Cover Image: Psyche and Eros

Psyche and Eros

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Member Reviews

I can’t resist a Greek mythology retelling, so I was excited to read Luna McNamara’s take on one of the greatest mythological love stories, Psyche & Eros.  I’m drawn to the combination of the traditional story elements along with some fresh reimaginings.  Here, the framework of the myth exists but McNamara puts an original twist on it.  

This Psyche is a warrior, trained by the great Atalanta.  While I love that she can slay monsters and less was made of her appearance, I didn’t always enjoy her attitude.  I think she’s meant to be taken as spirited or standing up for herself, but her outspokenness sometimes comes across as abrasive or rude.  Her characterization is almost diametrically opposed to Psyche’s usual depiction. 

McNamara also takes a lot of liberties with the relationships that are established within Greek mythological cannon, linking Psyche into a branch of Agamemnon’s family tree as a princess of Mycenae.  Setting Psyche & Eros’s timeline within the Trojan War is unexpected too and feels like a device to name-drop a number of key Greek heroes, as the war isn’t directly relevant to the central plot.  

The prose is solid but the pacing is a bit uneven.  The first chunk of the book is slow with a lot of time spent on exposition, but once the pace picked up, I became more invested and enjoyed the second half much more.  I would have liked more narrative about Psyche’s quests instead of investing so much detail in side plots that were only vaguely relevant.

Although McNamara’s imaginative approach didn’t entirely work for me, I think it’s a worthy read for fans of Greek myth retellings.  Readers of Madeline Miller, Jennifer Saint, and Claire Heywood should consider giving this one a try.  Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for providing me an advance copy of this book.
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Sadly this didn't do much for me. I was very excited to read a feminist retelling of the myth of Psyche and Eros but I am not entirely sure where this so called feminist twist came into play other than making Psyche a 'warrior'
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I really enjoyed this book! This original slow burn romance retelling of the old greek myth will make you fall in love with these beloved characters again. I have been loving this era of POVs by greek characters and am living for it. The cover is stunning and I really loved how the author made these characters have more human like emotions. I appreciated this new take on Psyche's character and how she broke the norms of society. I recently got done reading Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati and it was fun to revisit those characters again, it made it seem like this book was happening in the same universe. If you love greek myths and retellings this book is for you.
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I personally enjoyed the liberties this author took when writing this retelling. Mostly minor changes but they added to the story instead of changing the whole point of the myth. The author uses beautiful prose to set the scenes and makes you feel like you're actually there. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC
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The book is well-written; the prose is slightly lyrical, slightly formal like a translation of Greek mythology. I was only passingly familiar with the "original" story of Cupid and Psyche, but it's pretty clear that McNamara wanted to put her own spin on the myth. She's only somewhat successful; she throws so many "feminist" arcs into the story that I would not be surprised to learn this started out as a prompt on Tumblr. In fact, she gives Medusa the popular Tumblr interpretation of her being "cursed" as a gorgon, rather than having been born one. 

McNamara uses one of my least favourite tropes when it comes to retellings: rather than fully developing a strong female character, she turns Psyche into a "not like the other girls" tomboy. McNamara's Psyche is the sole princess of a small kingdom, but she never lives in the women's quarters or learns how to weave. Instead, she learns to hunt and live in the forest with Atalanta, of all people. Psyche rarely doubts herself, rarely feels despair because she's a strong female warrior. Honestly, it's boring and it's tired. 

I liked the book fine, but upon reflection, it's a collection of tired tropes laid over a classic myth. There's nothing particularly special here.
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A lovely debut novel by Luna McNamara - can't wait to see what she writes next!!

What I loved:
1.  The retelling and reimagining the Greek myth...I love how she interpreted the story!
2.  Loved the two perspectives - Eros and Pysche.
3.  Love a love story!
4.  The cover is stunning!!

What could have been different:
1.  There are parts of the book that are choppy - and pacing might be a little off but easy to overcome!!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the chance to read!
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This delightful and intelligent retelling of the Psyche and Eros brings more nuance to the myth in ways that are equally delightful and beg you to challenge you understanding of myth and the ways in which we understand them. 4/5
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I very much struggled to get into this book and I don't even know why, as this is typically a book I would be very interested in. The book was okay enough, but not something I would really recommend.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.

This book was better than I expected it to be which is always a good thing! I don't read a ton of mythology retellings, but I really did enjoy this one! I like that things weren't exactly as they were in the original story and that the author took some liberties in changing things around.
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Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When the oracle of Delphi proclaims that Psyche, princess of Mycenae, is destined to defeat a monster that even the gods fear, she is trained to use weapons and fight though it is untraditional for girls. However, when she unknowingly offends Aphrodite, the goddess sends Eros to inflict a terrible curse upon her. Eros doesn’t care much for humans, but he finds himself unwillingly tangled up with the mortal world when the arrow with the curse accidentally pricks him instead, and he is doomed to yearn for Psyche, knowing that the moment their eyes meet, they will be parted forever.

Initial Thoughts: I love books based on any mythology, but I’ve always been partial to Greek mythology. Having a good familiarity with many source texts, I’m always curious to see how an author will reinterpret the story. This was the first retelling of the story of Eros and Psyche that I’ve ever come across, so I was especially excited to read it.

Plot, World building & Atmosphere: I had very high expectations for this book, but unfortunately a large part of the plot didn’t live up to it. Now I have nothing against artistic license and changing things around a bit, in fact some of my favorite novels based on Greek mythology are retellings, from the Olympus Trilogy to Daughter of Sparta to Lore, all of which deviate significantly from the source texts. But there is usually a purpose to it, whereas in this book, so much was added in from various myths that had so little impact upon the plot in the end.

As far as I remember, in the original story of Eros and Psyche, Psyche was a Greek princess of some unnamed kingdom. This story made her not only the Princess of Mycenae but also the granddaughter of Perseus and somehow inexplicably, the niece of Agamemnon, hence pulling the whole Trojan war into the plot too. It reminded me of Daughter of Sparta which was also a giant mish-mash of myths that weren’t anywhere close together on the real timeline, the difference being that there was actually a point to in that book.

All in all, I found myself less than impressed by this book. I really wanted to like it, but plot wise, it didn’t work for me.

Writing & Narration: That said, the pacing was decent even if the story did meander a bit in the beginning, and it was easy to read. It was narrated in alternating POVs of Psyche and Eros, a style that worked pretty well despite the first several chapters not being in sync in terms of timelines.

Characters: The main characters had great arcs and a lot of depth. The portrayal of Psyche as a warrior worked surprisingly well in my opinion. It felt a little cliched in the beginning when all that was happening was Psyche’s training montages, but as the story went on, it became evident how the training of a warrior has also shaped her strong personality. The author has gone with Eros’ origin story as per Hesiod for this book, and I found his arc a fascinating one to read.

On the downside, the myth of Eros and Psyche is supposed to be a romance, but I felt there was hardly any time dedicated to it at all which was quite disappointing.

Ending: Most of the interesting stuff happened in the last 25% of the book to be honest, including Psyche’s three labors. Psyche’s actual quest went by much faster than I liked – almost too simple – these were her quests, her labors to win back Eros and they were more or less the blink of an eye when this should have been the highlight of the story. The ending itself was a little different from the original, and an interesting twist on it all. However, I found it odd that the consequences of Eros’ decision were never shown on page and surely there had to be some.

Final Thoughts & Recommendation: Overall, this was still an entertaining read. It didn’t really change much of the core of the story, just added stuff around it so it just read like a myth instead of a reimagining or retelling. But most importantly, this is one of the few myths that has a happy ending and I’m glad it was maintained that way in this book. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology retellings, I would recommend this book.
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Again, another instance of retellings that I just can't get behind. This one takes our sweet, kind, hard-working, persistent, and courageous but also naïve and flawed Psyche is turned into some wannabe Amazon for the sake of appealing to modern sensibilities that can't stand a woman who can't fight and save herself, apparently.

The story becomes a name-dropping marathon of Who's Who in Greek mythology. Everyone worth a mention in the heroic cycle appears here. The author decided this story would take place during the Trojan War timeline, because why not, a time where human sacrifice was still practised, but somehow making a feminine girl a tomboy so she's properly feminist is more important than the horrific customs of the time.

So, no, this isn't a good retelling for so many reasons but mainly for the incongruous pastiche of Everything Goes plots. And it isn't even a good romance because there's such a throng of characters and mishmashed plotlines that there's hardly any time for Eros and Psyche to build a relationship.
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This was much more exhilarating than I was expecting. I appreciated most of the changes that the author made to the mythological "canon" but I didn't understand the choice to set this during the Trojan War and given that I'm not really a fan of Trojan War retellings, it definitely affected my enjoyment.
I liked the characters of Psyche and Eros and I felt for their relationship.
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I had a hard time getting into this book although I really enjoy the topic.  Once I got into it though it did read really fast.
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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy of Psyche and Eros. This was fantastic, i love these twists on greek mythology and hope they keep going for a while.
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Psyche and Ero’s was such a fantastic book. It felt like I was reading something by Madeline Miller or Jennifer Saint. Welcome to the family, Luna McNamara. You’ve earned it with this novel. If you’re. A fan of any of those authors, you’ll enjoy this. It’s very similar but I love that they wrote about Eros and Psyche. One of my favorite Greek myth stories.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Psyche and Eros.

When I was a kid and teenager, I went through a Greek mythology phase where I did nothing but read Greek myths. I was kind of obsessed. 

I loved the stories; how morbid and horrifying some were, how vengeful the gods could be and how they toyed with the mortals and how the mortals sometimes were better than the gods.

I'm not a big fan of retellings of classic stories but when the premise intrigues me, I'm willing to give it a chance and see how the author puts his or her own original spin on a famous story.

Like some reviewers, I have mixed feelings about Psyche and Eros.

First, the writing is great, but I dislike when too many changes are made from the original story. That's why I usually read the book before the movie comes out.

Where are Psyche's sisters? In the author's note, she explains her reasoning for leaving them out but including Psyche's sisters would have added necessary character development.

I'm all for girl power, but pumping Psyche up as a Atalanta wannabe got old fast. I love that she's strong and fierce and fearless, but her constant references to the Oracle's statement that she will be a hero became tiresome fast.

Her parents are described as progressive, hiring Atalanta to train Psyche, yet when she comes of age, they tell her they're going to marry her off to an old geezer. This feel out of character and coming out of left field.

I also wished the author had reimagined Eros as a son of Aphrodite, instead of an adopted son. That would have made for even more mama drama between the two.

There's a lack of drama and urgency, the narrative slow though well written.

That's why this took me a few weeks to finish.

I feel if Psyche's origins hadn't been tinkered with, there would have been more drama and tension in the story, including when she had those insurmountable tasks to complete for Aphrodite.

I did like how the Greek gods made appearances, though after awhile, those began to feel like cameos in a Jimmy Kimmel music video.

The ending is surprisingly happy for a Greek retelling but I wasn't completely satisfied nor do I dislike happy endings. It felt too easily wrapped up.

I do believe the story of Psyche and Eros is really about love: not just the love one has for their partner, but the love you have for your family and friends, the love you receive from neighbors and supportive people, from animals and nature, from those around you willing to lend a hand.
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I've always had a draw to Psyche and Eros, since it was one of the first scenes I ever did in a drama class. Since I also tend to enjoy retellings, I was excited to pick this one up! 
It didn't live up to my expectations, but is still a good novel for those interested. Don't expect the author to stay true to the original story and you may really enjoy this depiction of Psyche.

Overall, the storyline was very enjoyable. I found it too easy to get lost in the timelines and thinking of the original Greek, and this is just not the book for that.
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I'm not a mythology person so this being far from the original has no weight in my review. 

I really enjoyed this book. It's a bit slow, but it's done artfully, and there's a happy ending which makes my heart full.
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As much as I wanted to like it…this book just wasn’t for me! DNFd. The beginning didn’t draw me in at all and I just found the rest of the material underwhelming.
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Ah I was so excited to read the retelling of the goddess that I was named after, but sad to report that it didn’t meet my expectation. 

There’s not much of the “retelling” but more like trying to stuff other Greek myths into Psyche and Eros’ story to make it more interesting. I’m very familiar with Psyche’s story and would’ve preferred to have more retelling on her and Eros’ romance but that’s not the case here. Even the parts where Psyche had to perform three impossible tasks felt like an afterthought of the story and were brushed over rather quickly. 

Maybe time to stop this influx of Greek myth feminist side of the retellings? 

3 ⭐️
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