Jennifer Saint returns with her next release, Elektra. Following three points of view, we hear the stories of the women affected by the classic story of Troy.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
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?
“Only the dead could leave Troy now.”
Elektra was an interesting piece of history brought to life by Saint. Following the same concept as Ariadne, Elektra follows the lesser-known women in Greek lore. This isn’t to say you won’t know them by name, but their stories are often not told with them residing as the main characters. The three points of view show the ongoings of two different areas, giving you a view into things beyond what most stories do.
“The House of Atreus carried a curse. A particularly gruesome one, even by the standards of divine torment.”
I enjoyed Elektra, until about the halfway mark. Things started to feel a bit dragged on, and I remain somewhat confused by the title character being Elektra. She plays a small role in the majority of the book, until about the halfway mark onwards. Instead, her mother plays a larger role. And the third oracle perspective felt unnecessary at best. While Cassandra is quotable and serves as the more interesting fantasy aspect of this tale, it didn’t really stand on its own, nor did it feel to play much of a role in the overall story.
“But no one peered into ashes to divine my future. No one intervened to try to stop me from becoming what I became.”
Jennifer Saint does do a fantastic job of making you consider the lives and roles the women in Greek lore may have played. We don’t always get the full picture in our history books (because, as my father likes to say, “The winners write the history books.”). How many men in these tales simply had a woman who understood her kingdom one step further than he did, and decided to use that man to get further?
“An enemy more hate-filled than any massing behind the walls of Troy and more surely set upon his blood than anyone living. Anyone except for me.”
This was, by no means, an unenjoyable book. It was simply a historical book that leaned too heavily on political setup than anything else. Ariadne pulled me in emotionally, whereas Elektra made me feel indifferent to its characters. I still enjoyed learning about these characters and their stories, and the turn of events was interesting, but not enough to make this a five-star review for me.
Thank you to Flatiron book for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and for including me in their book tour!