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Elektra: No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller from the Author of ARIADNE

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What a great read, I hardly can express my feeling, the story goes on magical, beautiful and fascinating.

Or perhaps it is more appropriate to say I never could figure out why she couldn’t provide a reasonable voice to what she was seeing. Life is rarely kind to the women in Greek tragedies as they live in fear of either the whims of the gods or of men. I know the basics of the Trojan War—Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse—but I was bleary on some of the more specific details, and even though I know the story of Cassandra, I somehow didn’t realize that she was part of this period.Cassandra is the infamous princess of Troy who was given a cursed gift from Apollo wherein no one believes her prophecies, so where does she fit into this family drama? I loved (while I hated) every second of walking through their grief and seeing all the different ways one deals with it. My huge thanks to Headline Audio via NetGalley for giving me a chance to listen to Elektra by Jennifer Saint, I have given my honest review. For readers who are familiar with the Classics and/or enjoy the plethora of retellings revolving around the Trojan War, it should not surprise you that there is not much about the Trojan War itself in the retellings that will strike you as completely new. The women are complex and it shows by their decisions and with the rationale and motives behind those decisions.

In Jennifer Saint’s prose you can hear the songs of the poets, feel the floors beneath your feet, smell the wood burning in the fire and experience the story of these three very different women as if you are there. Cassandra, Princess of Troy, is cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. There couldn't be a better opening sentence for me, I was instantly hooked and couldn't put the book down. In Jennifer Saint's prose you can hear the songs of the poets, feel the floors beneath your feet, smell the wood burning in the fire and experience the story of these three very different women as if you are there. A good book is when you immerse yourself into reading and are simply absorbed by the story, which is the case for me.

I’ve heard the stories about Odysseus and Penelope many times, but wasn’t familiar with Clytemnestra. The answers to these questions have no easy answer and are explored in all their grounded and tragic glory, adding human emotion and compassion to these women’s stories. It is clear that Clytemnestra ignored her, which added to Elektra’s problems, but I find that Elektra should have been able to reach some reasonable conclusions to past events that she willfully chose to ignore. Instead as Elektra takes the view of the sacrifice being god ordained- she cannot understand why Clytemnestra is grieving and hating her father.

And then we have some of the OTHER more memorable female characters from across Greece, on the other side of the war, to give a counterpoint, but it's weird and hardly necessary at all except to bring in the action that has been so missing from the primary tale. Cassandra arguably doesn’t belong in this story, but you can’t argue that her part isn’t interesting. Saint retells these stories as they’ve been told before, changing only the camera angles through which we view it, and the end result is… fine. Beautifully written, cinematic in its scope and highly compelling ; I flew through its pages and missed it immensely when it was over. While naturally, the women are not on the same side, never in the story is one the ‘bad guy’, each of them knows why they do what they do and narratively it makes sense.

If you’re familiar with mythology you’ll know Cassandra as a princess of Troy who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but like an awful human, she dipped out on him after promising him she would be his lover if he gave her this gift so he then cursed her so that although she does have the gift of prophecy, she will never be believed. Jennifer Saint explores how suffering is passed down generations in this compelling novel, told in rich and evocative prose. The book evokes so many thoughts and emotions that I never could pin one thought down in regards to the characters. Elektra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, unflinching in her loyalty to her father chooses to justify his actions as the will of the Gods and will do anything to exact revenge on those who were responsible for her father’s demise. While I didn't know much of the stories of Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra before reading, I was able to catch on easily to their roles.

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