My dear bookish friends,
If Greek mythology is your thing then you really have to read on – you will want this book for your collection!
As always, a huge thank you to TheWriteReads, the author, and the publisher for my ebook and spot on this blogtour (none of which influenced my rating in any way).
About the Book
The House of Atreus is spiralling into self-destruction – a woman must find a way to break the family curse.
Queen Clytemnestra’s world shatters when Agamemnon, a rival to the throne of Mycenae, storms her palace, destroys her family and claims not only the throne but Clytemnestra herself. Tormented by her loss, she vows to do all she can to protect the children born from her unhappy marriage to Agamemnon. But when her husband casts his ruthless gaze towards the wealthy citadel of Troy, his ambitions threaten to once more destroy the family Clytemnestra loves.
From one of Greek mythology’s most reviled characters – a woman who challenged the absolute power of men – comes this fiery tale of power, family rivalry and a mother’s burning love.
If you are a fan of Greek mythology and its retellings, surely you will know Clytemnestra. I had heard of her, but never read in such great detail about her life before. It took me a little while to get into the story and to find my way around the many many characters which are rather quickly introduced. It’s very helpful that there is a full character list in the book – if you aren’t an expert in Greek mythology (same as me) you will need that list! But there is no denying that once you have have started you will want to find out how Clytemnestra deals with all this misery.
Wilson made Clytemnestra’s story come to life from the beginning. Her many hardships, the many horrors she had to experience and endure made her who she was, and this book tells them in a very lively manner. It is very well-written but you are going to have to be ready for beatdown after beatdown – Clytemnestra really suffers a lot. Before you are even half-way through the book her first husband and her only days-old baby are killed and she is taken as a trophy bride. She promises vengeance and wants to kill her new husband, but instead ends up, well… just treated absolutely atrociously. Agamemnon, her abductor, you could say, is presented as just about as nasty, horrible and violent a guy as you could think up. I don’t know how accurate that is, but from a cursory knowledge of the story of Troy (and the Brad Pitt movie) it sounds about right.
Of course, all this leaves Clytemnestra in a state where she hates this horrible man, but is trapped by his side because of the children she has had. This time she wants to protect them with all her might. She ends up devoting herself to her children, but still yearning for vengeance against the man who has tormented, dominated and abused her so terribly.
In Greek mythology, Clytemnestra is known as Agamemnon’s wife, but also often as his murderer (though apparently her exact role in his killing changes from time to time, depending on who is telling her story) – after she had been in an affair with Agamemnon’s cousin. Revenge for her sufferings, but also for Agamemnon sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis. After you have read this book you will perhaps be able to understand her motifs a bit better.
What I really like about this book is that the author focused Clytemnestra’s story on where it all began instead of what most do – focusing on the big events that have been retold again and again. Wilson clearly put a lot of time, care, and research into this book. The writing flows very nicely, and there are so many details that make Clytemnestra’s story really come to life. I wasn’t a big fan of the swear words and at times rather foul language used, but from other retellings I know this made the men’s voices even more authentic. People who are triggered by this, and also by rape scenes and killings, should probably have a look at the complete trigger warnings first before reading.
This is a must-read for all fans of Greek mythology, especially those who want a detailed insight into Clytemnestra’s early life before she even meets Agamemnon.
4 stars for this well-written novel!
Thank you all so much for reading!