Member Reviews

This book was my second Greek mythology retelling story I've read, the first being A Song of Achilles. A lot of exploration into the idea of freedom and what freedom is for different characters. I liked how this book addressed being a female in this time period. Eros being a non-binary deity and the language to describe Eros (she/her pronouns) was a little confusing at times. There were moments in Eros' perspective where I felt like there was some internal perspective of how one feels when they don't really identify as male or female. Overall a good book and one that I'll be adding to my shelf to admire.

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Unfortunately, not much of this book worked for me. I was hooked by the prospect of a queer Psyche and Eros retelling, but most of this fell flat in my opinion.

The best part of this book was by far the prose, as the writing was some of the best I think I've read. It was lyrical, and flowery, and beautiful, and unfortunately one of the only redeeming qualities of this book. One of my biggest issues with this was this was the pacing. There was a huge chunk of this book where Psyche and Eros did not communicate anything besides desire to each other, and this was resolved by them repeatedly having sex, which made me believe they were only compatible sexually. And then the end felt very rushed and a little bit random. I also just didn't really like Eros that much. I think she kind of had a god complex (ha, ha) and took Psyche for granted. My favorite scenes in the whole book were actually when she got called out on this lol. I also really liked how this book depicted Aphrodite and Persephone though.

Overall, I did not enjoy the majority of this book. I think if the couple lived in modern times, they would break up, and their relationship hinging almost entirely on the physical aspects did not work for me. I would not recommend this to most readers, but if you like queer retellings that explore desire and freedom and are little plot, mainly vibes, you might like this!

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A thought-provoking read, but I didn't really connect with the main characters and a lot of the prose felt long-winded and unnecessary. It was good overall though, and I loved the cover.

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The retelling of the myth of Eros and Psyche with a splash of gender identity politics thrown in. While the novel itself was good enough of a read, and I have a feeling will be very important and awe-inspiring for others, it was long winded for me. The writing style was long, lengthy sentences searching for poeticism and only occasionally stumbling upon it. Sentences were often a paragraph long and repetitive. To have one sentence say in three different ways that someone was waiting for someone to return... it didn't read as poetic, it just was too much.

I didn't think the characters were exceptionally fleshed out. They felt rather flat, with one or two defining characteristics. I know that's a feature of myths, however if you're retelling a myth, you are allowed to edit.

I'm not terribly well versed in the gender or sexual politics of non-binary, but I was confused by having a non-binary Eros and then using a primarily female-presenting Eros who really only seems to develop male attributes (growing a magic penis) for sex. I'm sure that someone can explain that better or have a more nuanced opinion. I just think it might be something to be aware of prior to reading.

I thought the writing was capable and I would read something else the author writes. I just think it would benefit from some critical editing and another go with the characters. I do think that people who want to read a fun retelling of a myth would enjoy it.

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“And she felt in that instant that she existed to bring pleasure to this girl, to bask in her, to offer her all the passions, all the world. In short, she’d fallen for her target.”
I received this copy from netgalley and was very excited for a retelling of this Greek mythology. The book is more a 3.5 star for me though.
It is very beautiful, well done and unique writing. I loved reading some of the passages. However some went on way too long. It was too much.
Secondly I didn’t really feel the chemistry or the building of a relationship between psyche and Eros. It was very lacklustre and not there enough to really enrich the story.
Also don’t get me started on the fig tree. That was too much lol.
The plot flowed nicely, I’m glad the author didn’t put too much focus on the trials. The chapters for those were short and to the point which I liked.
The message in this book was feminine and divinely powerful. I loved reading what this author was trying to convey about gender fluidity.
I hope the right people find this book and find joy in it like I did.

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This beautiful reimagining of the myth of Eros and psyche is the new, queer-instead-of-Achillean “Song of Achilles.” Wonderfully lyrical and full of twists and turns, prepare to be emotionally wrecked once more.

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i have many, many thoughts about the palace of eros, i’m trying to make it make sense but there’s just so much to talk about!
for starters, i will be purchasing a physical copy of this book because i need to re read it and i certainly need to annotate it properly. this one reading isn’t enough, i need more. the re writing of this mythical love story was something i have never encountered before — and i’ve read quite a lot of love story.

de robertis is writing an ode to feminism, to being free and allowed to live as you are in the light, without needing to hide yourself. hiding yourself because a woman cannot be something on her own, she is the embodiment of a man desire and nothing else. and it doesn’t matter that you are simple mortals or goddesses, if a man says so, then it is law. as we can see in the story.
it’s a story about who is setting the rules, why are we setting them, are they necessary? can we bend them and how far? furthermore, can we write a new history? one where no daphne has to become a tree to evade appolo s.a ? psyche is this voice. she will fight until there is no more daphne, no more melias. it will be her fight.

de robertis also shows us a remarkable tale of queer history. i do like to believe that eros is as close as how the author wrote her. the urgency with which de robertis wrote about a societal crisis, having a child without a father, conceiving one between two woman or a woman, alone. to have written this at a so ancient time but with the same urgency as we talk about it now is fearless and inspiring.

the relationship between mother and daughter is incredibly well written, with so much bittersweet sentiments that it can only be a truthful reflection on how a mother and her daughter are always intrinsically connected.

what made me most in awe of this tale was the lyrical prose with which psyche is telling us her story. all the metaphors, one after another, are more powerful than the last.

i highly recommend you to read the palace of eros, you won’t regret it. this story, it’s one we urgently need.
thank you to caro de robertis for writing such a great piece of literature.

“you, who were born perfect yet outside of the rules of whatever temples oversee your time.”

“at the root of all the revolutions, a mother rage.”

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This book is just like every other feminist greek myth retelling, so I didn't enjoy it that much– but I actually don't think that this is bad and I DO recommend it. It's a powerful and engaging story that feels a lot like what is successful right now, but explicitly and centrally queer. One of my main complaints with greek retellings is how few have been fully queer since The Song of Achilles. Everyone grabbed onto Circe and pretended Madeline Miller wrote no other book. But this book sees the fluidity of diety and doesn't focus incessantly on sexual assault or horrors against women, but instead presents issues of femininity and does so with the context of a queer romance. It's still basic, but it's not like Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, which removed anything fluid about Dionysus at the service of it being a cishet feminist lens that's easily marketable.

Queer, lyrical, and beautiful, De Robertis reminds audiences what makes the myth of Eros and Psyche so memorable and engaging. Highly recommend for fans of Madeline Miller.

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The Palace of Eros by Caro De Robertis is a captivating and poetic retelling of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros. In this bold and subversive narrative, Eros is reimagined as a nonbinary deity, and their relationship with Psyche explores themes of queer joy, freedom, and defiance against societal norms.

De Robertis' lyrical prose brings the myth to life, capturing the passion and complexity of Psyche and Eros' love. The novel delves deep into themes of gender and societal expectations, making it a profound and thought-provoking read. The rich world-building and the vivid portrayal of characters make this book a must-read for fans of mythological retellings. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a fresh and inclusive take on classic tales.

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The Palace of Eros by Caro de Robertis is a sapphic retelling of the Eros and Psyche myth.

This was my first time reading a sapphic book and I was interested in it because I enjoy books based Greek mythology and Eros seemed like a perfect god to present as a woman.

I liked how the book addressed themes of freedom, gender, and women in a male-dominated society through the myth and setting. I also enjoyed the flowery prose, though it sometimes reminded me of assigned readings back in school.

The book is divided in four parts, but the third and fourth feel rushed compared to the lengthy first and second.

Overall, the book presents modern and traditional gender and societal themes through the Eros and Psyche myth, but may be a slower read with a rushed ending. I'd recommend it for those interested in gender and freedom themes.

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Although I knew the story of Psyche and Eros, this retelling surprised me. It was poetic and sapphic, celebrating love, desire, and passion between Psyche and Eros as women.

The book creatively addresses gender and society through mythology. Eros' internal conflict mirrors modern dysphoria and discrimination, which De Robertis handles well.

However, I felt the love between Psyche and Eros lacked depth. The passion seemed driven by sex and implied conversations, with little shown until the end. The relationship needed more development and less internal monologue.

Both characters felt inconsistent. Psyche's sudden astuteness wasn't foreshadowed, and Eros' dialogue was vague and cliché. Additionally, an error about Psyche's sister's age disrupted the story.

The dialogue felt modern and lengthy, lacking world description. More prose and fewer internal thoughts would have improved it.

Overall, this bold take on the myth showcased the gods' sexuality in a raw way but felt a bit stretched. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I've always liked the story of Eros and Psyche. I think it's romantic and I like the underlying moral that you can't have secrets from or a power imbalance with the person you love.

This retelling is a little different. Eros does not accidentally shoot herself with an arrow and fall in love with Psyche that way, but instead falls in love with her because of her beauty and strength (though it's still instantaneous). Psyche's sisters play a bigger role than they do traditionally. The third trial with Persephone's beauty also goes a little differently.

There was a lot I liked. Psyche's matrilineal line was forcibly married by Greek men (I wasn't expecting a background of violent imperialism when I started reading this, so be prepared!). Psyche herself takes after them and has dark hair and a deeper complexion, and I appreciated that, especially when being blond and fair is what usually equates to beauty in ancient Greek myths (I think most of the gods are described as blond). That threat of male violence lingers through the whole book, even with the Olympian goddesses themselves. I also really liked how Psyche lighting the lamp to look at Eros had parallels to a forced coming out; now everyone knows about them and they're no longer safe in the dark.

The romance was a bit too sexual for me, though. I know the beginning of their relationship is built on Eros's secret identity, which implies, you know, SECRETS obviously and a lack of communication, but Psyche just seems to fall in love with Eros because Eros is good in bed. They don't really have any heart-to-hearts until the end of the book. The smut was poetic and lovely, but I'm asexual and I need more romance to believe in a relationship.

I LOVED that Eros was genderfluid! I've always died on the hill that gods of desire need to be genderfluid, because how else can they fully capture desire? But this seemed to be a problem with the other Olympians, and I know at least Aphrodite and Dionysus were sometimes depicted in ancient Greek art as intersex. I think because they were both so beautiful? that they couldn't be limited to one gender. I could see maybe Zeus being against Eros's fluidity because Zeus objectively sucks, but I have a harder time with the other gods.

The trials were over a little quickly for me, and then BAM suddenly happy ending, they're getting married, Psyche's becoming a goddess. I know that's how the myth ends, but why are Zeus and everyone suddenly chill with Eros and her identity and marriage? I get that Aphrodite loves Eros and forgave Psyche because of this, and argued their case with Zeus, but you don't see that argument take place. We just hand wave Zeus's awfulness away.

The prose was sometimes beautiful for me and sometimes too purple. Some of the sentences were very long and reminded me of 18th century novels (you know the ones with commas everywhere). I also HATED the use of the word "erect" to mean someone standing up straight 😭 and I think it was used three times in this context. It's like the world "penetrate", please remove it from my eyeballs

I am glad I read this. I haven't read a retelling of this myth before and I found it had a nice critique of sexism and gender essentialism. I also liked how Psyche wasn't completely useless with the trials, and she usually is in the myth...she just cries and thinks about killing herself and then a god feels bad for her and helps out.

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The Palace of Eros by Caro De Robertis was an interesting, queer spin on the myth of Eros and Psyche. Eros, now a nonbinary deity, still whisks Psyche away to a palace and gives her the same rule: we can only meet in the dark.
My main issue with this story was the prose. I think it also could've benefitted from some more paragraph breaks, as the long blocks of writing combined with the extremely flowery language made it beyond difficult not to skim. I also found myself getting lost with the dialogue at points, unable to tell who was speaking for a few lines.
The story itself was good, but it was also a pretty direct retelling, so I don't really know what that says. I thought Caro did a great, albeit discomforting, job of writing how dehumanizing it feels to be the subject of a predatory male gaze. "I only smiled in fear" had me on the verge of throwing up.
Overall a decent read, but I just don't think I could recommend this to anyone in good conscience, knowing how difficult it was to actually get through every extraneous word on these pages.

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Let me start by saying I adore Greek mythology and love retellings. This specific retelling was very poetic and full of flowery language, which I found very fitting for the content. Once finished, I found the story very fulfilling and I appreciated Psyche's views on women and her wants for future women. The addition of a nonbinary Eros? Absolutely perfect.
Now, this writing focuses a lot on the sexual aspects of their relationship and is therefore a bit slow to read. It caught my attention but often could not hold it for extended periods of time. Thus, it took awhile to get through. Was it worth it? Yes! Did I take this slower than other books? Also yes.
Overall, this book is extremely romantic and dreamy. Perfectly fitting for the story of Eros and Pysche. This featuring a sapphic love made me enjoy it even more and I appreciated the added spins that put onto their interactions and how the world might treat their love.

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This review appeared in Goodreads and on my Instagram book review site @authorsonjafraneta
The Palace of Eros is by Caro DeRobertis author of some of my favorite novels—Cantoras and The Gods of Tango. This is the first book under their new non-binary name (formerly Carolina DeRobertis). In their words: “I wrote this novel with a heart full of love for the world, and for anyone and everyone who has longed to live outside the box.” I was eager to read it and I just finished it. A gender-fluid version of the story of Eros and Psyche. You don’t have to know the story to enjoy the book.
I have to say I am not especially fond of Greek mythology retelling but I enjoyed this for its focus on the lavish sexual feast of the relationship of Eros and Psyche. In De Robertis’s version Eros is a woman and their relationship must be hidden so it is a classic lesbian story.
As always the writing is beautiful. When Eros enters Psyche’s life is when the book picks up for me in a big way: “And she felt in that instant that she existed to bring pleasure to this girl, to bask in her, to offer her all the pleasures, all the world.”
And here is some great erotic writing:
“That the hand against my hair was honey on a thirsty tongue. The glint and shudder of fish in a stream. Silk rippling through sunlight, I was sunlight in the presence of her hand…”
I was hooked!
Yes I could enjoy this book despite the Greek myth because it is a wonderful and satisfying queer story exploring the possibilities of our world, our future, truly how we can be free.
When wondering about the shaking up of the world and the order of things, Eros says to Aphrodite her mother: “Why can’t the shape of things rise from within instead of being forced on us?”
Good question! It is a fascinating way to ponder these ideas—the context of a set Greek myth. The passion, for me, was the best part of this book. There are some special surprises for women loving women. Moreover the forward thinking, despite the ancient context, is heartening as we deal with book banning, threats of fascist and pushbacks on our basic rights.
We are progress! We are the future! And for a brief shining moment reading this book…

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This was fucking fantastic. Any fans of Claire North, Madeline Miller and Jennifer Saint will LOVE this. I am always a fan of Eros and Psyche and this reimagining was perfection.

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Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for this free copy for my honest review of The Palace of Eros. I love a retelling of Greek Mythology and the story of Eros and Psyche was a beautiful retelling. I automatically felt sorry for Psyche because of the harm the unwanted attention brought on her. In this retelling Eros is a non binary deity, and I loved it. Her love, her words, the caring of Psyche made me fall in love with Eros. Betraying her own mother Aphrodite to keep Psyche safe was a big risk, a risk Eros was willing to take. Their love was beautiful, the words they used for eachother had me swooning. I only wished their love story had more substance to it. I wanted to see why Psyche actually fell in love woth Eros. There was a lot of love making I just wished there was more. The bit of conversation they did have made me crave more from them. It was still a good book and I would recommend anyone to read it.

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The Palace of Eros is an incredibly poetic retelling of a queer/sapphic Eros and Psyche. Eros being gender-fluid was a really interesting concept that the author explored and which i found fit really well with the characters. This truly a great take on their story. How ever, I had a hard time with their connection and chemistry. I found a lot of the their relationship was built on nothing but sex and night time passion. I understand the idea of the rules and the ways they need to protect what they are doing, how ever each time I thought we were getting closer to a meaningful conversation, everything returned to lustful desire. You only get so much of what the other is truly feeling, which is a desperate need due to the fact that they can't even see each other. I also found each POV to be quite repetitive and very wordy. A lot of what was said was not flowing as well as id wished. I was incredibly content with what was happening and their circumstances, how ever had there been a deeper character development and deeper bonding, this would have easily become a favorite. I just felt as though Eros was deflecting the whole book. Other wise, I found this to be a really agreeable and delicate read!

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me a free copy for an honest review.

A poetic retelling of a queer/sapphic Eros and Psyche. Eros being gender-fluid fit so well with them and suited who they were. I loved this take on them.
What I struggled with though was the lack of relationship shown through the book. Eros and Psyche's relationship leaps into a nothing but sex bond within a few rushed over days. It leaves it a little difficult to believe the love in this is anything but "desire" and pillow talk. You only get so much of what the other is truly feeling, which is desperately needed since the lack of sight is a foundation for a good quantity of the chapters.
Had there been deeper character developments and longer bonding between the two this would have easily been a four star rating for myself. I just couldn't get past the absence of their relationship.

If you enjoy Greek mythology retellings I would highly recommend.

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2.75 💫

Greek mythology retellings are such a fickle thing in my experience. Striking a balance of sticking to the original myth, while bringing it into the modern age, all while having the reader connect with this world and these characters from many millennia ago is a very hard balance to find. This is especially tricky with a myth like Psyche and Eros which is very character-driven. Getting the characters and dialogue right is often what I find lacking in many retellings, but with plot-heavy myths, sometimes its not as important.

This retelling had so much potential, the change in making Eros femme and gender-fluid in a way added so much more stakes to the plot, and made Psyche's betrayal hit even harder. The themes of the power of language, gender binaries and hierarchies, as well as how much gender non-conformity threatens systems of power, and who and how we define monsters fit beautifully into the story, and can definitely be taken out of this context and applied to our world. This retelling also stuck to the original myth, to my knowledge, quite well, which seems like a given, but I've tried to read other retellings of this myth that go a completely different direction. The additional sprinkling of other famous myths was also nice to see and gave a sense of where this one took place on the mythology timeline loosely.

My biggest gripe with this book was that I found myself not caring due to the way the characters and dialogue were written. Psyche particularly felt super flat to me. This did get a bit better once she arrived at the palace, but when Eros would talk about Psyche and describe her as intelligent and full of fire I found myself thinking where on earth did you get that? This was likely not helped with the way the dialogue was written. A lot of the interactions felt forced and awkward. It's a small thing, but I was really irked by hmph being written as dialogue. I would much rather have this being described as a grunt or a heavy sigh, putting it as dialogue and in quotations seemed like such an odd choice. This one also had the case of trying to make the dialogue sound more modern, and it just made the conversations feel that more uncanny. I also felt very little chemistry between Psyche and Eros, which hurt my enjoyment the most, as their relationship is the centrepiece of this whole story. Additionally, this story often had Psyche's narration addressing the reader, which I was fine with, it's a common style used for retellings and it works well for these cases. The transitions between dialogue and narration were really awkward, and often times her internal dialogue of going back and forth between ideas, and it felt overbearing, and I often found myself irritated with her character. This narration would also often describe the conversation had but not in proper dialogue. Like it would say word for word what was being said but without quotations. It made for some awkward tenses, and then would switch back to dialogue. This could be an error, but it happened a lot, and it always drew me out of the immersion.

As mentioned above, there were some really important themes covered in this story, and I thought they fit really well into the original myth. However, with the way the narration and dialogue was written, it felt like the author was hitting you over the head with these themes, they were so blatant. An example of this is in the conversation between Eros and Demeter, so much of that interaction felt like it was there only to drive home the overarching points of the story. Psyche's internal monologue and narration had this as well. Sometimes a whole ebook page would be narration discussing the theme, with no paragraph breaks. If these themes had been more seamlessly integrated, and done more sparsely it would have been more effective. As a result, I found myself skimming a lot near the end, and many lines that had the potential to be quite impactful weren't.

As far as Psyche and Eros myth retellings go, this one had a lot of potential. If you aren't familiar with this myth and want to read a retelling, this one might be worth a try.

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