by Costanza Casati
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date 06 May 2023
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark
Madeline Miller's Circe meets Cersei Lannister in a stunning debut following Clytemnestra, the most notorious heroine of the ancient world and the events that forged her into the legendary queen.
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best...
You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.
But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.
Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods' hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.
If power isn't given to you, you have to take it for yourself.
A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece for fans of Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.
“Crackles with vivid fury, passion and strength. A powerful, thought-provoking portrayal of a fascinating and complicated woman framed in beautiful prose. I loved it”–Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne and Elektra
"Powerful and sympathetic, Clytemnestra shines a light on Helen of Troy's overshadowed sister. Crafted with page-turning suspense, Casati spins a mesmerizing story of an ambitious warrior queen who must use all her skill to protect herself and those she loves from men who view women not as equals, but as pawns to be sacrificed upon the altars of lust, greed, and fame. An ancient and intriguing tale made fresh for today's 21st century battles." ― Liz Michalski, author of Darling Girl
"Bold and elegant, Costanza Casati's debut bursts onto the page in flashes of light. This book deconstructs Clytemnestra's infamy and then, with tremendous empathy and wisdom, reconstructs her into an enthrallingly complex figure filled with passion and spirit. This fiery tale of revenge and desire really is the stuff of legend―Casati's unflinching storytelling is irresistible." ― Sarah Priscus, author of Groupies
"Clytemnestra redefines the retelling genre with a heroine who, instead of enduring suffering, avenges it. Complex characters, stylish writing and a glimpse into the heart of one of history's most reviled women – Casati's Clytemnestra is a self-determined warrior queen" ― Annie Garthwaite, acclaimed author of Cecily
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 253 members
I requested an arc of this book solely due to the MOST BEAUTIFUL book cover and title I have seen in a while. I had never heard of Constanza Casati before so I wasn't sure what kind of experience I was going to have with this book and let me tell you I am STUNNED at how beautiful this book was. I am SO happy and thankful that I was given the chance to review such a gem of a read.
This book will transport you to another world where you will suffer right along with the main character, Actually, it would be more accurate to say that you don't just feel like you're walking along side her, but that you actually ARE her. You will feel every single emotion the main character feels. Whether its feelings passionate, all-encompassing love or experiencing that familiar deep, visceral feeling of wanting to enact revenge for being wronged, you will go on an emotional rollercoaster. This book felt PERSONAL and I'm still sitting here taking it all in.
Clytemnestra was an easy read in that its fast-paced and beautiful prose kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. It was absolutely riveting, and one of the most compulsive reading experiences I've have in quite some time. My ONLY complaint is that I wish it was longer as I wasn't ready to leave that world just yet.
I'm already planning a re-read of it and will be purchasing the hard copy version when it is eventually released.. Please do not change the cover. It is PERFECT!
Miss Constanza Casati understood the assignment and so I say without hesitation that this book is a solid 5/5 stars.
This was my first book reading from Costanza Casati, and I'm glad I was able to read this. I love Mythology retellings and am always excited to get to read a new project. Clytemnestra was exactly what I was hoping for and really enjoyed the way Ms. Casati wrote Clytemnestra. It felt like the original myth but was beautifully redone and still felt like the same story but different. I look forward to read more from Ms. Casati as I really enjoyed this book.
"In the stark light of the torch, Aegisthus wields his sword. It flashes forward, like a lion’s claws, then back. There is nothing elegant about his movements, nothing graceful. There is a kind of desperation in the way he fights. The sky bleeds above him, then grows darker, angrier. She holds her jeweled knife tight. She waits as he turns his back to her, making his sword whirl, and then she throws it in his direction. His head jerks back in time. He lifts the sword to his face, and her knife bounces off it."
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati is a great historical fiction that shines the spotlight on an enigmatic, complex, and fascinating woman of ancient Greece.
It is just fascinating and fabulous that a woman of Greek Mythology can be so notorious and talked about, but yet has had such a small voice and has been type casted and condemned (traditionally). Well, Ms. Casati is about to change all of that.
Invigorating, addictive, emotional, dramatic, and stunning are just a few words I can find to describe this gem. I was captivated from the very beginning and never wanted it to end.
Ms. Casati has a true talent and has made an ancient historical and mythological figure current, relevant, real, and human.
Thank you NG and Sourcebooks Landmark for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 3/7/23.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this author, but I love a Greek mythology retelling, so I requested an ARC. Thank you to netgalley, the author, and the publishers for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This novel was stunning, particularly for (what I believe is) a debut.
Although there were moments when I felt that the novel could have been shortened, there were just as many where I wished it wouldn’t end. The writing was beautiful and stayed true to the lyrical format/prose of old mythology, while managing to modernize some of the language. The characters were complex and complicated and, although the minor characters were numerous, even they were well-developed and purposefully written. For this genre, this novel really stood out to me in how thoughtful Costanza was in making tangible the relationships between the players and their complex feelings, which I experienced as I read. Again, I appreciated the attention that was given to characters other than Clytemnestra in this regard. It brought the book to life.
I really enjoyed reading this novel, and I definitely recommend it. I will for sure be on the lookout for more books by Costanza.
If you enjoy Madeline miller, or myth retellings you will love this. It was hard to put down to do my daily tasks, I ended up reading it in 2 days! Highly recommend it!
Absolutely breathtaking and hard to put down! There have been a lot of retellings of Greek myths from a woman’s point of view, and even a recent story of Clytemnestra, but this is just as good as Electra!
I really enjoyed this read so much I read it all in one sitting couldn't seem to put it down will definitely recommend to others to read as well thank you so much netgalley for approving me for this arc
This was an interesting book. I'm pretty familiar with Clytemnestra through other things i've read, particularly her killing her husband and the events of Orestes, but she was never the main character, so seeing the story from her pov is new. I also didn't know about her earlier life (the first bit of the book is modeled off later myths about her that I haven't seen mentioned much in other adaptions similar to this), but it added so much context to her story and why she does what she does that it's hard to imagine the narrative without it. The story starts when Clytemnestra is a child in Sparta, and goes through her killing Agamemnon, stopping before any of the later part of her myth takes place. I thought she was a strong, well-written character that gave voice to a famous, and maybe often notorious, character from Greek mythology. It's hard not to side with Clytemnestra here, seeing what she has to go through. While there are obvious parts where the author changed things around (like how Agamemnon meets his end), overall it follows the tone of the original myths well and was a fun read.
Clytemnestra gave a much more detailed and nuanced view of the titular character than has been given in the traditional mythology. Told from her perspective, her actions and choices are colored in a completely different way than in other tellings.
I really felt for what she went through; the way that grief and loss can shape a person’s choices. This was a super interesting read, especially if you’re already familiar with mythology!
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC copy to read and review. These thoughts are my own!
I’m a big mythology lover so when I seen this book; I knew I had to request it.
I really love having a woman’s point of view because most mythology retellings are from a man’s stand point and you don’t get to see the woman’s side or perspective. I hadn’t known much about Clytemnestra because she hasn’t been a main character in any of the stories I’ve read or research I’ve done. She’s very interesting that’s for sure. I’m not sure I’d compare her to Cersi though. I hated Cersi; I didn’t hate Clytemnestra.
This book was lengthy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There were parts of the book that drew me in and I didn’t want to put it down but then there were also parts that kind of bored me and I just wanted to either rush through it or just put it down. I think all in all, it’s a decent book. Would I have shorten the book, yes but then again it’s not my book. I would definitely buy an actual copy to put with my mythology collection. It’s a great read for people who love mythology retellings.
Told through the eyes of Clytemnestra, ancient Greek’s huntress, warrior, mother, murderess, and queen.
If there’s one story I could read retellings over and over of, it’s the Trojan War. They are always focused on Helen and Paris. I’ve always known Clytemnestra and been curious about her. I absolutely loved this look from her perspective. Helen is a secondary character, and really not all that interesting compared to her big sis. Clytemnestra is the perfect portrayal of revenge and female empowerment in a time when they had none. Even though I knew everything that was going to happen, it wasn’t any less intriguing. I wish this book never ended!
“Gods do not care about us. They have other concerns. That is why you should never live in the shadow of their anger. It is men you must fear. It is men who will be angry with you if you rise too high, if you are too much loved.”
“Lately kings and heroes have dropped like flies, but, just as her grandmother predicted so long ago, queens outlive them all.”
Clytemnestra comes out 3/7.
Huge thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks and Costanza Casati for this ARC. I read this book at the tail end of a mythology binge, and I loved this one. This book is all about Clytemnestra’s story, from details of her childhood in Sparta, all the way up through the end of the Trojan war. I went into this book knowing a lot about this story and specifically the women of the Trojan war. Even though I knew the story, the artistic take on this story still left me surprised and on the edge of my seat. I felt so emotionally attached to the story and every scene, even though I already knew the ending, which is something so special and so hard to do. I specifically loved how much of the book was focused on Clytemnestra’s life and childhood in Sparta. In my personal life, my mother told me and my sister stories of the strong and powerful women in Spartan lore. So reading more about the Spartans in this book really touched me in a way that I felt connected to the stories from my own mother. This book was powerful, emotional and empowering. I loved this take on Clytemnestra’s story and would recommend this to anyone who wants to read more Greek mythology.
(4,5 stars rounded up)
In "Clytemnestra", Costanza Casati has taken a woman who's frequently villainized in Greek mythology and given a fresh and complex take on her life and story.
Clytemnestra is frequently remembered for her role in murdering her husband Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus, after his victorious return after the Trojan War, but many forget that she's the sister of Helen of Troy. In this retelling, Casati starts at the beginning of her childhood, crafting a fiercely strong and protective woman who readily defends her siblings in wrestling matches - a common occurrence for both women and men and Sparta. She falls in love with and marries Tantalus, King of Pisa, and gives birth to their son, but her life is upended when her father, Tyndareus, enters into a scheme with Agamemnon and Menelaus of Mycenae. Tantalus and their son are brutally murdered by Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra is forced to marry her husband's and son's murderer; Helen is similarly coerced into a marriage with Menelaus.
In the years that follow, Clytemnestra works to solidify her position as Queen, juggling the roles as ruler, mother, and unwilling wife to a man she never loved. Her physical prowess and intelligence make her a respected and feared leader, but we get to see her moments of weakness when it comes to helping her siblings and the love she has for her children Iphigenia, Elektra, Orestes, and Chrysothemis. When her sister Helen leaves Menelaus for Paris of Troy, she prays that her husband will die in the future battle - but is once again has her world fall apart when Agamemnon tricks her and Iphigenia, and sacrifices his own daughter for a "little bit of wind" to allow their ships to sail. Clytemnestra has to deal with this loss alone, and in Agamemnon's absence, finds respite in Aegisthus, a traitor to Agamemnon's and Menelaus's family. Upon Agamemnon's return, she finally acts on the wish she's harbored for decades, having to face the repercussions of her actions.
I'm incredibly impressed that this is Casati's debut novel; the writing was beautifully crafted, descriptive, and flowed across passages and chapters. She took on the perspective of Clytemnestra, highlighting the complexity of her character, emotions, and thoughts thoroughly, and created a woman who felt real-to-life that many of us could connect and empathize with. Instead of a devious, traitorous queen, we're presented with a woman forced into a life against her will, having faced incalculable loss over her life, doing her best to protect her loved ones.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone, especially fans of Greek mythology retellings, and can't wait for its release in March 2023!
Everything you could want from a mythology-based fantasy. In the vein of both Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, fans will absolutely love this one too. I would venture to say that her name will soon be added to theirs when people are comparing books within this sub-genre of mythological/historical fantasy.
Clytemnestra is beautifully portrayed, strong-willed, fierce, unapologetic, and independent. Traditionally one of the most hated women in Greek mythology, this story brings a new light to her life. From her childhood through to adulthood, we see how trauma has shaped her life and her personality, and the effects that it’s had in the course of her life and on the decisions she makes. You will feel her anguish, burn with her rage, and vie for revenge right alongside her.
The story is full of complex relationships. It conveys the strength of bonds between family and friends, and the ramifications of betrayals. The ambient prose paints the setting vividly and builds the state of the world around you, in a time dominated by men, where women were consistently underestimated and wrongly treated. This story has a profoundness to it. It becomes an evocative experience, drawing you into the plights of the characters.
This book had me from the start and never let go. If you love Greek mythology, its fantastical stories, and the stark reality of its dark nature, should definitely read this one.
[As a side note, I have to point this out in the hopes that someone on the editing team catches it. I would consider using a search tool to look up how many times the word “frescoes/d” is used in this book, because it’s quite a lot. I know we all have our crutch words in writing (seriously, the amount of times I have to go back and delete the words “just” and “actually” in my own writing is appalling) so it’s totally understandable. But I think (if it is still possible at this stage) it would be worth it to either find places to delete this word, replace it, or find some other way to describe the setting instead because it got a little distracting. I kept finding myself being pulled out of the flow of the story when noticing that word repeated on every other page. (I will not be adding this to the reviews I share elsewhere. I’m only including here on Netgalley with the intention that it could be helpful feedback for the publishing team.)]
BY: COSTANZA CASATI
Costanza Casati has written a masterpiece called, "Clytemnestra," that is every bit as fantastic as my favorites called, "Circe," by the great, Madeline Miller. That is a masterpiece also, so this accomplished and ultra talented Author deserves the highest of praise for this novel. I love Greek Mythology, but so few can enchant and make you never want the book to end. That this is right on par with, "Circe," is a testament to how outstanding this retelling of "Clytemnestra," is. Reading it made me feel like I was hypnotized by its poetic prose. It is so addictive I felt like I was bewitched by Costanza Casati's siren song. I LOVED IT! It is also a favorite that I know that I will be recommending and talking about the fantastic reading experience I had to everybody.
Please do not change the beautiful cover, because I plan on purchasing the hardcover for my special collection. This will make a beautiful gift to friends and family. It far exceeded my expectations! I already knew "Clytemnestra's" story from reading "Helen had a Sister," by Penelope Haines, some time ago, which was my introduction to learning about Clytemnestra's life. Although, I enjoyed it immensely, it wasn't as comprehensive and as epic in scope as this one was. This lushly written account is far more detailed, and I don't want to sound unoriginal by saying that this chronicles Clytemnestra's life from the young Princess of Sparta, where she grew up. She was Helen of Troy's sister and this novel illuminates how much they loved each other and, how extremely close they were.
I had no idea that Clytemnestra had a first husband and child. I still don't know for sure if that was this Author's imagination and creative license. I am the type of reader who looks up everybody in this thrilling story and, I couldn't find a record of her first husband and infant son being in her life. Her first husband's name in this retelling is called, Tantalus. Although, this Author has a glossary of all of the characters in this story and she says he was King of Maeonia, and first husband of Clytemnestra. My research revealed him to be a Lydian king, son of Zeus and father of Pelops. It went on to say that as punishment for his crimes (which included killing Pelops), he was forced to remain in chin-deep water with fruit-laden branches over his head, both of which receded when he reached for them. His name is the origin of the word "tantalize". My research has no record of the kind first husband of Clytemnestra who bore her first born infant. Who both were murdered by Clytemnestra's father, Tyndareus, (King of Sparta), who conspired with Agamemnon to kill them, so Agamemnon could have Clytemnestra. In this retelling her father forces her to marry Agamemnon, who she hates for what they did to her first husband and her infant son. This Author may have decided to invent this using her creativity or maybe she knows more than I do. This is my only small quibble with this mesmerizing tale. Not knowing which version is correct.
Clytemnestra marries Agamemnon and it is not a spoiler to reveal what I have written about so far. I love and admire her strong will and goodness except to the ones that wronged her. I knew of her to become the Queen of Mycenae and that she goes on to have more children with King Agamemnon who its common knowledge--that he becomes commander of the Greek fleet during the Trojan War.
What he does is tragic to Clytemnestra and somebody close to himself and further inflicts the worst kind of heartache onto Clytemnestra to incite her to hate him even more, if that is possible. I agreed with her feelings of hatred towards him and was heartbroken as much as she is. Clytemnestra is a wise and loving devoted mother. Helen marries Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother who becomes King of Sparta.
That is all that I will disclose, but this is so filled with a beautifully written story of a fearless, yet compassionate coming of age story that encompasses Clytemnestra's young life as a warrior who could fight successfully. It includes her family of origin and her reign as Queen at a time when most men didn't respect women. She successfully rules as she is left for nine years while Agamemnon is off fighting Troy. This war begins because Paris, Prince of Troy, entices Queen Helen to leave her husband, King Menelaus and her young daughter in Sparta. I never knew that Penelope who marries Odysseus of Ithaca, was Clytemnestra's and Helen's cousin.
It bears repeating that the atmospheric imagery and the poetic prose is so suburb, that it is equally as spectacular as Madeline Miller's masterpiece, "Circe." This is a masterpiece and I feel grateful for the serendipity of my discovery of it being offered as an Advanced Readers Copy on Net Galley. You can't imagine how excited I was to see it on my Dashboard as approved to read and review it. It was pure bliss reading this and my fear is that I have read all of my favorites already and everything else will pale in comparison. If you have any interest in the Classics and in this case Greek Mythology you will absolutely love this as much as I did. You don't need any prior knowledge because the Author lists in the beginning of this all of the characters and what their significance is, with their backgrounds. I didn't need to memorize it because this very talented Author, Costanza Casati explains things so well into her narrative. I will definitely read anything that she writes in the future. If I could give this One-Hundred Golden Stars I would. I highly, highly recommend this! It is definitely a Favorite! Haunting! Poignant! Intimate! Unforgettable! A story that pulls you in at the very beginning and never lets you go. The sights and sounds are a feast for all of your senses.
Publication Date: March 07, 2023
Thank you to Net Galley, Costanza Casati, and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a positive review, but my enthusiasm is because it is a great book!
#Clytemnestra #CostanzaCasati #SourceBooksLandmark #NetGalley
This book was a great read, I really love this era of telling about Greek queens from their point of views and this did not disappoint
Clytemnestra is a new look at rhe Helen of Troy myth and instead of focusing on the boring Helen, we instead focus on her lesser known sister, Clytemnestra and her struggles through life cleaning up her sisters mess along with the rest of her family. Casati takes the Greek myth, removes the gods and divine intervention to humanize the story and it truly works. Casati truly breaks down Clytemnestra character and why she is one of the fiercest warrior queen's and mother's in the Greek mythos.
Let me repeat that: there is no gods in a Greek myth reinterpretation and it still works as a story. And the writing totally makes sense as to why the characters believe the gods meddle in their lives while actively showing other characters operations and how most of the events were not godly. And the story still works! I have yet to see that in a reinterpretation of books like these.
While I see many already saying there are no redeemable characters in this book, I truly feel sorry for Clytemnestra and truly understand her pain, rage, and the hunt for her own justice for all the horrible hands she has been dealt for in her life as a mother and truly feel for her.
Overall Clytemnestra is definitely on my must read list and I highly recommend you read it too, especially if you were a Percy Jackson kid.
Special thanks to NetGalley for an ARC!
By Costanza Casati
Clytemnestra is a princess, her mother, the queen. She comes and goes from the castle, behaves as all children do, seeking adventure outdoors. Helena of Sparta is her sister but still, Clytemnestra is the adventuress readers will want to know in this tale of an ancient heroine who has many objectives to overcome in her life. This book highlights them all, making it a read you aren’t able to put down, non-stop action on every page. Despite the fact the movement in the book, much of the action is dramatic, does not stop the fact that it comes to the girl, then woman, at a pace and and all would be overwhelmed. But, Clytemnestra holds her head high and prevails in it all, however the events play out. This woman, definitely a Spartan worthy of her own telling, tale, and book. Constansa Casati wrote it, simply titled, Clytemnestra.
Her sister, in youth, remarks that as a man, she would be one of the strongest fighters in Greece. Clytemnestra, knowing she must be the cleverest of all to prevail, working hard to make herself so. And the story of her parents are very important to the girl, her heritage, reminding her forever of where she came from and what she carries in her veins, not just the royalty, but the strength, endurance, and fortitude to be great, the greatest of all others. The girls are thought to be born from a mortal mother and a god but their father, King Tyndareus, loving their mother for her fierceness, doubts Helen (her sister) as his child.
Clytemnestra’s family is quite large, full of many brothers and sisters. They are all loved, all except Helen, by the King, as he thinks Leda (Helen and Clytemnestra’s mother) had taken with another man to beget this daughter. The rumors, stories, tales and jokes do not help the matter. But, whatever may come of this, whatever of the future, the sisters are close and nothing will part them. Will that always remain true? Their grandmother Gorgophone would tell them that they would be remembered, throughout history, over their brothers, their family, a dynasty of queens. Will that be true? Will both sisters be remembered?
The girl has learned much in her training, wrestling the Spartiates throughout her youth. This is part of her training as a Spartan, as part of the royal house, as a girl. The Spariates are the daughters of the best and noblest houses of the warriors of Sparta. They are to train with the commoners until they start a family. King Tyndareus oversees the training and fights and when Helen is challenged for her first fight, Clytemnestra has to do something that is against the rules, something never done. While royalty may burn, rape, steal, and kill as they like the only thing forbidden to them is to hurt a noble person. Will Clytemnestra always break the rules? But, will she only do that for those she loves?
A smart girl, growing into a woman, Clytemnestra disagrees with a glorious death over being shamed. The decision in living is what, I think, makes her a woman now, rather than a girl. Being alive is the only way to make it through life, as in death, there is nothing, you are gone and only a story remains, however victorious, or glorious it may be, only words whispered from anothers mouth. Better to be there to go on, seize the next day, and have a mighty victory for a glorious, long life. This thought, however, separates her from many of the other Spartans. How will Clytemnestra’s different ways of thinking about things (however smarter they may seem) create victories, or disasters, for her in the future?
In Costanza Casati’s story, we find all the good traits of a great woman, a wise woman, a worthy woman and readers need to read about this lesser told Spartan who we should have heard just as much, if not more than, her well known sister Helena. There is alot to enjoy, in Clytemnestra a book readers simply won’t want to put down, or, be able to.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmarks for this ARC. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to read and reviews this fantastic work. This was such a well done work on a complicated character. I thought the story did a stellar job of making these characters relatable. I don’t think I have enough positive words for this work. It was heart wrenching, and beautiful. I could not recommend this more to people who have read myths and myth retelling. Casati took on such a difficult character and absolutely smashed it.
Thanks so much to Sourcebooks Landmark books and Costanza Casati for an ARC copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. 5/5 I absolutely loved this book. The writing was captivating, the story was vibrant, and Clytemnestra was written so well. She is relatable, but seemingly untouchable. Flawed but strong. The whole story was just written so beautifully. This ranks right up there with the books I’ve read by Madeline Miller, and I’m sure this book will stick in my brain for years. Casati’s writing is poetic and lovely yet very readable. This is an outstanding debut and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future.
Thank you for the opportunity to read this amazing book. Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati is a retelling of the ancient Queen of Mycenae. Clytemnestra has a poor reputation in Greek mythology, known only as the evil wife that killed her husband, Agememnon, and took his cousin as a lover when Agamemnon was away at war. In Casati’s retelling, Clytemnestra is so much more than that.
This story is beautifully written and paced incredibly well. Clytemnestra’s character is so fleshed out and so well written that as you read you find yourself relating to her and feeling all of her feelings. The rage and anger she has sheds through the pages and you begin to feel angry for her. I am constantly looking for books that let me feel the character’s emotions and root for them and this did just that. I adored this book and would recommend it to anyone.
Knowing how Clytemnestra's story ends, I found it both heartbreaking and captivating to read about her journey to said end. Casati's Clytemnestra is a monumental tale worthy of the complex, enigmatic, and very human woman at the center of it. Casati maintains the atmosphere and epicness of Greek myth while giving voice to figures long left voiceless.
Reading this was empowering and gut-wrenching, and (as mythology retellings often do) has made me ponder the concept of history and who gets to tell their story and who decides what makes a hero. Fans of Madeline Miller and Jennifer Saint will love this haunting, tragic masterpiece.
Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing a digital copy of Clytemnestra in exchange for an honest review. Clytemnestra will hit shelves March 7, 2023.
Clytemnestra is a masterpiece. I've been searching for the feeling I get when reading Madeline Miller's books, but nothing has compared until I read Costanza Casati's new novel. Clytemnestra, princess of Sparta, sister of Helen, warrior, mother, and Queen of Mycenae, was an incredible character and a joy to follow. At its core, Clytemnestra is the revenge story of powerful women. This novel has solid and overt feminist themes.
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys feminist theory, myth, retellings, or wants to be sucked into an engaging story with a beloved central character. I can't wait to see what Constanza Casati does next.
As with most Greek Myths, this book contains trigger warnings for violence and rape.
Huge thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks, and Costanza Casati for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I love reading about Greek mythology - loved "Circe," "A Thousand Ships," and "The Song of Achilles." So I was excited to read Clytemnestra and am thrilled to say it didn't disappoint; it is everything I was hoping for.
Clytemnestra is fascinating to learn and read about. She is complicated, at times scheming, but intensely revengeful. Yet, she is also a mother who loves her children deeply and a protective sister. As Queen and in her husband's absence, she ruled ruthlessly but fairly, at least by "Ancient Greek" standards. Living in a time when females were almost powerless, she fought for respect and used hers wisely; she was courageous but also unforgiving when wronged.
The characters in this story are complex and well-developed. Although not all are likable, all will churn up your emotions. I also have to say you do not need to be familiar with Greek Mythology to enjoy this book. Still, even if you are and know the outcome, this book will keep you turning the pages and perfectly engaged.
I won’t lie, I went into this book thinking that it would be a cheap version of the song of Achilles or Circe. However, once I started reading I was captivated by the book. It’s on par with The song of Achilles, if not better. Clytemnestra went through so much in her life and still kept strong. I absolutely loved how she waited to long to get her revenge. The story was jaw dropping at times and I found myself looking up the author to see what else she has written because whatever it is I want to read it too. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.
This was a stunning book full of complex characters. I knew zero about Clytemnestra going into this and after reading it I just want to go research and learn so much more.
Casati has a beautiful way with words and her story telling ability. This book will be with me for a long time and I cannot wait to read more from this author.
This is a beautifully written historical fiction novel that tells the story of Clytemnestra. I was engaged from page one, and I thoroughly enjoyed how the author, not only told the stories of the characters, but delved into their emotions and cognitions to create depth and complexity. The reader starts with getting to know a clever, outspoken, strong, and fearless princess, and is taken on a journey through her rise to a fearless, powerful, and ultimately vengeful queen. In more than one way, this is a story as old as time. A strong and dynamic woman who spent her life fighting against the men trying to “tame” her, own her, and make her relinquish her power and submit. However, in the face of violence, loss and tragedy, she prevailed. She played the long game, but eventually took her justice.
Thank you to NetGalley for this arc copy! I couldn’t put it down!
Clyemnestra is a novel rich in detail that tells the story of a queen who we only know few things about. Though fiction, we hear a powerful story about a woman who lived at a time when it was a men's world, yet managed to thrive and rule. It's also a novel that is a fresh perspective of interpretation coming from Greek mythology that can be enjoyed by both lovers and those who don't care for Greek mythology alike.
This book is a must read for everyone and anyone! Personally, I couldn't put this book down from page one! I would love to see more books like this from Casati!
Even though I knew the basic beats of her life story and what would happen, I was still hanging on every word. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I put it down, which is what made it worth rounding up to a 5 for me. I also liked the format; having it split into sections made the time jumps less jarring. Clytemnestra is a masterpiece, especially as a woman with a lot of rage and a perhaps overdeveloped sense of justice myself. This is a morally grey protagonist done very well. I didn’t always think she made the right decisions and some things she does are just wrong, but I could always understand her motives. This is a Greek myth retelling that is absolutely worth your time.
Costanza Casati's Clytemnestra is an enthralling, engaging read. It was so hard to put down! Readers who have read and loved Song of Achilles or Circe by Madeline Miller will thoroughly enjoy this feminist twist on the legend of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Casati depicts the brutality of Ancient Greece and the role women had to play in society with such fierce sincerity. Clytemnestra, the long suffering daughter of Sparta and queen of Mycenae, is a striking heroine who yearns to be free. Casati's slow burn of Clytemnestra's revenge moves quickly enough that the reader will feel incredibly satisfied when her plans come to fruition. The graphic depiction of sex, rape, and violence may be uncomfortable for some readers, and this book is definitely for mature readers.
A massive thank-you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author of Clytemnestra for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this outstanding book! I appreciate it so much! This book is absolutely bewitching. It is fiery and dark and painful and retributive in all the best ways, exactly what I’d hope for in a retelling of Clytemnestra’s story. Clytemnestra not only does justice to its source material but also transforms it, adding complex perspective and depth to its characters, themes, and events. Its spiral into tragedy is compelling.
Part of what drives Clytemnestra’s intoxicating sense of immersion in the narrative is its structure. The book is split up into sections surrounding major events in the protagonist’s life, establishing temporality through time skips and flashbacks. This segmented structure works exceptionally well to pace the story. It adds narrative weight exactly where it needs to go, which is crucial in a story dotted with tragedy like this one, and helps to move the book forward with Clytemnestra herself. Also, establishing a consistent structure and style of immersion like this means that when the format is briefly broken-- like when suddenly the story is being told in letters, or the limited perspective suddenly shifts to follow a new character-- the contrast is all the more fascinating. Clytemnestra’s structure both constructs its addictive downward spiral and emphasizes the fleeting periods of happiness in the story to make the inevitable tragedies hit even harder, pulling the reader along with the protagonist as she descends.
The writing of Clytemnestra is even more absorbing than its structure. Every word of the book feels intentional and fitting for its setting, characters, and plot. The syntax and figurative language, especially its similes and metaphors, mirror Clytemnestra’s character arc through the novel: in just the first few sections the writing evolves, like her, from devoted and burning and focused to considering and tentatively unguarded, more and more relaxed and peaceful until the plot’s fever breaks into tragedy. It continues to develop as the book goes on with concise, articulated grace perfectly suited to Clytemnestra herself, and complements the book’s atmosphere with its imagery and emotional pull. I love how vicious the language of this book gets at points, especially in contrast with how refreshing its moments of delicacy or natural beauty are-- its imagery of changing seasons to note the passing of time is particularly striking when considered in the context of Clytemnestra’s emotional state and character development. Also notable is the dialogue, which itself is written thoughtfully and grippingly: each character has a distinct voice that matches, or in many more intriguing cases contrasts, the protagonist’s view of them.
Clytemnestra’s characters are utterly fascinating, which is crucial for a novel so driven by the reconciliation between humans and their agency when confronted with tragic fates and unfair societies. Helen is one of my favorite characters. I’ve never read a version of Helen quite like this one. Many retellings paint her as manipulative or aloof or cruel, which is interesting in its own right, but this story does its best to paint Helen in a thoughtful, sympathetic light. She struggles with her self-worth in the face of surface-level judgment and with constant comparisons to her sister. When her issues boil over the cover of subtlety and mildness she tries to fit herself to, she becomes understandably spiteful, then regretful, then desperate. Even after the Trojan War begins, Helen remains an interesting character in the mind of Clytemnestra, who has to grapple with the biased memories she holds of her sister: did the childhood perfect and unbothered version of Helen that Clytemnestra held in her mind ever really exist at all, or was Clytemnestra’s perception of her tainted by comparison? I love how Helen and Clytemnestra’s sisterhood is so complex. It develops through the novel realistically and intriguingly, not to mention Clytemnestra’s relationships with her other siblings and family members.
Other characters I especially enjoyed reading are Penelope, Odysseus, and Electra, but really everyone in the cast of this novel, no matter how significant their role, stands out as multifaceted with plenty of layers to consider-- Clytemnestra herself definitely included! She defines this novel as its voice; her perspectives are the ones the audience looks through. This book does a fantastic job of truly bringing its audience along with its protagonist and putting them in her mind while also presenting foreshadowing (the constant references to Artemis are my favorite example of this, knowing Iphigenia’s story) and dramatic irony to tinge the background. The audience processes the world through Clytemnestra’s mind, but they are given enough surrounding information to be able to see the faults in her reasoning and her flaws. Clytemnestra’s development is externally like a downward spiral; however, this book immerses its audience so thoroughly in her world that they cannot help but feel her rage at the injustice and tragedy she is forced to endure again and again and again. Making Clytemnestra into an understandable or sympathetic character is no small feat-- yet this book completely succeeds at doing so, painful and upsetting but also cathartic and contemplative, almost wistful and bittersweet in its moments of reflection.
The quality of this book that I think sets it unequivocally apart from others in this genre is its commitment to its narrative. Every part of this book feels deliberate; all its potential is followed through to the end. The book commits to its interpretation of events, be that through its own artistic liberty, character choices, or the brutality of its narrative, fully and completely. Many retellings shy away from their own struggle with uncomfortable parts of source material or reinterpret them in a way that is shallow, avoidant, or has questionable implications even and especially when attempting to modernize their themes; Clytemnestra, however, does not suffer this problem and is made better for it. This book leans into its decisions hard. It is violent and horrific when the narrative calls for it, never hiding from its own brutality. While this commitment does result in many extremely uncomfortable, disturbing, and otherwise upsetting scenes, questions raised, and topics covered, I feel that Clytemnestra presents them in a way which brings productive, meaningful light to the implications of the source material. Clytemnestra’s story is dark, tragic, steeped in injustice-- so the book forces its audience to look directly at the ugliness and see it for what it is rather than sidestep it in favor of a more comfortable narrative. Its commitment is commendable.
Ultimately, Clytemnestra is an absorbing, strikingly painful tragedy that draws power from contrast. It is disturbingly violent at times and hazily, near-nostalgically reflective at others, the writing itself crafting powerful immersion within the protagonist’s world and mindset. Its characters and interpretation of events are thoughtfully, evocatively written with depth in every aspect. It raises questions about the truth in a legacy, the sides of stories-- and people!-- overlooked or covered up, and the way people justify injustice itself. This is a brutally powerful novel with a fascinating lead character and message about the cost of being remembered. I loved it.
I stayed up late on a work night finishing this book because I just could not put it down. I am only vaguely familiar with Helen of Troy and the Trojan War. I know the basics you learn in school and some I've picked up reading other books. I feel like I completely missed Clytemnestra. Her story is heartbreaking but compelling. I loved the glimpse of Helen and Clytemnestra's relationship growing up. My heart ached with Clytemnestra's at her loved ones deaths. I'm so glad this is my introduction to this character.
First, I want to preface this review with the fact that I have not read The Song of Achilles, nor Circe. That being said, this book is one of the best books I've read in 2022-2023. It should be noted for those who may be sensitive to it, that there are a lot of casual mentions of SA, almost all superficially gone in to.
Clytemnestra is a book full of names I honestly cannot pronounce right, but had a blast reading anyway. I think the only name I got right was Hermione. But all of that aside, it is a very intriguing story about a Spartan woman and the experience and changes that vengeance brings.
From here there are some spoilers:
Clytemnestra goes through the change of a hopeful young child, to an uncertain woman, to a happy mother, a grieving widow, an angry survivor, and a then finally into the monster she has been trying to defeat most of the novel.
Throughout the story, you see how she ignores her mother's suggestion of not letting hatred and vengeance rule her world, else it turn her into something she doesn't recognize. I am kind of debating, did she turn into her mother, her father, or her husband Agamemnon. Also, would she then marry Aegisthus, if the novel continues into a sequel? (Yes, I am aware this is based off of Greek mythology and the outcome is probably already known by everyone else aside from me).
The story is very well written, it grabs your attention in the first few pages, and then starts to feel like a place you would rather be than functioning out in the outside world. Then it feels like a comfort show. The reading is easy, aside from the Greek names, and almost reads like a YA novel in level of ease. The plot is complete and the loose ends are tied in nicely, leaving room for more should there be a second book.
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive an arc in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own-
Girlboss, gatekeep, gaslight. Clytemnestra has it all. 5/5!
I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley/Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review.
"The face that launched a thousand ships." We all know the story of Helen of Troy, but not as many are familiar with the perspective of her older sister, Clytemnestra.
Since her childhood, Clytemnestra was born to rule. The daughter of a Spartan king, she is trained in body, mind, and will. She's often accompanied by her sister, Helen, and the two share an unbreakable bond.
"Leda's daughters will twice and thrice wed. And they will all be deserters of lawful husbands," a prophecy reads. This sets into motion the rest of Clytemnestra's powerful but tragic life.
Helen chooses to wed Menelaus, and Clytemnestra's life changes. Her love marriage is destroyed and her child killed, and she is forced to wed King Agamemnon. From there we pick up the story of Troy that most of us know, but Clytemenestra's perspective gives us a peek into what happened back in Mycenae when the Greeks fought the Trojans.
Casati spins a compelling and provocative tale that doesn't hold back from the brutalities of being a woman and a mother in ancient Greece. Throughout the book, the fortitude of Clytemenestra shines through, and it's clear that she is the real hero of the story, controlling her destiny in the only way she can.
Guilt, betrayal, sisterhood, and mothering are all strong themes throughout the book. Although some parts were hard to read (especially as someone with young kids), it never felt gratuitous. The characters are well-written and give us a different perspective on a well-known story.
The book compelled me from the beginning, and I flew through it, even though I knew the ending.
Fans of Madeline Miller will love Clytemnestra, and I'm excited to have another great mythology writer to choose from.
I loved this book and can't wait to see what else Costanza Casati writes. I'll be first in line to pick up whatever she does next.
Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5147447028?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Costanza Casati's "Clytemnestra" revisits, reevaluates, and retells the life of one of the most villianized women in ancient Greece's literature. Casati breathes life into a centuries old myth, expanding the content of Aeschylus' trilogy of plays (The Oresteia) to dive into Clytemnestra's childhood, family, and development into the woman hell-bent on revenge. It's captivating.
I'm a classics major and I have read (and loved) a lot of the classical literature centered around this Trojan War era. I already adored Clytemnestra's story and the tragic fall of the House of Atreus, and Casati's novel just expands the story in such a beautiful way. The writing style is gorgeous — rich in the animalistic metaphors and epithets present in original Greek writings, perceptive evaluations and foreshadowing of big mythical characters, and a digestible amount of history and myth retellings. Just absolutely amazing.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough. Though I had a wonderful time coming at this from the perspective of someone with an education in these stories, themes, and characters already, I think this is a very easy introduction for those who only know Helen as "the face that launched a thousand ships" or don't know Clytemnestra's name or the generic Greek mythology lover. Even as someone who already knew the basic plots, I learned so much by reading this book! I knew nothing about Clytemnestra's upbringing in Sparta and the drama around her siblings and their own mythologies. This novel also does a great job of connecting all of these intertwining but often told separately myths — Odysseus, Jason and the Argonauts, Helen of Troy, the House of Atreus, etc.
My only complaint is I wish that the book didn't end with (SPOILERS?) the murder of Agamemnon. This novel follows all of Clytemnestra's life, and therefore should really follow through on looking through her whole life. If you don't know, her children Orestes and Electra (who receive some great screentime and characterization in Casati's novel) murder her and her lover Aegisthus in revenge (good old cycle of vengeance). I really wanted to see Casati's take on these events, especially since some ancient authors (I'm thinking specifically Sophocles' Electra) paints Clytemnestra in a somewhat sympathetic motherly light. I would have loved to see this complex and victorious version of Clytemnestra tackle that story.
Nevertheless, this is a phenomenal revisiting of the story of Clytemnestra, and absolutely takes the cake as my favorite Greek mythology retelling! READ THIS NOW!!
'Clytemnestra' brings a fierceness to the mythical queen and a chance to expand upon her as a character. We're told her story from childhood, through her marriage and the end of the Trojan War. While Clytemnestra becomes a fully fleshed out character, so do those around her. Her family and life in Sparta are given plenty of time to grow on us as readers and the set up for who Clytemnestra is as a character is excellent. She's fierce and unyielding but also soft and mournful. There have been a few other retellings of Clytemnestra's story that I've really enjoyed but I think this will be my favorite because it feels triumphant. It does leave off the end of the myth, leaving us on the high of her victory and it's everything I could have wanted.
I loved this book. This was my first Costanza Casati novel but it will not be my last!
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I would first like to thank NetGalley for allowing me a early copy of this book.
I give this book 5/5 stars, which is very telling. Usually when I am reviewing a book like this I can be pretty nitpicky. but this book was just so entertaining I couldn't out it down. From start to finish there is always something going on. Its action packed and full of heartbreak, this novel was one I couldn't help but devour. I will really be looking forward to any more books Cistanza Casati has to offer.
*Thank you so much to the publisher for an ARC and netgalley for an ecopy in exchange for an honest review*
Honestly, if anyone gives me feminist Greek mythology I just about combust from excitement and Clytemnestra was absolutely no different, I'm COMPLETELY obsessed and fully intend to make it my entire personality for the next three to six months.
It's something about Casati's writing- lyrical, poetic yet gut wrenchingly brutal.
Few greek mythology retellings can attempt to capture the intensity of the original myths, and fewer still can succeed at this while still creating an astonishingly original novel.
Born to a king, betrothed to a monster. If you were coerced into marrying the man who murdered your baby, would you demand vengeance? Would you lie, like a panther, in wait for years, decades? Or would you act rashly, hastily, risking all you've come to hold dear? Clytemnestra knows which she'd rather. When the time comes, she would savour her sweet success. Chew it, devour those who would devour her.
Murderer, monster, mad.
Would these titles still apply if Clytemnestra was a man?
Mother, monarch, magnificent.
She doesn't think so.
In this sweeping epic of feminine alliance, betrayal, honour, and above all, the family shackles that bind and save us, morals are not definitive, but a slightly hazy point in the far off distance.
I absolutely ate this up. I've seen this compared to Madeline Miller's Circe and Song of Achilles and in terms of the beauty, eloquence and passion suffusing the novel I completely agree.
Clytemnestra has always been slightly overlooked, overshadowed by her more famous sister, Helen of Troy. Her story is so much more than this, I would say that the nuances and tragedy of Clytemnestra's life provides a more devastating epic, delving deep into themes of motherhood, grief, loss and love.
It's simply stunning. The myths leap off the page as vibrant as two thousand years ago, it's clear Casati's academic background has been put to great heights.
I don't have the proper words to explain the profound impact of Casati's writing- it's hard to explain, I think, because the writing was just so so good that even if I wasn't so enamored with aspects like certain characters it just doesn't matter.
I can't wait to see what else Casati can write, because if it's even half as incredible as Clytemnestra I know it'll still be brilliant.
Amazing book! Couldn't put it down. Easy to keep up with characters and relate to certain one's feelings and issues. I can't wait for another release from this author!
I think Clytemnestra is a Greek figure I know the most about, so I was excited to see what all Costanza Casati tackles in her novel — and how. I was so impressed with the humanity she gave this hated queen of ancient greece, and really enjoyed the ride. Fans of Song of Achilles and A Thousand Ships will eat this up!
Clytemnestra is a masterpiece. For lovers of Circe and modern tellings of Greek tales, this novel by Costanza Casati blew my mind. This fast paced and action packed novel had me swept up instantly and along for the ride. This is a story of power, gender roles, love, loss, revenge, with compelling Clytemnestra at center stage. This author is now an instant add.
Thank you NetGalley for this riveting ARC.
I love a good Clytemnestra retelling, and Costanza Casati has that in the bag. This is an incredible rendition of Clytemnestra's contentious story.
Greek mythology is usually fascinating, and this novel lives up to that expectation. I did not remember much of the Greek mythology I’d read, and certainly did not know who Clytemnestra was until reading Costanza Casati’s work.
Born in Sparta to a ruthless Spartan King, Tyndareus, and Leda, the intelligent, shrewd queen, Clytemnestra is brought up to be the same. She is trained to fight and to value power and dominance. Unfortunately, Tyndareus’s daughters would all find what is was to be their father’s pawns, traumatic for women who were trained to be strong.
Clytemnestra’s character is imagined with nuanced complexity. She rages with hatred, wanting vengeance for those she has lost, but is also capable of intense love. Clytemnestra is one well-written, solid protagonist.
Her royal family is also depicted in detail, especially Helen, who I’d incorrectly associated with Troy instead of Sparta. There is more than one version of Helen’s story, but now I will forever think of her as married off to a brute, used by her father for a power alliance. This story did not depict Helen as a demigod, though she was rumored to be the daughter of Zeus.
Ancient Greece is shown to be a harsh world, where Clytemnestra suffers unimaginable losses and indignities, but eventually rises to the top, to be a ruler like no other woman. While reading this novel, I had to remind myself that this is mythology, not history. This chronicle feels real.
I enjoyed this immensely, Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for this opportunity.
This was a fascinating story about Clytemnestra, the half sister of Helen of Troy. I wasn't familr with her so this has been a real treat. She's a complex and interesting woman, one who is often painted as a villian but this tells things from her persepective and is a real eye opener based on things I looked up after I read the book. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes mythological retellings.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC of this book!
“Kings are brilliant, mighty, godlike. Queens are deadly, shameless, accursed.”
Clytemnestra is a badass. That’s the simplest way I can put it. I could seriously go on and on about this character and the mark she left on me through Costanza Casati’s depiction of her in her debut novel.
Although I love retellings of Greek mythology, Clytemnestra’s name didn’t ring a bell for me when I first requested an early copy of this book. After reading, her name is one I will never forget.
This story beautifully explores grief, feminine rage, loyalty, betrayal, gender roles & double standards, justice, family and so much more. I wanted to read quickly to find out what would happen next, but I also wanted to savor it to keep it from ending. I feel like I know Clytemnestra now - that’s how real Casati made her for me. She is unbelievably strong, confident, outspoken and caring, and I just love her.
Casati’s writing was wonderful and beautiful. In a way, it is similar to Madeline Miller’s, but it is definitely not the same. Casati is a master at evoking the emotions of the characters and making the reader feel for them. There are so many soul crushing moments throughout the book, and each one was like a dagger to the chest.
I think I’ll end my raving there. But I will remember this book and Clytemnestra for a long time. I am so excited to see what Casati writes next, and I can’t wait for everyone to meet Clytemnestra on March 7!
Wow. This was an absolutely beautiful retelling of Greek mythology, focusing on Clytemnestra's story.
This one will stick with me for a long time. The writing was so polished and you could tell how well researched everything was. The imagery was wonderful and had me fully immersed in the story. Clytemnestra's internal monologue was rich and complex. There were times that it was like I could feel her rage dripping off of the pages.
Truly a must read for anyone who enjoys a good Greek retelling. If this is Costanza Casati's debut, I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.
Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Clytemnestra is a powerful figure in Greek mythology, intelligent and capable and strong. This retelling of her story is vibrant, a perspective of a girl who grows into a woman that shapes her own destiny with cunning, patience, and perseverance despite tragic and horrific experiences. The most inspiring and empowering tale of vengeance I've read!
Violence: High (rape, war violence, murder of adults and infants)
Sex: High (consensual intercourse, homosexuality)
Drugs: Mild (alcohol use and abuse)
"Better to be envied than to be no one."
So starts this extremely well written take on Greek Mythology by Costanza Casati. Clymenestra was a Spartan whose grandmother to her she would be a future queen and it colored her whole life.
Known historically as a villainess, she always had her heritage as a foundation to live up to. She was a powerful woman in a world that did not celebrate that.
Divided into five parts we see the young princess try to outdo her twin Helena. She chooses who she will marry over the tradition of being a pawn between kingdoms. She has a number of children along with marriages and/or affairs. She is her own truth, for better or worse
I am an unabashed lover of Greek Mythology ( I have the Odyssey of Homer- my favorite book- hanging on my wall) and will inhale it whenever I can. This book is a fantastic find and highly recommended. 5/5
[ Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. In no way did it effect my review]
This is an amazing story and beautifully written and the author's first time out of the gate1 I believe. She has been compared to Madeline Miller (certainly as regards subject matter), but she mines a somewhat different vein. While Miller has used the Iliad and Odyssey and Greek myth to spin spellbinding stories, Casati uses the ancient Greek characters from the Orestia . This marvelous rendition stays very close to the original tragedy, but puts more flesh and bones on the characters and her descriptive passages of landscape and ancient Greek architecture show an incredible amount of research. If the reader is unfamiliar with the Orestia, it is the classic Greek tragedy and one of the only ones that was preserved, intact, from ancient times. It is a classic story of love, power with patricide and matricide thrown in. Bloodier than Miller's work, but not in a grotesque way...how could you go wrong with the story of classical tragedy retold in an accessible was to modern readers without losing any of the complex context in which it was originally written? In Casati's hands it is a marvel. Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a ARC. If you are a fan of Miller's work, you will surely enjoy this one. Highly recommended. Available 3/7/2023
A brilliantly written book that leaves you empathizing and understanding why Clytemnestra felt she had to take the actions her mythology credits her with. One of my favorite types of reads are books with no good people, everyone is morally grey, and this book delivered on all accounts. Many times I found myself thinking that if I was in the same position as Clytemnestra, free of punishment for my actions, that I would do the same if forced to be in Clytemnestra's position.
***Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. ***
Thank you, NetGalley, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this prerelease book at no cost. This was my absolute favorite title obtained through you so far.
– – –
You may recognize the name from “classical texts” (written by men) you had to read for literature or history class. Aeschylus wrote of her in his play Agamemnon (though technically, the story is incomplete without the rest of the Oresteia), by Homer in the Odyssey, Ovid in Ars Armatoria, and Seneca in Agamemnon.
If you do recall her name, you might immediately associate her with the archetype of the “bad wife”. If you’d like to read something that turns history on its head, offers a completely different take on the mythic tale of the Spartan Clytemnestra and her sister, Helen [of Troy], have I got a book for you.
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati is thrilling. As someone who had to sit through entirely too much pantomimed literature written by long-dead white men, as a student of history, philosophy, literature, and theater, I felt pieces of myself that I had long ago closed off out of cynicism and bitterness crack open, letting the light in, and felt entirely reenergized by this mythic retelling.
In Clytemnestra, she is the main character. The entire book is written from her, a woman in ancient Greece’s, perspective. She’s not a perfect person. She’s not a perfect mother or a perfect role model. She’s not a perfect woman or a perfect feminist. But she has a traumatizing tale that will gain sympathy from all those who have any to give, as Clytemnestra’s heartbreaking, tragic tale unfolds.
Of course, Clytemnestra wasn’t perfect. She was probably too harsh in raising Orestes, (her son), perhaps to her own downfall (at least, according to classical literature). There were plenty of opportunities for her to take him aside after an altercation or training and reassure him, but instead she didn’t want to make him “too soft”. (Nothing good can come out of societies forcing genders to be raised to completely different standards. Ancient Greece – with its sexism, lack of women’s rights, inequality, rampant rape and abuse of women – is an example of where that leads.)
I’m not sure how much I can reveal of the plot without spoiling some of it for those who have never heard of Clytemnestra. I’m also not sure how much can be considered a spoiler when we’re talking about a story several millennia old. I guess I’ll try not to spoil the novel but I will consider her ‘story’ (the myth, the legend, etc) to be well-known.
Clytemnestra is Costanza Casati’s debut novel and that is a joyous revelation. I tried to find spelling, grammatical, or phrasing errors or even just little quirks that left a bad taste in my mouth and I found only one, and it was entirely forgettable. Casati possesses an intimidating level of skill and talent, a combination that must be the product of both education and raw ability. She masterfully wove this story – at once an epic, and yet so personal – for we see Clytemnestra from the other side, from her side, or even, our side. How did women live back then? We were silenced, so we can only imagine. Is this novel any more fictional than the myths from which its story is derived? I’d like to think not. I’d like to think this story is meatier, realer, stronger than anything those pale poets, philosophers, and playwrights of the past presented us with.
I’d like to think I’ve found the true Clytemnestra.
And she is glorious.
She is real, hurt, strong, suffering. She is loving, compassionate, and unforgiving. She does not forget. She knows how to hold a grudge. And she should.
In a world where men take women for their nightly pleasure, where they take women from their homes and families, where they take women away and never let them see the light of dawn rising over their homeland once again… in this world, we should not forget. We should hold grudges. We should live our pain.
Clytemnestra is often called a “bad wife”. She’s a trope all wrapped up in one character (or, more often, a caricature). What is often overlooked is her righteous fury, her vengeful wrath at the loss of her daughter. And the important question, why should a daughter’s/girl’s/woman’s life be worth less than Agamemnon’s/a king’s/a man’s? It shouldn’t. But it did then, in the times her tale was first told, and it probably would today, too.
In the source I link, the author contrasts Clytemnestra with the archetypally “good wife”, Penelope. What is interesting to note here is that Penelope is married to Odysseus and you will see what that means when you read this book, which you absolutely should. “Goodness” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ignorance isn’t bliss. Pretending you don’t see the crimes to which you are accomplice does not negate your guilt.
In Clytemnestra’s world, and in ours, women need to stand up and roar. Make noise. Take up space. Be seen. Be heard. Be impossible to ignore. How else can we leave our mark? If by no other means than by fulfilling the “bad wife” or “wild woman” archetype, we must be remembered. It would be devastating if soon there comes to be a new Dark Age of reduced women’s liberties, and yet that is often the direction the wind appears to be blowing. We cannot allow thousands of years of obedience and docility to pass again, cannot allow 51% of our species to fade into obscurity for the sake of niceties or polite company just because “nice girls don’t talk like that”, for it makes some people (men) uncomfortable.
We have made great strides toward progress in the 20th and 21st centuries, but with the repeal of Roe v. Wade in 2022, the disunited states have taken a massive step backwards, with ripples felt throughout every state. Even states that try to offer safe passage to women in need cannot do so under the crippling military state constant surveillance that the red states, which had treacherous trigger laws in place, have enacted and continue to expand.
We need more Clytemnestras in this world.
Be the queen that lies in wait within every woman. Protect your daughters with every fiber of your being (or avenge them if it is already too late).
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Haynes, N. (2022, March 28). Is Clytemnestra an Archetypically Bad Wife or a Heroically Avenging Mother? Literary Hub via Harper Perennial. https://lithub.com/is-clytemnestra-an-archetypically-bad-wife-or-a-heroically-avenging-mother/
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati will be released for purchase by the public on March 7, 2023. Wishlist it now and tell your book club about it. This author deserves recognition and praise.
Jeez Louise, was this book fantastic. I’ve read several Greek mythology retellings and this is one of the best. Certainly my favorite on Clytemnestra. She has one of the more heartbreaking stories and yet, I still found myself in tears several times even as I knew what was coming. This Clytemnestra was an absolute warrior queen and I loved her so much. I loved how we got more insight into her family, especially her relationships with her parents and siblings, Helen in particular. And her marriage with Agamemnon. WHOA. Every scene they had together was so stressful, full of tension and just brilliantly done. Also, this is a debut novel! I was honestly floored when I found that out. If you’re looking for a new Greek mythology book to fall in love with, absolutely grab this one.
PS. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand more: Agamemnon is a DICK CLOWN.
TW: mentions of rape and incest, animal death, violence, death of a child, domestic abuse, suicide
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advanced digital reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
I will admit I know the bare minimum, maybe even less, about Greek mythology but I am also drawn to these types of stories. Every author has their own story to tell and I always seem to be completely enthralled with this world when I pick a story set in this type of setting.
Clytemnestra may just be my favorite yet. The story was powerful, the prose beautiful. Some authors set the bar high with their debut novels and Casati has done just that with this one. The characters, the emotions, the plot, just really everything kept me turning the pages wanting to get to the end but when I finished I was sad it was over.
I can't wait to see how this author develops because if this book is any indication she has a bright future in the literary world.
Support the author! Shop local or my Linktree!
📚 “The gods can’t find you here.”
“As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten.”
👍🏼 Greek mythology retelling from titular character POV. The Greek myths always laid the heroic actions of the male heroes, but they were actually terrible people. It was interesting to see the events leading up to, and after, the Trojan War from Clytemnestra’s POV. She definitely gave off Cercei Lannister vibes, but in the best way. Her life was nothing but tragedy, but she refused to bend. In a world run by men, she successfully ran the kingdom of Mycenae for nearly 10 years in Agamemnon’s absence. The entire story was interwoven with depictions of harshness, desolation, and downright sadness. However, where the story left off in her life was surprisingly hopeful.
Thank you netgalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for and honest review :)
Did I just tag this as one of the best books of 2023? Why yes, I did.
This is the most illuminating account of the lead-up to the Trojan War that I have ever read, and I read just about everything having to do with Greek mythology. The author, Costanza Casati, brings her incredible knowledge of the ancient Greeks and of ancient Greek literature, and greatly expands the narrative we think we already know. Not only is her storytelling smooth and seamless, but also rich in every detail.
As the title suggests, this is Greek tragedy told from the perspective of the Spartan women. Most novels which cover this subject, begin with a narrow focus and expand to the exploits of the famous warriors. However, this author chooses to begin with an expansive examination of the family history, the cultural and religious practices of the time, topographical references, and even the elements of typical of modes of dress and of feasts. The depth of the relationships, and the flaws of each character further contribute to the rich tapestry, which eventually flows to a tension point of final confrontation and retribution. It's a unique approach, and an effective framework for tension building, even when we know how it ends.
If you are a fan of Circe, The Song of Achilles, Ariadne, A Thousand Ships, or Elektra, I can just about guarantee that you will connect with this book, too.
It's really hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Many thanks to Sourcebooks and #NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for review.
I requested this book because I LOVE retellings and reinterpretations of Greek myth. I am also a staunch Agamemnon hater, so this book was perfect for me. I think that this retelling works well with the source material and expands on Clytemnestra’s point of view in a nice way. Clytemnestra’s rage was palpable and you could easily follow her thoughts as she shifted through emotions. The writing is beautiful and I found myself highlighting so many quotes as I read either because of the beauty in the prose or because of the profound statements that were made. This book is easy to follow if you don’t already know the myth of Clytemnestra or the Trojan War, but having an understanding of them helps contextualize the events. Overall, this is a solid take on the myth of the Trojan War, and I will be adding a physical copy of this book to my collection when the book is released.
Clytemnestra was absolutely fantastical! Casati wrote a story that was so well written I found myself flying through the pages, unable to put the book down, pondering what would happen next. My favorite piece of this entire story was how believable the characters were.
The writing is clear and clean, and very immersive. The book hums along at a good clip, but the pacing makes sure we're given time to breathe between plot-intensifying moments. The story was absolutely engaging and the work that went into the settings was noticeable and superb. I felt absolutely transported and I'm so incredibly glad I was able to read an arc of this story.
For fans of Circe and A Thousand Ships, Clymtemnestra is another masterful Greek retelling focusing on the notorious queen of Mycenae, wife of Agamemnon. Casati brings this story alive exploring complex characters, powerful women, sibling relationships, injustice, and revenge. Her writing is accessible, even for those who do not know all the Greek myths. I highly recommend Clytemnestra!
Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy.
Mythology comes alive with the telling of Clytemnestra's story. The lives of Spartan women are detailed. Power is taken and in this case by a woman! Different stories are intertwined and family dynamics are fleshed out. All in all a vivid telling of ancient history. Thank you for a chance to read this debut novel.
I love anything to do with Greek mythology, now I am not a savant of it in any way but I do know my fair share. Clytemnestra is not someone that I have heard ever referrred to in anything that I have read. She almost reminds me of Hera, Clytemnestra has no forgiveness in her heart once she is wronged and she is wronged many many times in this novel. Her sister however is the infamous Helen of Troy who feels as though she lives in the shadow of her older sister. In this story we hear of Agamemnonn, who Clytemnestra is forced to marry after he brutally disposes of her Husband and Child while her Father the King sits back and allows it. On this day an anger and thirst for vengenance grows within her heart and she is more than happy to cultivate it. Costanza Casati brings Clytemnestra alive in a wonderful way, pulling you into the world of this strong, brutal woman. I found this book to be very intriguing and loved being wisked away.
Thank you #NetGalley for letting me read the eArc of #Clytemnestra by #CostanzaCasati in exchange for an honest review.
I generally love the retellings of Greek mythology, and this was no exception. I know Clytemnestra as the sister of Helen of Troy and the wife of Agamemnon and was intrigued to read more about her. This story really dug deep into her life starting with childhood, her tragic first marriage, and the heartbreaking events that shaped her life. It also shows the strength that manifests from grief and how hatred fuels revenge. I did feel everything from the Trojan war to the end was a bit rushed and I wished to learn more about Aegisthos and his motivations. But overall, this was a fantastic debut novel and I'm looking forward to more from Costanza Casati. Thanks to NetGalley for the arc.
I love re-tellings of Greek myths and I loved this book. Clytemnestra was definitely not my favorite character in Greek mythology so I was hesitant about reading this novel. However, this story surprised me in the best way. This is an amazing villainess origin story and a killer revenge story. There are other major character of Greek mythology included in this story but Clytemnestra outshines them all. The book did not get into the fate of Tantalus, Elektra, or any of the other memorable characters of Greek myth, which I appreciated. I liked how the story focused on her but I would have liked to have read about her demise/death in this book. It might have made the book too long thus I’m not too disappointed by this choice. I also loved how the Greek gods and goddesses did not feature in this story. None of the gods/goddesses make an appearance in this book, which made this book seem more realistic than a Greek myth. I’m so excited to continue reading re-tellings of Greek myths. Novels such as this one and Circe by Madeleine Miller have really cultivated my interest in this subject.
Fantastic and delightful tale of a strong woman from Greek Mythology. Not familiar to me, this book transported me to ancient times and I dived right into this journey. After doing a bit of my own research on this character it seems as though she tends to usually hold a supporting role. It was fascinating to read her telling from her point of view. This novel has so many facets; anguish, rage, pain, revenge... Such an amazing book. Thank you to Net Galley, SourceBooks Landmark, and the author Costanza Casati for introducing me to this incredible book. The cover is absolutely stunning and I plan on purchasing a physical copy just based on its beauty.
Feminist Greek mythology retellings have been having a moment, and I am here for it! Costanza Casati’s brutally beautiful tale tells the sweeping story of Clytemnestra’s life from girlhood through her reign as the Queen of Mycenae.
No longer will this formidable queen be a one-dimensional murderous footnote to Agamemnon or an afterthought as Helen of Troy’s sister. This Clytemnestra is bold, fearless, and empowered, quick to protect and defend those she loves. She is irrevocably shaped by the grief and unimaginable heartache she endures as those closest to her are cruelly cut down. It’s impossible not to feel compassion for the ravages Clytemnestra has suffered. Her character is brilliantly rendered: nuanced, wise, and fierce. The prose feels faithful to traditional mythology but with a faintly modern spirit, creating an ancient Greece that is immersive and totally absorbing.
Fans of Greek mythology are sure to enjoy this stand-out debut novel, especially readers of Madeline Miller, Jennifer Saint, and Claire Heywood. Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me an advance copy of this book.
I am an absolute sucker for mythology retellings, and this one was one was no exception. It was so good! Clytemnestra might be my favorite mythological female lead that I’ve read about so far.
Coming into this book, I knew next to nothing about her character, Sparta, and even Troy/the Trojan War, so not only was I entertained throughout, but I learned a lot. It was on the longer side, but it was paced well so I was never bored.
There’s no sugarcoating it, Clytemnestra went through it. She faced multiple tragedies (be prepared, it’s messed up), but instead of crumbling… she chose to reach for power and revenge. It was inspiring and just generally badass.
This was my first book by Casati, but it certainly will not be my last. Her writing is superb. Highly recommend this one for lovers of Madeline Miller (Circe, The Song of Achilles) or Jennifer Saint (Ariadne, Elektra).
The Greek retelling of the life of Clytemnestra. The novel begins with her as a young woman growing up in Sparta with her parents and many siblings, a princess. She was a strong and smart woman with a hard life, but she soon meets and falls for her first husband. The two get married and have a child together, a son. Her happiness is soon ripped from her hands because two visitors in Sparta, the two brothers from the Atreus line, have come for her fathers help to retake their kingdom. One, Agamemnon, has eyes for her. He decides his best option is to kill her husband and new baby son. Heartbroken and angry Clytemnestra is forced to marry this man and is taken to be queen in his lands. They do not have a happy marriage, she refuses to break or submit, but they have many children whom Clytemnestra loves with all her heart. After some more time in her life of trying, happiness is taken once more from her as Greece goes to war with Troy.
This novel shows us Clytemnestra’s life, how she is forced to the edge consistently, her happiness ripped from her, and she decides to fight back, she will not show her weakness because she is a daughter of Sparta, a warrior and queen. I enjoy historical fiction, especially about ancient Grecian times. This book about Clytemnestra’s life shows her anger and her love lain out for us, we see her struggle and fight not to give in to the world around her. A strong willed spartan princess capable of greatness, just biding her time. She waits for freedom, and to do that she must build and groom her patience for the day she can achieve such before death comes to claim her at the end of her life like all other humans.
I really enjoyed the writing style, it was so open and honest and heart wrenching. The author, Casati, absolutely put everything into this between historical research and her love. The use of the Greek terms was also very interesting, including a glossary for them in the back. The front also has a family tree for the two families, Clytemnestra’s, and Agamemnon’s. The history of Sparta and the rest of Greece is given to us in a very digestible form, including their war with Troy for Helen, from the eyes of a woman that sees it all. As Casati’s debut novel she makes a bright path for herself. I will be happily looking forward to more novels by her in the future.
This digital advance reading copy given to me by NetGalley and Sourcebooks, for an honest review.
Ever since I read Circe (and then Song of Achilles) I have been itching for more like those stories, and this book delivers exactly what I was looking for! With a strong female lead, and so much that is also taken from the Greek myths, I loved this so much! Definitely hope that there's more coming, especially to highlight other strong females from the myths.
It’s going to take a long time to get this novel out of my head. Clytemnestra, Queen of Mycenae, is given a fresh perspective, along with the other numerous famous Greeks of her time. I came to know Helen, Leda, Timandra, and all of the amazing women of her family in a new and refreshing light. Each character, even the ones I am meant to despise, truly come alive and I found myself attached to them. This was a truly beautiful and moving novel that I will earnestly recommend to friends and podcast listeners. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
This novel will be featured on an upcoming episode of Books Are Magical podcast.
THIS! This is the retelling we needed and deserved! Clytemnestra is full of righteous rage, a survivor, a queen, a loving mother and sister, a brilliant woman, a woman on fire. If anyone is familiar with the variations on the myth, we’re given the Euripides treatment, so it’s extra ragey but it works so amazingly well.
I loved the picture we got of Clytemnestra, Helen, Castor, Polydueces, and Timandra as siblings. And then later the picture we get of Clytemnestra and her daughters. There is love throughout, and that love fuels her along with her vengeance.
The end is both poignant and triumphant. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this book is. I would beg for this author to do a Medea retelling next (she’s actually mentioned in the story).
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a requested copy for review. All opinions are my own.
Received a copy through NetGalley. Clytemnestra follows in the footsteps of Madeline Miller's Greek myth retellings. Where Miller focuses on characters whose stories we've heard time and again, Clytemnestra's story bring a whole new perspective to the Iliad and the machinations of power.
Clytemnestra is always mentioned as the scorned wife of Agamemnon and that is that. What Casati is able to do is tell both the story of Clytemnestra as well as her sister, Helen of Troy and keep the focus on these two women. She is also able to trace the roots of political power and how many women had to run their kingdoms while the husbands are out playing war. You can absolutely see where a character like Cersei Lannister comes from, but Clytemnestra is also a Spartan warrior who can go toe-to-toe with any of the men in physical combat.
Casati develops a highly readable narrative and shows where the real power lies during war time. For fans of Madeline Miller, this is a great addition to the retelling of Greek myth.
What initially peaked my interested regarding Clytemnestra was that I found her to be a peculiar choice but I hardly have words for how wonderfully surprised I am with this book.
I have always loved Greek retellings, and I am so so so so happy to add this to my list of 5 star books. This is generally where I'd discuss that the story is about but my best advice is to go into this book completely blind and let the story carry you with it. Let this book surprise you.
Even if you do not have a base knowledge of Greek stories I feel like this retelling would be easy to follow along with. Contanza's writing truly blew me away and I cannot wait to get the physical copy in my hands so I can write all of my annotations down. At times I felt myself holding my breath is disbelief of how stunning this book truly is. The story is complex and wonderful and Clytemnestra is one of the best debut novels I have ever read.
6 out of 5 stars
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati. Pub Date: March 7, 2023. Rating: 5 stars. If you enjoy reading about greek mythology and love a good heroine, then pick up this book as soon as possible. Clytemnestra is a fierce woman who has been dealt a life most women would not survive, but she is bound and determined to live and make a name for herself. She deals with grief, tragedy, traitors, an abusive husband, but still finds a way to stand her ground and be dominant. I could not put this book down and read it very quickly. The imagery and story of Clytemnestra was stunning and I did not want this journey of a novel to ever end. Go pick up this novel because you will not be disappointed. Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for this e-arc in exchange for my honest review. #netgalley #clytemnestra
A detailed retelling of the life of infamous queen, Clytemnestra. My one caveat is that the pace and tone are slow and measured, just like Clytemnestra's suffering and vengeance.
Casati did a great job of showing us what made Clytemnestra, makes you understand her and thus root for her even though we all know this is not right. (What IS right and wrong anyway?) Equally with other characters in the book, their motivations are laid out, and if you know your ancient Greek history, we see the seeds being sown for other famous stories. And with so many big names (Jason, Odysseys, Theseus, etc.) you'd think it would be confusing but Casati does an excellent job of introducing them and weaving them in without confusion.
At times I was willing the story to advance faster but still devouring every detail, every fight, every glance, every scar.
There has been a trend of retelling myths from the female point of view. This is a particularly fine example. Clytemnestra was Helen’s sister and Agamemnon’s wife, and the mother of sacrificed Iphigenia. In this book. She is front and center, a most impressive and well developed character. This has great potential for discussion.
Okay, wow. After sitting on this review overnight, I’m afraid I don’t have the words for this incredible debut novel from author Casati.
“Sometimes I fear I am becoming the person I am pretending to be.”
Beautifully written, this book will capture the reader from the very start, sitting them down in ancient Sparta. When people discuss mythology, you often hear more of her twin sister Helen than of Clytemnestra. In the grand scheme, she and her sisters were lucky to grow up in Sparta, as her father was one of the few who believed in training women to fight.
With every wrong done to her, Clytemnestra dug in, found her strength, and carried on. It made her a hard person to love, but pain makes us build near impregnable walls. She is the epitome of strength and resilience because it is through our hardships that we find our strength. This is definitely a favorite for this year and will be a difficult one to beat. Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for the advanced copy.
“All the things I have done, I did to protect the ones I loved. Wouldn’t you have done the same?”
If it’s a myth retelling, I’m gonna read it.
Clytemnestra is known as the “cruel queen and unfaithful wife” in mythology. But, in Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati, we get a front row seat to the strength, heartache, resilience, and vengeance it took to get into the history books. I have always been compelled by Clytemnestra’s story- the less loved sister of beautiful Helen. The wife of lord of men Agamemnon. Mother of a sacrifice to the Trojan War. I have read about her in A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes and Jennifer Saint’s Elektra. I am so happy she has her own book.
Casati’s writing is cinematic- I could picture it all. This would make an excellent mini-series someday! I was sucked into the story every time I sat down to read. There were no dull moments, no dull characters. The reader has feelings about every action, every person. Helen and Clytemnestra’s friendship is sweet. Clytemnestra’s upbringing in Sparta is tough and foreshadows her strength and ability to rule and control ANYONE. Themes of family, loyalty, and revenge are strong throughout the novel, because there are so many ways that we can relate even in present day.
This would make an excellent book club pick. Clytemnestra’s character arc is ripe for discussing. We have family issues, marriage issues, feminine topics, motherhood, and strength to explore. My allegiance to Clytemnestra changed a few times as I was reading. And also, the best book club question ever— what would you have done in her place?
Please please please go get this book if you love mythology, strong character development, cinematic writing, Game of Thrones, etc etc…. You won’t regret it!!
Clytemnestra releases in March 7. Thank you to @netgalley and @bookmarked @costanzacasati for the advance reading copy.
Captivating, well written, and I loved this book! It was a treat to read about Clytemnestra’s early days and her first husband. A must read for any fan of Greek mythology!
Was I the only one that pictured the beginning of WW with all of the warrior women training?
Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the beautiful gifted ARC!
Wow! I just finished reading Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati. If this is her debut novel, watch out! It is so good. It comes out on 3.7.23 and I can’t wait to share my full review then. If you are a mythology geek like me, you need to pre-order this one. It’s perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and even fans of Game of Thrones. Clytemnestra is a fierce huntress, warrior, mother, murderess, and Queen.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Laura Cathcart Robbins
Brian Cox; Jeff Forshaw
Edited by Sid Holt for the American Society of Magazine Editors; introduction by Jeffrey Goldberg.