Author: Jennifer Saint
Publication: April 28, 2022 by Wildfire
Genre: Greek Mythology
Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple Books | Waterstones | Blackwell’s
The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?
It took me a while to read this because because although I did like the author’s previous book, Ariadne, I didn’t love it and I was worried I would feel the same about Elektra. But I shouldn’t have worried because I absolutely loved it. It’s even one of the best books I’ve read this year!
Elektra features three compelling women from Greek mythology that in the course of time become entwined into the infamous House of Atreus. First we got Clytemnestra, who became the wife to Agamemnon of Mycenae and is the twin sister of Helen. Secondly we’ve got Cassandra, princess of Troy who after denying Apollo became cursed with the gift of prophecies but to never be believed by anyone. And lastly but not least we have Elektra, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.
Clytemnestra was my favorite character. She was really fascinating. After Agamemnon sacrificed their teenage daughter Iphigenia to appease the gods and to get fair winds to Troy, Clytemnestra is beyond stricken with grief and vows to take vengeance on her husband when he returns from the war with Troy. The scene of Iphigenia’s sacrifice is always a heart-wrenching one to read. The way she and her mother believe that she is to marry Achilles but instead Iphigenia gets killed by her own father is a difficult one. But Jennifer Saint wrote it perfectly. I could really feel Clytemnestra’s grief and I don’t blame her one bit for wanting to murder her husband for it.
Cassandra has always been such a fascinating character to me. She’s a priestess of Apollo and wants nothing more than receive visions from the god that she venerates so much even though her mother warned her about how hard such gifts can be. One day she does receive this gift from Apollo but denies his lustful advances toward her and in turn Apollo curses her with never to be believed is she receives a prophecy. She’s the only one who knows that the return of his brother Paris means the end of Troy, especially when he brings back Helen of Sparta.
Elektra was the character that I struggled with the most. Her father left for war with Troy when she was still very young. And after her older sister Iphigenia got sacrificed by him and her mother returned as a ghost, not paying any attention to her anymore… well, I really felt for her. All she wanted was for her father to return and make everything right again. Although I felt bad for her, I also was very torn about her loyalty to the father that killed her sister. She just saw it as the will of the gods. So it wasn’t very surprising that her relationship with her mother was very strained, to say the least. But I also thought she was one of the most fascinating characters in the book.
Jennifer Saint’s writing was truly beautiful. I couldn’t get enough of the way she described everything. It was mesmerizing and transformed me back to ancient Greece, which is not an easy thing to do, I’m sure. I can’t remember being this taken with it with her book about Ariadne. But oh I can’t wait to dive into the next novel, Atalanta. I hope that it will be just as amazing as Elektra.
Overall, Elektra is a reimagining of the Trojan War told through the points of view of Clytemnestra, Cassandra and Elektra. This tale has been retold so many times before and I’ve read my fair share of them but Jennifer Saint managed to do this in a fresh, poignant and heartbreaking way. This book simply consumed me!
About the author:
Jennifer Saint grew up reading Greek mythology and was always drawn to the untold stories hidden within the myths. After thirteen years as a high school English teacher, she wrote ARIADNE which tells the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur from the perspective of Ariadne – the woman who made it happen. Jennifer Saint is now a full-time author, living in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children. Both ARIADNE and ELEKTRA are Sunday Times bestsellers.