And so it is that love came to exist, the playwright claimed, each of us seeking our other half.
I laughed when I heard this. I had been present at the beginning of the world, and it wasn’t anything like that. It is a pretty story nonetheless, though nothing could be further from the truth for Psyche and I. There is no pretending that we were two parts of some cosmic whole—she was a mortal woman and I a god when we first met, each fierce in our independence. We were not severed halves; we were complete unto ourselves. It is possible that our paths would never have crossed at all had it not been for a chance mistake.
There is something powerful in this, I think. We were not in thrall to destiny or fate, but merely the weight of our own choices. When we turned toward each other like flowers facing the sun, we were not fulfilling some prophecy or old story. We were writing our own.
One of my favourite tales when studying Greek mythology was Psyche and Eros. It is one of the few tales that actually have a happy ending for the heroine in the story. I truly loved what Luna did with the tale of Psyche and Eros. She took their story and made it her own while still staying true to the original myth. This book reads like many Greek mythologies I have read before, but with some modern-day humour. This story has quests, battles, betrayals, and so much god and goddess drama. It is so fabulous.
The original story of Psyche and Eros is very short, which is why I loved reading this book so much because it felt like I got to know these characters on a deeper level. Luna breathes so much life into the characters of Psyche and Eros and gives them these larger-than-life personalities. This story is told from both Psyche’s and Eros’s POVs. For the first quarter of the book, these two characters don’t meet. Psyche spends her childhood training to become a warrior, and Eros tries to find his place and purpose in this changing world. Psyche is impulsive, headstrong, and reckless. She doesn’t want to be married off to some man and only be valued for her ability to bear his children. All she wants is to become a hero. Eros has a lot of those typical qualities. Greek gods and goddesses have. He is selfish, narcissistic, and doesn’t know what to make of the humans. But he does have a kind heart. I enjoyed spending time with these characters separately and as a couple. It was great watching them grow as a person or god and realize that they truly love one another and would do anything to be together.
Luna also weaves other mythological characters and stories in this book. We get to meet other characters like Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Odysseus. It was so much fun bumping into all these characters and seeing where they are in their own myths. For example, we first meet Helen when she marries the King Menelaus of Sparta. Something she is not too thrilled about. Later on, Helen is abducted by Paris of Troy, which sets the beginning of the Trojan Wars. Adding these details adds so much richness and entertainment to the overall story. The gods and goddesses are exactly like you think they would be. They are spoiled and easily angered, and they always seem to be doing schemes against each other. I loved all the drama they brought to this book.
Fans of Greek mythology will really enjoy Luna McNamara’s retelling of Psyche and Eros.
Thank you, HarperCollins Canada, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.