late to the obsessing-over-Greek-myths club, but better late than never! Following the story of three different but interconnected women, Elektra takes an insightful look at the complex, rich, albeit sometimes tragic relationships between mother and daughter, as well as the devastation of war on both sides of the battle. While I didn't know much of the stories of Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra before reading, I was able to catch on easily to their roles. Each character was written with the utmost care, particularly the three main woman, in such a way that I was able to discern one's emotions and actions from one another early on in the story. This is something I find particularly important in books including multiple viewpoints; I could tell one woman from another, and I wanted to hear every perspective in turn. None of the women's stories were a disappointment, and therefore, none of the chapters became boring. Admittedly, I didn't particularly like Elektra, as a person, but her story was just as interesting to me as the others'. Next comes the writing: beautiful and poetic, yet not forced. The creative language used in Elektra only made the story richer, and didn't feel like a tool to fluff up an otherwise disappointing author's writing. I was also impressed that Saint was able to include such a long span of time in just one book, and then make it flow naturally. But that's just what she did. I don't say it often, but this is an easy five-star book for me. Jennifer Saint is truly a talented writer, and I will definitely be picking up more of her stories in the future. My Blog | My Books | Podcast | Instagram | TikTok

  6. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    I have long been a fan of Greek mythology, and when I see a new retelling, I instantly gravitate towards it. I really enjoyed Jennifer Saint's previous book, Ariade, and was excited to get a chance to read Elektra! As it happened, I read this shortly after reading Clare Heywood's excellent Daughters of Sparta, which tells much the same story, albeit in a different manner. I don't want to dwell on comparing the two, though I did feel Daughters of Sparta was, perhaps, done with a greater commitmen I have long been a fan of Greek mythology, and when I see a new retelling, I instantly gravitate towards it. I really enjoyed Jennifer Saint's previous book, Ariade, and was excited to get a chance to read Elektra! As it happened, I read this shortly after reading Clare Heywood's excellent Daughters of Sparta, which tells much the same story, albeit in a different manner. I don't want to dwell on comparing the two, though I did feel Daughters of Sparta was, perhaps, done with a greater commitment to historical detail. For example, in the way the women behaved, their curbed freedoms, even the way the names were spelled, which was somewhat inconsistent in Elektra, where the author chose only to spell er name with the "K" as would have been correct, but Clytemnestra and Cassandra with "Cs", though, as far as I know, there is not letter "c" in Greek. Nitpicky, I know, just something I noticed, yet which, of course, did not take away from the overall telling of the tale. Besides, I am no scholar, so likely there is a reason for this discrepancy, which I simply do not know. The story itself was familiar to me, and yet I felt engaged from start to finish. I have always seen Clytemnestra as a victim, Agamemnon as a monster, and so this version of the story appealed to me. I don't want to give anything away fro the readers who are unfamiliar with the story, but I felt for all the characters, so many women who were used as pawns in the games of men and gods and suffered for it. The writing flowed well, and there was no choppiness when Saint switched from one POV to another, though the most compelling chapters for me were the ones told by Clytemnestra. If you are a fan of mythology or retellings, this may very well be for you. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what Jennifer Saint comes up with next! Thanks to Flatiron Books for a copy of Elektra by Jennifer Saint in exchange for an honest review. Find my book reviews and more at https://maliayz.wixsite.com/princessa...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4***** I mean I’m putting a spoiler up but does it count as a spoiler when these poems and plays have been around for over 2000 years?? The house of Atreus is cursed- through generations of murder, usurping’s of the throne of Mycenae, and cannabalism. We are introduced to this house of Atreus in the generation of Menelaus and Agamemnon. First through Agamemnon’s marriage to Clytemnestra; then his daughter Elektra; and then his slave and captive, Cassandra. This book starts us off with before the Tr 4***** I mean I’m putting a spoiler up but does it count as a spoiler when these poems and plays have been around for over 2000 years?? The house of Atreus is cursed- through generations of murder, usurping’s of the throne of Mycenae, and cannabalism. We are introduced to this house of Atreus in the generation of Menelaus and Agamemnon. First through Agamemnon’s marriage to Clytemnestra; then his daughter Elektra; and then his slave and captive, Cassandra. This book starts us off with before the Trojan war; Helen is in Sparta looking for a suitor and men from all over Greece have heard of her beauty and want her for a wife… apart from Agamemnon who meets Clytemnestra (and Odysseus, who finds interest in Penelope, Helens cousin). We witness Clytemnestra’s journey to Mycenae, the birth of their children… and of course the start of the Trojan war, as well as many more events that take place. Despite the title being “Elektra” this actually has 3 perspectives: Elektra, Clytemnestra and Cassandra. We see Elektra as a young girl with her love for Agamemnon as a father, (which in parts reminded me so much of the Oedipus complex by Freud- which was rather disturbing to read) and her hell bent on revenge for the murder of him by her mother. We see Clytemnestra as she spends 10 years of the Trojan war planning her murder of Agamemnon, especially after he murdered their first daughter, Iphigenia. And lastly, we see things from Cassandra’s POV; a Trojan princess with the gift of prophecy.. but the curse of no one believing in her. Jennifer Saint has jam-packed this full of myth and plays in only under 400 pages. You can see how the author has done her research: retelling the Orestia by Aeschylus; covering Troy and parts of the Odyssey from Homer; the plays “Helen”, “Iphigenia in Aulis”, “Helen”, “Elektra” and the “Trojan Women” by Euripides; and “Elektra” by Sophocles. She has done this all so smoothly through the voices of our three main characters. Now onto the characters: I found Elektra really hard to sympathise with at times- she is a selfish character and her empathy for others is hardly there. She chooses not to see things from Clytemnestra’s POV where her father, Agamemnon (Clytemnestra’s husband) purposely murders and sacrifices Iphigenia for a wind to take the army to Troy. Instead as Elektra takes the view of the sacrifice being god ordained- she cannot understand why Clytemnestra is grieving and hating her father. She then spends her time on out thinking about revenge. She also doesn’t seem to care about others around her- especially how she treats her friend Georgios and has a weird Oedipus complex about Agamemnon. Clytemnestra I loved to read about!! I found her to be super fascinating. Jennifer Saint also wrote the death of Iphigenia with so much sadness from the point of view of Clytemnestra, that you are grieving with her (this is the scene that made me cry). She then spends the next 10 years planning to murder her husband when he comes home from Mycenae and see her trying to hold power in court. But we also get to see her as a mother before Troy and after, providing Cassandra with death to escape her torment (this scene was wrote really beautifully too despite it being about death). Cassandra was one of my favourites to read about. We read her terrible curse from Apollo as she refuses him to rape her (literally whenever Apollo appears on the scene in any myth you know someone will be sexually assaulted). How she’s tormented by visions and people choosing not to believe her- how she’s an outcast. Her inability be believed and stop Troy from destruction. Reading about Cassandra was probably my favourite. There was much of this that I loved- Jennifer Saint has wrote another fantastic retelling and I enjoyed how certain aspects she’s twisted to suit her own narrative. I especially love her inclusion of the Erinyes as they are my favourite! The only issue I have is that there have been many of retellings featuring Troy and Clytemnestra/Helen recently and so nothing particularly new came to light of me. Thank you to NetGalley for the Arc!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Where to begin with this book? I guess with a disclaimer: I'm usually VERY careful and suspicious about retellings and "feminist takes". The reason is that what is called feminism nowadays, to me, is revenge porn. Every man's an enemy. URGH. Nevertheless, I wanted to read this if only for my love of mythology and I am glad that I did despite this not being as good as the author's previous book. For those who don't know: Elektra is the youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agememnon. Yep, the Agamem Where to begin with this book? I guess with a disclaimer: I'm usually VERY careful and suspicious about retellings and "feminist takes". The reason is that what is called feminism nowadays, to me, is revenge porn. Every man's an enemy. URGH. Nevertheless, I wanted to read this if only for my love of mythology and I am glad that I did despite this not being as good as the author's previous book. For those who don't know: Elektra is the youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agememnon. Yep, the Agamemnon who led the war against Troy after his younger brother's wife had been "kidnapped" (we don't really know if Helen went there voluntarily or not) by Paris. If he did it to indeed help his brother or because Troy was so rich and he wanted the spoils as well as the fame, we'll also never know for sure. The fact remains, however, that all the able-bodied men of Greece went to fight the Trojans. The rest, as they say, is history (or mythology in this case). But this book is about three women - Elektra, Clytemnestra and Cassandra. The latter was surprising to me since she wasn't related and thus didn't really fit despite what happened to her after the fall of Troy. I guess she was included because it gave the author the opportunity to show a Trojan POV. To me, it didn't work as it didn't smoothly tie back in with the other two women. We learn of Helen's marriage to Menelaus and why she chose him; of Clytemnestra's marriage to Agamemnon and her giving birth to all their children; of Elektra's childhood; of Cassandra's curse and why she received it from the god Apollo. Then, there is the war and the return of Agamemnon and ... more. Sadly, this book was … kinda disappointing. I don't want to say boring because I love the story of Troy and all these people involved in it, but here we are. Why? Because the author didn't just use women's perspectives but the POVs of women LEFT BEHIND. All we get to know is hearsay, rumor and reports. The women learn of events but never partake (except for Cassandra's POV). Add to that the fact that any book with this title should be done with the war sooner and focus more on the psychology of the women and the lead-up to what Clytemnestra does, how it all ties back into the family curse this book is supposedly about. The way it was done here it kinda fell flat, sadly, and was too drawn out at the same time. A pity, really. And once we get to the "action", it's over in two sentences and then the book keeps droning on and on and on for far too long yet again. Worst of it, I came to loathe Elektra. Especially considering that this was a (feminist) retelling, it was aggravating to read that the girl first didn't acknowledge that her mother was using a man / boy to get revenge for Agamemnon's crime (as if only men could do that), while making excuses for her father despite him having killed her older sister, only to then turn on her mother for not seeing that everyone must be doing everything to please the gods (effectively not caring about her supposedly beloved sister) and plotting to murder Clytemnestra to avenge Agamemnon. *bangs head against the wall* Not to mention how she thinks Cassandra should feel so glad (!) to have been kidnapped by Agamemnon because the place she lives in now is so pretty and a palace like the one Cassandra grew up in and how being raped by a king (especially one like her fantastic father) is such an honor. *tears out own hair* No, the book wasn't written badly. The writing was solid. Until it resembled more of a rambling. The author certainly CAN write. It was also not the lack of "magic" (the only supernatural thing was Apollo spitting into Cassandra's mouth). Maybe this was originally a short(er) story but the publisher wanted a higher page count from the author after her previous success. I don’t know. All I know is that I just couldn't love this as much as I had hoped. In fact, I might have been generous with my rating. P.S.: I laughed at Cassandra musing about how the war "ended" not with a bang but with a wimper against all expectations because isn't this often the way (with the book itself, too, ironically)?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    If it's about Greek mythology, I automatically add it to my to-read list The fact that it's about the House of Atreus particularly has me shaking my computer hard, like I can make the book fall out through time and space and right into my lap If it's about Greek mythology, I automatically add it to my to-read list The fact that it's about the House of Atreus particularly has me shaking my computer hard, like I can make the book fall out through time and space and right into my lap

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    "I wonder how we can hold up the weight of our destiny on just our shoulders." °•*⁀➷ This was quite the re-telling. Told from three very different women's point of view. A Mother, and two daughters. Two princesses and a Queen. Defined by their titles, looked down upon for their gender. It was powerful, unkind and rich in myth. Just like any re-telling should be. I loved it. More, I was moved with it. Clytemnestra grew up in Helen of Troy's shadow. She was a second choice (even when she wasn't). Yet "I wonder how we can hold up the weight of our destiny on just our shoulders." °•*⁀➷ This was quite the re-telling. Told from three very different women's point of view. A Mother, and two daughters. Two princesses and a Queen. Defined by their titles, looked down upon for their gender. It was powerful, unkind and rich in myth. Just like any re-telling should be. I loved it. More, I was moved with it. Clytemnestra grew up in Helen of Troy's shadow. She was a second choice (even when she wasn't). Yet she ended up married to a "great" hero all the same, Agamemnon. Clouded by grief over his choices, her life becomes tainted with ending his. A mother's grief. Cassandra, the Princess of Troy, named the mad daughter. She says no to a God and is cursed with the sight while no one will believe a word she says. Plagued by knowledge, and unbelieved, she does essentially go mad. But only in the way someone not believed can. All because she said no. A woman's grief. Elekra, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon's daughter, blinded by love. She can't understand that the God's are cruel, that maybe her father was wrong for all he did, and clouded by grief over his loss, her life becomes tainted with ending her mother's. A daughter's grief. Though grief is universal, how we feel and react to it is not. I loved (while I hated) every second of walking through their grief and seeing all the different ways one deals with it. I hope Jennifer Saint never stops writing about greek mythology. I'll read absolutely anything she writes. I also wanted to say that I think it's absolutely beautifully that in every re-telling I read, there's always a mention of how drowned Achilles is in his grief after Patroclus left the land of the living. A specific quote, "He would not burn his beloved's body until he had sated his vengeance" gave me the chills. I love that it's a universal thought that they were in love, that... they are half each other's soul, as the poet's say (The Song of Achilles). - Paige

  11. 5 out of 5

    Éimhear (A Little Haze)

    One of the hallmarks of a great book is that you can’t bear to put it down. Conversely finding any excuse to be distracted and leave it for days on end can’t be a good thing. Sadly, it was very much the latter for me with Elektra. I was so incredibly bored by it all… which is a similar issue I had with the author’s first book Ariadne however I did enjoy that more than this. So I was quite willing to read Elektra to see if this would be a new five star favourite for me as I absolutely adore all t One of the hallmarks of a great book is that you can’t bear to put it down. Conversely finding any excuse to be distracted and leave it for days on end can’t be a good thing. Sadly, it was very much the latter for me with Elektra. I was so incredibly bored by it all… which is a similar issue I had with the author’s first book Ariadne however I did enjoy that more than this. So I was quite willing to read Elektra to see if this would be a new five star favourite for me as I absolutely adore all things Greek mythology but this book, this story? It felt overdone. There was nothing new added to the retelling of these characters’ lives I felt. There are only so many times one can read the same old depictions of Troy unless there’s a fresh new angle to explore. Same goes for the Oresteia cycle. The novel gives us the story from the point of view of three separate characters: Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra. Which to me was a bit disconcerting considering the title of the book is ‘Elektra’. I would have preferred a more all encompassing title rather than fixating on one of the leads. Elektra honestly baffles me as a character in this retelling. She feels more like a caricature rather than a living, breathing soul with personality and emotion. Her purpose in the novel feels more akin to a convenient plot device ie to have an opposing view to that of Clytemnestra instead of a person who genuinely feels the way she feels, and believes all the things she does. At times she’s like a petulant child throwing her toys out of the pram, or possibly a pantomime villain. There was a point in the story where she was defending the right of her father Agamemnon to claim Briseis as a spoil of war and I’m there sitting like really? She devalues other women that much? I know I’m reading from the biased viewpoint of modern times where hopefully women are thought of as more than commodities (although there’s a strong case to be argued that things are still as archaically patriarchal) but reading these viewpoints seemed illogical because her storyline and character motivations were woefully underdeveloped. Therefore it just makes for a whole lot of frustrating reading. Cassandra as a character just feels entirely superfluous to events. Her point of view is only ever used as pure exposition rather than giving us a character that truly comes alive on the page. Clytemnestra’s chapters made her my my favourite of the three featured main characters. At least we were given some meatiness to her story and to the complexities of emotions she felt regarding all of her children. But even an engaging depiction of Clytemnestra wasn’t enough to save this book for me. It felt tedious to read and ultimately this was a disappointing read for me as it never made me feel all the emotions I was hoping for. *An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review* Publication Date: 28th April 2022 Publisher: Headline For in depth book reviews check out my blog

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christi M

    The House of Atreus carried a curse. A particularly gruesome one, even by the standards of divine torment. Three women. Three different stories. In Elektra, the author weaves the stories of Clytemnestra, Cassandra, and Elektra together, allowing us to witness events during the Trojan War from their perspective. Life is rarely kind to the women in Greek tragedies as they live in fear of either the whims of the gods or of men. When I read Ariadne, the previous book by the author, I would grow fr The House of Atreus carried a curse. A particularly gruesome one, even by the standards of divine torment. Three women. Three different stories. In Elektra, the author weaves the stories of Clytemnestra, Cassandra, and Elektra together, allowing us to witness events during the Trojan War from their perspective. Life is rarely kind to the women in Greek tragedies as they live in fear of either the whims of the gods or of men. When I read Ariadne, the previous book by the author, I would grow frustrated with the main character for not taking more control over her own life. Looking back, I was probably harsher on her than I should have been. But I cannot say the same for the women in Elektra. Unlike Ariadne who I wished took more control, the women in Elektra took decisive actions that forever changed the course of their story. But as much as I appreciate how they took more initiative, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ignore how some of those choices are just simply flawed and come with terrible consequences. "Every word I speak is unwelcome." – CASSANDRA In thinking about the three women, I hate to lump Cassandra together with Clytemnestra and Elektra. Cassandra is much more sympathetic and I found myself growing frustrated on her behalf. Seeing the future, but never believed. And if someone did believe her, the future remain unchanged due to that individuals own obstinance. My only concern regarding her story is that I couldn’t make sense of why everyone thought she was mad or disturbed. Or perhaps it is more appropriate to say I never could figure out why she couldn’t provide a reasonable voice to what she was seeing. You don’t have to know everything that will occur in the future in order to say “This small thing is what I saw.” But for Clytemnestra and Elektra… Where does one even start. The author does an excellent job of showing all the steps that led to the path this mother and daughter took and to the consequences that you know are inevitable. But still…Elektra. Her singular focus on a father she barely knew. Her fixation and devotion to the idea of a man that clearly did not exist, I could never understand. But what struck me at times was how little regard she had for women experiencing cruelty at the hands of the gods and men. Her lack of empathy and sympathy shows how small her emotional range is and I can’t help but wonder if she is a caricature of herself and not fleshed out or if it is the best way to explain what is potentially a mental disorder. It is clear that Clytemnestra ignored her, which added to Elektra’s problems, but I find that Elektra should have been able to reach some reasonable conclusions to past events that she willfully chose to ignore. The book evokes so many thoughts and emotions that I never could pin one thought down in regards to the characters. I would feel so incredibly sad for Clytemnestra and then several pages later so frustrated with her. The women are complex and it shows by their decisions and with the rationale and motives behind those decisions. In the end, the stories of each of the women and the build up of all the pieces kept me thoroughly engaged. Often I found myself reading longer than I had originally planned. Thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I was looking forward to this because I've read the Sophocles and am familiar with the whole Freudian aspect from within Psychology and frankly, it was just nicely MESSED up as a tragedy. So why didn't I fall in love with this particular book? It was competent enough, and as I was reading it, at least through the halfway point, I kept thinking it was OKAY, assiduously so, but something was bothering me. The women who are left behind are literally left behind the biggest, most exciting battle of Gr I was looking forward to this because I've read the Sophocles and am familiar with the whole Freudian aspect from within Psychology and frankly, it was just nicely MESSED up as a tragedy. So why didn't I fall in love with this particular book? It was competent enough, and as I was reading it, at least through the halfway point, I kept thinking it was OKAY, assiduously so, but something was bothering me. The women who are left behind are literally left behind the biggest, most exciting battle of Greek antiquity. Troy. For over a decade. All the action takes place elsewhere, and all we have to go on here is a tragedy before papa goes off to lead the army of the Greeks, the tragedy caused by the same jerk, and we're pretty much stuck in the heads of those who were left behind. Mind you, this is a messed up tragedy that even gets the furies involved, but most of that is AFTER the war is won. In this, it's mostly a whimper and daddy worship and mommy hating her husband and taking a lover and then going "Oh, My" when crap hits the fan. And then we have some of the OTHER more memorable female characters from across Greece, on the other side of the war, to give a counterpoint, but it's weird and hardly necessary at all except to bring in the action that has been so missing from the primary tale. So here I am, wondering what the hell is the point. Except for a sequence that could have been finished in a hundred pages, all the exciting stuff is off-page and I frankly kinda hated every single character in the book. It's kinda sad, but it's true. Pity can only take me so far. A good tragedy should also make us CARE about the victims. The original play was better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily Davies (libraryofcalliope)

    Firstly, I absolutely adored this book, even more than Ariadne, but then I’m not surprised as in this novel Saint tackles some of my favourite mythological women and one of my favourite cycles. In this book, Jennifer Saint retells the story of Clytemnestra, Elektra and Cassandra. Initially, I was surprised to see Cassandra’s POV as otherwise the POV is exclusively from the perspective of a mother and daughter but quickly it became clear not only why Cassandra was included but also why her involv Firstly, I absolutely adored this book, even more than Ariadne, but then I’m not surprised as in this novel Saint tackles some of my favourite mythological women and one of my favourite cycles. In this book, Jennifer Saint retells the story of Clytemnestra, Elektra and Cassandra. Initially, I was surprised to see Cassandra’s POV as otherwise the POV is exclusively from the perspective of a mother and daughter but quickly it became clear not only why Cassandra was included but also why her involvement was sorely needed. Clytemnestra is best known as the murderer of her husband, the leader of the Greeks, Agamemnon, as depicted in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon, which is admittedly where I first encountered and fell in love with her. Elektra is her daughter by Agamemnon who, along with her brother Orestes, works to avenge their father by killing their mother. Cassandra is the infamous princess of Troy who was given a cursed gift from Apollo wherein no one believes her prophecies, so where does she fit into this family drama? Well after the battle of Troy, Agamemnon claims her as his ‘prize’ and bring her home to Mycenae. The story has been tackled by many tragedians such as Aeschylus and Euripides and I was so delighted with Saint’s handlings of the complex themes of the story. She didn’t hide away from the more graphic or morally difficult parts of the stories and instead contextualises them and creates what is overall, a beautifully told, gripping and devastating novel, perfect for both readers familiar with the story and those who are not. Each of the three POC characters are deliciously complex, and the relationship between Elektra and Clytemnestra is brilliant. How does one get to the point where the murder of your own mother seems not only reasonable but morally necessary? Why would Elektra take her father’s ‘side’ after what he did to her sister? Why did Clytemnestra ‘let’ it all happen? The answers to these questions have no easy answer and are explored in all their grounded and tragic glory, adding human emotion and compassion to these women’s stories. While naturally, the women are not on the same side, never in the story is one the ‘bad guy’, each of them knows why they do what they do and narratively it makes sense. Inter-character relationships are at the heart of this story regardless of whether the characters are geographically together and Saint depicts them as difficult, conflicting, illogical, inspiring, desperate and rejuvenating all at once, whether it is the relationship between Clytemnestra and Elektra, Elektra and Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and her sister Helen (a character who is dealt with superbly), Cassandra and Helen or even Clytemnestra and Cassandra. The depiction of the impact of the war was also sensitively told, highlighting both the emotional toil along with the impact of ‘glorious’ propaganda in a way that comments not only on Troy but resonates with a modern audience. Choosing to include Cassandra meant that although the book isn’t centred on depicting the Trojan war like novels such as The Silence of the Girls, she was still able to give it time to impactfully create a context and background for the psyche of her characters, adding to the nuance of their choices. I have to give a special mention to one chapter. The chapter depicting Iphigenia’s wedding was a masterpiece. Honestly, it would work as a short story in itself. Saint creates a sense of complete and utter dread that builds and builds until the truth is revealed. I knew what was going to happen but my heart was in my mouth regardless. The writing was beautiful and sensitive and just an absolute masterpiece of retelling classic stories. I would recommend this novel just for that chapter alone. This novel surpassed all of my expectations and has easily become one of my absolute favourites I have read this year. Jennifer Saint has become one of my favourite writers and I cannot wait to see what she does next with her book on Atalanta.

  15. 4 out of 5

    bookishcharli

    This is without a doubt my favourite book that Saint has released, I never knew just how desperate I was for the voices of Elektra, Cassandra and Clytemnestra until I started to read this wonderful novel. If you’re familiar with mythology you’ll know Cassandra as a princess of Troy who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but like an awful human, she dipped out on him after promising him she would be his lover if he gave her this gift so he then cursed her so that although she does have the This is without a doubt my favourite book that Saint has released, I never knew just how desperate I was for the voices of Elektra, Cassandra and Clytemnestra until I started to read this wonderful novel. If you’re familiar with mythology you’ll know Cassandra as a princess of Troy who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but like an awful human, she dipped out on him after promising him she would be his lover if he gave her this gift so he then cursed her so that although she does have the gift of prophecy, she will never be believed. After the battle of Troy, Agamemnon (who let’s face it, we all dislike very much) claims her as his war prize and takes her back to Mycenae like the absolute dick he is. The namesake of this book, Elektra, is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra who kills her mother for murdering her father, she is of course helped by her brother. This wonderful book is told from the POVs of all three women and each chapter is clearly labelled so you know who’s POV you’re reading at any time. Saint really puts her own style and voice to these myths in a way that very few have successfully accomplished, and you really are able to fully comprehend all that has happened to the ladies, and just what mindset and reasoning you would have to kill your own mother and whether or not it was morally right to do so. Because let’s face it, the Gods did not approve of family murders. I loved reading through Cassandra’s chapters as I do have a slight bias towards her (hi, hello, I’m an Apollo lover) but I think some of my favourite parts to read were Clytemnestra’s interactions with her sister Helen, yes that Helen. Saint really knows how to create a wonderful story that really puts you into the pages of the book, I got so lost in it I could barely put it down once I had started. I’m so very excited for Atalanta, mostly because my girl needs a lot more stories than what she has. Thank you Netgalley and Headline for sending me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    At the end of my review, you can find a list of books that you can read rather than Elektra. Certainly the worst greek myth retelling I have ever read - I am now convinced of not trying another one in the near future. Ariadne, with its flaws, was a good retelling but I cannot save anything from Elektra. The writing was worse than in Saint's debut novel; the story is full of inaccuracies (you can check my reading updates to read some of them); lots of modern sensibilities are thrown on the pages r At the end of my review, you can find a list of books that you can read rather than Elektra. Certainly the worst greek myth retelling I have ever read - I am now convinced of not trying another one in the near future. Ariadne, with its flaws, was a good retelling but I cannot save anything from Elektra. The writing was worse than in Saint's debut novel; the story is full of inaccuracies (you can check my reading updates to read some of them); lots of modern sensibilities are thrown on the pages rather than trying to understand how a woman or simply a human being would think and act in Ancient Greece; a deceptive plot. Deceptive because Elektra should have been about the Oresteia and instead spends the majority of its time summarizing the Trojan War (again??? These authors are really obsessed with Madeline Miller). Agamemnon is killed in the matter of two pages and Orestes' return and revenge is solved in not even ten pages, and they were the last ones. The characters themselves were unrecognizable: Cassandra is quiet and meek, the total opposite of how she's usually portrayed (why do these authors turn formidable female characters into quiet maidens rather than let them be fierce?); Clytemnestra is overly dependant by men and you cannot really feel the strength of her grief and of her fury; Elektra (which is spelled correctly, but then the other two should have been named Kassandra and Klytemnestra, for logical reasons) has ZERO depth. A total disappointment and the worst retelling I have read so far, in my life. A list of books I have studied that you can read if you are interested in this topic: The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides by Aeschylus Electra by Sophocles Electra by Euripides Iphigeneia at Aulis by Euripides Iphigeneia in Tauris by Euripides Cassandra by Christa Wolf Elettra: multiple versions of the myth (only in Italian) The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer (for general knowledge)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Since reading Ariadne, I’ve been very excited for this book, especially because this one has some familiar storylines. I’ve actually been in a reading slump for a while, but reading something which I liked felt very nice. I really liked the author’s writing even more in this book - it’s very poetic and beautiful without being full on purple prose and that’s the exact kind of writing I enjoy. The author covers a very long timeline with many necessary time skips but I have to appreciate how seamle Since reading Ariadne, I’ve been very excited for this book, especially because this one has some familiar storylines. I’ve actually been in a reading slump for a while, but reading something which I liked felt very nice. I really liked the author’s writing even more in this book - it’s very poetic and beautiful without being full on purple prose and that’s the exact kind of writing I enjoy. The author covers a very long timeline with many necessary time skips but I have to appreciate how seamless she makes the transitions, not just in timelines but also the different POVs. And as with what comes in retelling Greek mythology stories from the women characters’ perspective, there’s a lot here which makes us feel indignant and furious, but also sympathetic at times and I marvel at how masterfully the author created this variety of experiences for us through her words. But the pacing might feel a bit slow for some readers, however, it wasn’t much of an issue for me. While the book may be titled Elektra, we get her story as well as those of her mother Clytemnestra and Priam’s daughter Cassandra. I think my most disappointment with this book was that I did not like the character of Elektra at all. Not to say she isn’t written well. She is portrayed in a way that evokes strong emotion in us and I like that. But it’s not easy to read a whole POV when you dislike that character. Elektra is a person who has this image in her head of her father and will do absolutely anything to keep up that image, including justifying his cruelty and brutality. I could see why she became that way though - her sister’s sacrifice doesn’t register much with her because she was too young at the time and it’s easier for her to reconcile with the strong and loving father image than one who kills his daughter for the purpose of a war. Her mother’s neglect compounds this feeling in her and then her life becomes all about waiting for her beloved father and later, getting the revenge for his murder. I don’t know if it was just her naïveté or if she was truly her father’s daughter, believing in his supremacy over anything else and justifying any cruelty to maintain it. It was hard to sympathize with her even when she was mostly deprived of both her parents’ love and affection for such a long part of her life. Clytemnestra on the other hand, is like a foil to Elektra. She is also driven by grief and revenge to such an extent that she forgets that she has other living children. Her life becomes a tomb to her dead daughter and she doesn’t think beyond killing Agamemnon. We feel both pity towards her for her plight but also sad that she is basically stuck at that single awful day. It is also hard not to sympathize and agree with her when she feels grief not just for her dead daughter, but for all the women of Troy who are brutalized by her husband and his men during and after the war. Her story proves though that revenge doesn’t really bring peace but I could still appreciate the way her character arc resolves. Cassandra is a less significant character than the other two because she is not much in a position to do anything, and her POV is mostly to just give us a way to know what’s happening in Troy. And she is probably the one character on whose behalf I felt most indignation because she is cursed just for not giving consent and her life since then is very difficult. I truly can’t imagine how it must feel to know the destruction the future holds but no one is ready to believe you. I knew she would ultimately not have a good outcome and while she finally got something on her own terms, I wish she had got some kind of acknowledgment from atleast one person in her family that she was right all along. It just made me feel very sad for her. We don’t really get much detailed portraits of any other characters. But it’s hard not to notice how King Priam and his family know that things are gonna take a bad turn, but never do anything about it and just remain willfully ignorant so that they can have a semblance of happiness with their newly reunited son Paris. Agamemnon is not necessarily a bad person initially but his nature is not much suited for peacetime and has a need to assert that he is the ruler above everybody. Aegisthus is definitely a slimy one who takes advantage of a mother’s grief and becomes a ruler without doing much himself. Orestes is the unlucky one in the sense that he is deprived of his mother’s affection due to her grief but is instead fed the greatness of Agamemnon by his sister, leaving him not much choice but to avenge a father he has never met. But his character arc was another one which I thought had a satisfactory resolution. In conclusion, this was a very interesting look at what was happening in the background of the Trojan War through the perspective of three women who couldn’t do much about it except wait for it’s conclusion. I definitely recommend if you are looking for some lovely writing but with a languid pace which allows you to simmer in the emotions that the prose and characters evoke. I can’t wait to see what the author writes next.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Ariadne by this author has been on my list for awhile so I was excited to check out this new work by her. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about it despite several days of ruminating. Elektra follows three stories around the events of the Trojan War. Cassandra, a Trojan princess gifted with visions of the future but cursed to have no one believe her, Clytemnestra, the sister of Helen and wife of the Greek leader Agammenon, and Elektra, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agammenon. If you don’t Ariadne by this author has been on my list for awhile so I was excited to check out this new work by her. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about it despite several days of ruminating. Elektra follows three stories around the events of the Trojan War. Cassandra, a Trojan princess gifted with visions of the future but cursed to have no one believe her, Clytemnestra, the sister of Helen and wife of the Greek leader Agammenon, and Elektra, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agammenon. If you don’t know Greek mythology or what an Elektra complex is then I don’t know if you will like this better or worse than I did. I came in only knowing the bare bones about these characters and how it plays out. I did really like Cassandra and Clytemnestra’s stories. I thought both of these characters had depth and were easy to understand and their stories made stronger tragedies because of it. My big problem comes from our main(?) character: Elektra. I never felt like she was a fully realized character. Everything about her only stems from her relationship with her father. Her motivations, interests, and path all revolve around this man. Literally nothing else seems to cause a ripple of interest in her. I found myself wondering if she was a sociopath with an obsessive disorder of some kind but the ending made me think we weren’t supposed to think that? Or was this a case of the villain of the story winning? I have no idea and I feel like it was this book's job to make me understand her and it didn’t. So I found myself completely bored by her perspective and just waiting until we could get to another one. If I could shear Elektra out of this story, I think I would like it better. Elektra also had some really weird stuff to say about rape and I just don’t enjoy having to listen to it. Like I said though, I enjoyed Cassandra and Clytemnestra’s stories much much more. I wish they were a separate book so I could rate them better. As it is, this book gets a three stars for being ⅔rds good. I will still probably check out Ariadne. Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for a copy of audiobook in exchange for a review. This was narrated by Beth Eyre, Jane Collingwood, and Julie Teal who all did a good job. Also, I think that had some interesting production like it sounded weird sometimes like they were talking in an amphitheater but thats like how its supposed to be told so that was kind of cool.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina Pilkington

    Jennifer Saint has done it again! I loved my time reading Elektra. After giving Ariadne 5 stars, I had a suspicision that I'd love this one, too, and I was absolutely right. If you love mythology retellings, go read this book. Elektra focuses on the lives of three women: Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, the King of Troy, and sister to Hector; Clytemnestra, wife to Agamemnon and sister to Helen, and Elektra, youngest daughter of Clytemnestra. Each of the three women's stories intersect. The writi Jennifer Saint has done it again! I loved my time reading Elektra. After giving Ariadne 5 stars, I had a suspicision that I'd love this one, too, and I was absolutely right. If you love mythology retellings, go read this book. Elektra focuses on the lives of three women: Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, the King of Troy, and sister to Hector; Clytemnestra, wife to Agamemnon and sister to Helen, and Elektra, youngest daughter of Clytemnestra. Each of the three women's stories intersect. The writing was absolutely gorgeous! I half read, half listened to this book, and the audiobook narrators were fantastic! The vivid descriptions and lyrical prose allowed me to get sucked right into the story from page one. At times I would rewind the audio just to hear some of the beautiful sentences. Besides the writing, my favorite part of this book was the characterization. All three POVs were distinct. They each had very different outlooks on life and their motivations were sometimes drastically opposed to each other, but Saint did an amazing job of showing how these women dealt with trauma, abandonment, violence and war. It shows another side to the mythological stories that focus primarily on the male POV. I'm an official Jennifer Saint fangirl. I will buy whatever she writes next.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Neila

    The writing is highly compelling and Jennifer Saint manages to give life to female characters from centuries ago. Female characters are often overlooked in mythology and only seen as pawns to marry off, so it's refreshing to see the story from their POV, through their decisions and thoughts. This book would be ideal for those who have little to no grasp on Greek mythology as it explains very well and in details all the events. I think that even for those who know already the stories in depth, th The writing is highly compelling and Jennifer Saint manages to give life to female characters from centuries ago. Female characters are often overlooked in mythology and only seen as pawns to marry off, so it's refreshing to see the story from their POV, through their decisions and thoughts. This book would be ideal for those who have little to no grasp on Greek mythology as it explains very well and in details all the events. I think that even for those who know already the stories in depth, this can still bring a different insight and might be a pleasant way of refreshing your memory on these events. My biggest qualm is that for a book called Elektra, we have surprisingly little of her life and she seems a bit too much on the sidelines in comparison to the two other POVs we follow (Clytemnestra and Cassandra). To me, she was the least fleshed out and nuanced, out of the three and the least interesting to follow with her very linear thinking. I understand why she is there and that she ends the story, but honestly the link between all these events was Agamemnon or maybe Clytemnestra if we want a female POV, not Elektra. I think that as a title Elektra is definitely more compelling, but to set the record straight it's not as focused on her as I expected it to be (which might be for the best as I did not particularly care about her). 40% of this book occurs during the Trojan war, which in my opinion has been overdone and is not really the most interesting event to follow in the Greek mythology. For those who are not fed up yet with this particular event in mythology, I am sure this can be an easy 5 stars book as all the rest is amazing, but to me, I have little interest to re-read about Achilles and his heel issues, so it had me deducting one star from my rating. Overall, the writing is amazing, the characters are layered and the events are presented faithfully to the mythology, while still feeling like a breeze of fresh air through the female POV. Greatly recommend, and will definitely pick up any future books by the author! (Also picking up Ariadne next week!) Thank you NetGalley, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Athena of Velaris

    I'm tired of authors "rewriting" classic myths in a feminist way and failing to do anything original with them. It's not feminist if your female heroines don't have personalities or agency. The characters in this book weren't characters: they were symbols and shadows meant to convey a murky higher message. Though they had more agency than they do in the myths, they lacked any real complexity after the start of the Trojan War. To be fair, I'm a Classics nerd, so my standards for this sort of book I'm tired of authors "rewriting" classic myths in a feminist way and failing to do anything original with them. It's not feminist if your female heroines don't have personalities or agency. The characters in this book weren't characters: they were symbols and shadows meant to convey a murky higher message. Though they had more agency than they do in the myths, they lacked any real complexity after the start of the Trojan War. To be fair, I'm a Classics nerd, so my standards for this sort of book are rather high. Regardless, Elektra fell flat. The titular character was the worst of the three, and while I liked Clytemnestra at the start (I REALLY hate Agamemnon) she lost all personality in Act Two. Cassandra could have been interesting, but the author leaned into the helpless victim a little too much for my taste. As for Elektra, she came across as a spoiled brat. Now I recognize that I don't have to like any of the characters for the book to be good, and that some characters are written with the intention of being unlikable. However, I do need to feel something about them other than annoyance, which I did not do here.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    2.5⭐️ This was the biggest slog & took me way longer than necessary to read because I never wanted to pick it up. I was excited for this but ultimately was a huge let down. I was not impressed by the writing and as another reviewer put it, it was “a mile wide and two feet deep”. It attempted to cover so much ground but none of it contained depth or was written in a way that made me feel for any of the characters (ok a tiny bit for Clytemnestra). & While covering so much ground it still felt 50 pa 2.5⭐️ This was the biggest slog & took me way longer than necessary to read because I never wanted to pick it up. I was excited for this but ultimately was a huge let down. I was not impressed by the writing and as another reviewer put it, it was “a mile wide and two feet deep”. It attempted to cover so much ground but none of it contained depth or was written in a way that made me feel for any of the characters (ok a tiny bit for Clytemnestra). & While covering so much ground it still felt 50 pages too long and so repetitive. I only need to be told once or twice that when the Greeks return from war their mothers will be older and their children grown & that Clytemnestra has waited 10 years to seek her revenge & that Elektra has waited another 10 for the same but it’s repeated over and over. This could have been stronger had it been a more in depth story focusing solely on Clytemnestra or Cassandra but the three POV’s made the story weaker and more surface level. & Elektra is insufferable! This isn’t a feminist retelling & I don’t feel this brings any new insight to this well known story. :/

  23. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    Nothing reeks of trauma and death and shattered dreams quite like a Greek tragedy. Even the more heroic epics, such as The Iliad, often see the heroes victorious but slain among their enemies. But what of those left behind, those doomed to pick up the pieces in the aftermath? What of those stepped on and over by these so-called heroes on their path to glory? What of their “prizes,” those they claim as trophies after their victories? In other words, what of the women? “Can’t you see that it just g Nothing reeks of trauma and death and shattered dreams quite like a Greek tragedy. Even the more heroic epics, such as The Iliad, often see the heroes victorious but slain among their enemies. But what of those left behind, those doomed to pick up the pieces in the aftermath? What of those stepped on and over by these so-called heroes on their path to glory? What of their “prizes,” those they claim as trophies after their victories? In other words, what of the women? “Can’t you see that it just goes on, over and over? The gods demand their justice, but we suffer for it, every time.” Elektra had a much clearer message than Saint’s debut novel, Ariadne. Ariadne did bring forth the plight of women in the ancient world, and demonstrate that heroes often come with a dark side, but that was about it. This novel, however, speaks of violence begetting more violence, of revenge being cyclical and all-consuming and never as fulfilling as one hopes. It speaks of obsession, and how that obsession can skew one’s views of events. And, most of all, it hammers home the saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” What the two have in common, and what I like the most about them outside of their setting and status as Greek retellings, is a distinctly feminist take on historically masculine stories. “To be surprised, you had to have a belief that the world would follow its rhythms and patterns as it had always done.” Our story is told from three perspectives. Elektra, our title character, actually felt like the least important of the three, though she is the last woman standing. Youngest daughter of Agamemnon, the king of all Greek kings, Elektra is fiercely loyal to her father, and yearns for nothing more than his safe return from Troy. Her devotion is religious, and almost even romantic in nature. Because she was so young when he left for Troy, she has idolized him in such a way as to propel him into near godlike status in her mind and heart. She would do literally anything for her father and her king, up to and including allowing herself to be sacrificed to the gods if he requested it of her. “The shriek of agony in our souls, that could only be soothed by one thing. Revenge.” Which brings us to our second perspective character, Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon and mother of his children. Including the eldest daughter he so callously sacrifices to the gods in exchange for a fair wind to sail his ships to Troy. Clytemnestra is shocked, appalled, devastated by the suddenness and cruelty of the loss, and yearns for nothing more than Agamemnon’s safe return from Troy. So she can kill him herself. So obsessed is she with her loss and her plot for vengeance that she can see nothing else. Including the three children left to her. “We would lay down our lives for our children, and every time we faced birth, we stood on the banks of that great river that separated the living from the dead. A massed army of women, facing that perilous passage with no armor to protect us, only our own strength and hope that we would prevail.” Our last perspective character is Cassandra, princess and doomed prophetess of Troy. She is a priestess of Apollo but, because she spurned his romantic advances, she is cursed to always see what horrors the future holds and never find anyone to believe her. When Agamemnon brings the Grecian armies to Troy to reclaim his brother’s wife, Helen, Cassandra sees the devastation to come. And when her unheeded prophecies come true, she is taken as Agamemnon’s own war prize. Which means that she sees his doom coming. “Don’t think about what he did. Think about how we’ll punish him for it.” I didn’t find any of these perspective characters likable. But I actually didn’t mind that in regards to this particular story. When you know how things are going to end before the story even begins, you don’t mind not forming an attachment to the characters. However, while I didn’t find these women very sympathetic, I did find them interesting. If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be Clytemnestra. Her single-minded focus on vengeance might be a flawed one, but you can’t help but respect her for following through. She’s the most interesting character in the Oresteia, in my opinion, and I enjoyed her portion of that story as told in this novel. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by Cassandra, whose wretched existence has become such a popular archetype. (For example, Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter has a Cassandra complex.) “Why would I be afraid? You can only fear if you have something to lose, and I have nothing.” Outside of the main characters, my favorite was actually Helen. I loved this portrayal of her; it didn’t excuse her actions, but it gave her more character and empathy than I’ve witnessed in other interpretations. The most despicable character in this novel is Agamemnon, without a doubt. One thing that every retelling of The Iliad and related works seems to agree on in that Agamemnon was simply a terrible human being. Which made Elektra and her devotion to him my least favorite of the three perspectives in the book. “They hated her because she was so beautiful and because she made them want her so much. Nothing brought them more joy than the fall of a lovely woman. They picked over her reputation like vultures, scavenging for every scrap of flesh they could devour.” Over the past couple of years, I’ve consumed multiple retellings and translations of The Iliad and this is the first I’ve read that focuses on the women in the background. I know that there other others, specifically The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, but I haven’t yet gotten around to those. And I’ve never come across a retelling of the Oresteia, so I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. “I have become the master of my passions, and I know now that however strong the grip of agony, however fiercely it squeezes me in its terrible embrace, it can never break me.” Elektra is not a happy tale, but if you know that going in, it’s a very interesting one. Saint’s writing in this novel was lovely, and captured her characters well. I still can’t help comparing it to Madeline Miller’s work, which I think is simply stronger in philosophical depth and character development and poetic prose. But that’s a subjective stance. I will say that I enjoyed Elektra more than Ariadne, and could see true growth on Saint’s part between the two novels. I will definitely be reading anything else she publishes in the mythological retelling vein. You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    I fell madly in love with Ariadne, it made my top ten of 2021 and I won't be at all surprised if Elektra makes my top ten of 2022. I am a bit of a sucker for mythology in fiction form and Jennifer Saint does it brilliantly. Beautifully written, the characters come alive on the page, the settings pop and the women of ancient Greece get a atrocious, believable voice. Fantastic. Hopefully there'll be many more to come. Highly Recommended I fell madly in love with Ariadne, it made my top ten of 2021 and I won't be at all surprised if Elektra makes my top ten of 2022. I am a bit of a sucker for mythology in fiction form and Jennifer Saint does it brilliantly. Beautifully written, the characters come alive on the page, the settings pop and the women of ancient Greece get a atrocious, believable voice. Fantastic. Hopefully there'll be many more to come. Highly Recommended

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristenelle

    This has been my most highly anticipated 2022 release! Ariadne was my absolute favorite book last year hands down. So I can't help but compare the two since I had such high hopes of a similar experience again with Elektra. And, Elektra doesn't quite live up to Ariadne. In some ways it is simply a different beast. Ariadne followed one character primarily who was basically a really sympathetic, good person. Elektra follows three main characters and the reader does not read with the assurance that This has been my most highly anticipated 2022 release! Ariadne was my absolute favorite book last year hands down. So I can't help but compare the two since I had such high hopes of a similar experience again with Elektra. And, Elektra doesn't quite live up to Ariadne. In some ways it is simply a different beast. Ariadne followed one character primarily who was basically a really sympathetic, good person. Elektra follows three main characters and the reader does not read with the assurance that these are basically good people. They make questionable choices and go to extremes that the average reader won't relate to. Ariadne was generally a story with darkness and tragedy, but also hope and tenacity. Electra is dark and tragic and melancholic. What remains the same between the two books is the gorgeous, poetic prose of Jennifer Saint. Her writing is absolutely beautiful. Elektra is still very much women-centered and feminist. Saint's female characters are dynamic and engaged in their own stories. Male characters are not forgiven their faults or given a kind edit. Motherhood is discussed in beautiful, realistic, and varied ways. I adore the way Saint writes about motherhood. I will read anything Jennifer Saint writes. Elektra didn't quite live up to my experience with Ariadne, but I still loved it. It is more of a 4.5 than a radiating 5 stars though. I listened to the audio version of this book and thought it was lovely. There are three different readers for the three different main characters. Once I figured out who was who it was nice to be able to tell which character was which based on the sound of their voice. I did have to make myself a cheat sheet in the beginning to keep all the characters, relationships, and cities straight. I wonder if the print version has a map or character list. I feel that would help a lot. Sexual violence? Yes, mentions of war rape, but nothing graphic or on page. Other content warnings? Grisly murder, dysfunctional family, slavery, classism portrayed, marital infidelity, birth, child killing/eating.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Polly Florence

    4.5/5 stars I’m not especially well versed in Greek mythology, but I do tend to end up loving any reimagining or retelling of these classic stories and Elektra was no exception. The prose is so beautifully atmospheric and very carefully considered, you can feel the passion that Saint has for these characters and the work that’s clearly gone into to narrating their stories, flowing from the pages. I especially loved how the complex mother and daughter dynamic and complicated bond was explored throu 4.5/5 stars I’m not especially well versed in Greek mythology, but I do tend to end up loving any reimagining or retelling of these classic stories and Elektra was no exception. The prose is so beautifully atmospheric and very carefully considered, you can feel the passion that Saint has for these characters and the work that’s clearly gone into to narrating their stories, flowing from the pages. I especially loved how the complex mother and daughter dynamic and complicated bond was explored through the character’s relationships with one another. Any book that considers this relationship in such a realistic and varied way is one I’m bound to end up loving. I thought that it was expertly done through the multiple POVs and switching between them and how each one propels and builds the story towards the tragic final act, really captivated me— I didn’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend Elektra, if it’s not already on your TBR, I can see this book being loved by fans of Greek mythology and people looking for a place to start with the world of reimagined and retold classics.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)

    ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ I devoured Elektra by Jennifer Saint and I’ve fallen in love with Greek mythology! The House of Atreus is a bloodline tainted by an ancient curse, the tale is told from three female perspectives. We follow Clytemnestra wife of Agamemnon, Cassandra, cursed by the God Apollo and daughter of Troy royalty and Elektra daughter of Clytemnestra. The storyline is dark, violent and compelling. Clytemnestra’s sister Helen is taken across the seas to Troy by Paris which sets off a chain of horrifi ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ I devoured Elektra by Jennifer Saint and I’ve fallen in love with Greek mythology! The House of Atreus is a bloodline tainted by an ancient curse, the tale is told from three female perspectives. We follow Clytemnestra wife of Agamemnon, Cassandra, cursed by the God Apollo and daughter of Troy royalty and Elektra daughter of Clytemnestra. The storyline is dark, violent and compelling. Clytemnestra’s sister Helen is taken across the seas to Troy by Paris which sets off a chain of horrific events and a war. My favourite character is Clytemnestra, how I felt for her for what her husband was willing to sacrifice for the war on Troy. Her husband deceived her in the most unimaginable way. I couldn’t fathom Elektra’s blind devotion to her father Agamemnon, meanwhile the conflict with her mother is brewing and because of this she was my least favourite character. This story has a theme of betrayal, rage, revenge and deep human emotion. The author is extremely talented, the writing is extremely visual, what a fabulous retelling. I certainly will be wanting to pick up a copy of ARIADNE now after discovering this author. Publication Date 26 April 2022 
Publisher Hachette Australia (Imprint Wildfire) Thank you so much to the wonderful team at Hachette Australia for sending a copy out to me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Giulia - Divoratricedilibri2.0

    Thank you Netgalley for this ARC! Let's talk about Elektra! Potete leggere la recensione in italiano completa qui: https://divoratricedilibri20.wixsite.... "The bards sing of you, too. One woman daughter of Zeus at the heart of their story. Troy was about one woman, for me at least." For me the most interesting thing of this book is the narration, because I believed that this book talks ONLY about Elektra, when instead it is concentrated on the quarter of the mythical story that revolves around it h Thank you Netgalley for this ARC! Let's talk about Elektra! Potete leggere la recensione in italiano completa qui: https://divoratricedilibri20.wixsite.... "The bards sing of you, too. One woman daughter of Zeus at the heart of their story. Troy was about one woman, for me at least." For me the most interesting thing of this book is the narration, because I believed that this book talks ONLY about Elektra, when instead it is concentrated on the quarter of the mythical story that revolves around it her and her family: the narration of the Trojan War and revenge. So, in this book we not only have Elettra's POV, but also Clytemnestra's (the mother) her life pre-war, her sister Elena and her's marriage with the Atrides, the War - and the birth of Electra and the inclusion of her POV, and also Cassandra. So these are three POVs, three points of view: Clytemnestra, Elektra and Cassandra. The book talks about a story that we all already know - but I love it - but from a point of view that is not ever taken into consideration, of women. There are three women who tell us three points of view of wars, of the world, of their life. Obviously, for me the best pov is Clytemnestra's. Revenge is something that must be meditated upon for a long time and must be served on a silver plate (like we say in italy). When I read the great tragedies in high school, this was one of my favorites, for the cyclicality of guilt and revenge, and because Clytemnestra is a drama queen. I love her. She is a super charming character. For 9 years, FOR NINE YEARS, she thinks about what to do to take revenge, because lost her daughter in that sneaky way will never be forgiven, but above all it is a void that will never be filled. I've always been fond of this revenge which is just too epic. The beauty of her point of view (but also of Cassandra) is that we also come into contact with other characters who have marked this epic cycle, such as Elena, who in my opinion is perfect, Egisto, but also Agamemnon himself. I absolutely loved it! Cassandra is a very interesting character at the same time. Her story about has always made me tighten my heart, because although she was a princess and a seer, she had this fate that no one would ever understand what she meant. In fact, Cassandra foresees the entire defeat of her family and her city, from the moment Paris is born, to the famous Trojan horse, everything. And the sad fact is no one listened to her because no one could understand. Really super interesting character and POV, even at the end, even if it is tragic. Really heartbreaking! I always hope to see a very well done reinterpretation of this character because she has always fascinated me. Predicting the future I think is one of the "magical" features that I like the most, so I would like to see it again in a fantasy or in a book in general. Elektra despite being the title of the book (I'll come back here later) is the most difficult POV to read. Elektra is not an easy character, I've always seen her as a child at the mercy of what happens, but above all very subjected to the feeling of love that bound her to her father, who in reality never considered her, a feeling so strong, almost morbid as to make her completely hostile towards her mother - one thing I noticed is that she never calls her "mother" or "mother" but always Clytemnestra - obviously the situation worsens when Egisto enters the scene and the two begin to plot for double revenge. Let's say that it is the Pov with which I bind less, but simply because Elektra in comparison to the others is much more difficult to digest than the others who appear to us much more interesting. I really liked the book, both because I love this cycle and because reading it from a female point of view is another thing, it's like reading another story. So, yes, in the end it is like reading something that you already know 100%, but it is something new from this point of view, even if it combines a bit of fantasy with the myth. In my opinion - as I know in Ariadne - the problem lies a bit in the title which is very misleading. The story that is told in this book in the end is not that of Electra but that of these three women, who we can say are linked together both by war and by the figure of Agamemnon, who was devastating for each of them, even since three different ways. So in my opinion the title is a bit crippled, because yes, it is the story of Elettra, but not only. For the rest I liked it very much and, indeed, I had a lot of fun re-reading the whole story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    cal

    I had believed they were there because they loved her, but I had been wrong. They hated her. They hated her because she was so beautiful and because she made them want her so much. Nothing brought them more joy than the fall of a a lovely woman. this was... good. i didn't loved it but my attention was there from start to finish. my biggest and probably issue here is how even though the whole story captivated me, i never really rooted for anyone. will read ariadne next!! I had believed they were there because they loved her, but I had been wrong. They hated her. They hated her because she was so beautiful and because she made them want her so much. Nothing brought them more joy than the fall of a a lovely woman. this was... good. i didn't loved it but my attention was there from start to finish. my biggest and probably issue here is how even though the whole story captivated me, i never really rooted for anyone. will read ariadne next!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma Cathryne

    I took a class in college about ancient greek ritual and tradition. I learned a lot, but perhaps the most striking revelation, and the one that has stuck with me years later, has to do with the oral tradition of storytelling. “Homer” is a not necessarily a person but a perspective, collected overtime through repeated tellings of stories from what we know as the Odyssey and Iliad that were eventually codified into text. However, as my professor pointed out – who, throughout history, in nearly eve I took a class in college about ancient greek ritual and tradition. I learned a lot, but perhaps the most striking revelation, and the one that has stuck with me years later, has to do with the oral tradition of storytelling. “Homer” is a not necessarily a person but a perspective, collected overtime through repeated tellings of stories from what we know as the Odyssey and Iliad that were eventually codified into text. However, as my professor pointed out – who, throughout history, in nearly every Western culture, have been the ones doing the writing in the early stages of history? Men, of course. Who talked to other men, who collected stories from other men, who had the perspective on the story of – you guessed it – men. This is not to say that women weren’t telling their own versions of stories – they just weren’t the stories that were written down. Might this imply, argued my professor, the existence of a hitero unseen world of perspectives, ideas, and nuance to stories like the Iliad and Odyssey, which have simply been lost to time and telling? Through Elektra, I like to think that Jennifer Saint has tapped into this period of hidden history and myth, elevating the voices of three of the women most maligned by the Iliad and Oresteia: Cassandra, Clytemnestra, and Elektra herself. Who are they, traditionally? A mad prophetess. A murderous wife. A disobedient daughter. Look closer, Saint whispers. See Cassandra, punished for declining to be assaulted by a God, doomed to literally be seen and never heard. See Clytemnestra, her daughter murdered before her eyes at her husband’s hand, seeking retribution. See Elektra, losing her family one by one, to pain, to loss, and to rage. Saint expertly contextualizes their experiences, not cleansing the narrative of violence but rather giving it purpose and direction. Iphigenia’s wedding and its aftermath is a great example of this, not only phenomenally written by hypnotizing in its dread, pain, and horror. Of all three characters, Clytemnestra’s choices as the narrative unwinds become more and more dubious, but always, always I was able to root her motivation in this pivotal moment. This story is also heavily steeped in generational trauma, specifically that which is shared between women. Mother to daughter, sister to sister, enemy to enemy, friend to friend. Clytemnestra and Elektra are foils to each other lives, as the anger and anguish Clytemnestra carries shapes Elektra’s upbringing, which in turn shapes Elektra’s burning resentment and, eventually, hatred of her mother. Clytemnestra and Helen, too, play a role, as they evolve from sisters to strangers as Clytemnestra struggles with her sister’s role as the catalyst of the Trojan War and, by consequence, indirect instrument of Clytemnestra’s suffering. Cassandra, though slightly apart from the other two protagonists, serves as a scapegoat for the pain of the women around her – prophesying terrible events even as she is dismissed, only to be ostracized for predicting them when they occur. Moreover, Cassandra is a vehicle for describing the trauma inflicted upon women by the gods. Despite her devotion to and fervor for her religion, it is rejecting the violent sexual advances of Apollo, her god, that bring her to ruin. In this, Cassandra is a voice for all the women in greek mythology – Danaë, Alcmene, Leta, etc – whose assault is a footnote in the larger narrative of their child’s heroism. Elektra is not an easy read. It is visceral portrait of human suffering that rips apart the stories we know in serves them up bloody and dripping. It is a story about ritual, about cycles of abuse and trauma, and the untold stories straining at the seams of an age. It is also an inherently feminist story – letting the three women at its heart be ugly and violent and honest in reclaiming the narrative of their pain. I applaud Jennifer Saint for creating a story that enchants even as it horrifies, pulling me back through time and space to feel connected to generations of women whose stories are trapped behind the curtain of history.

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