Tuesday 30 May 2023


Book review: Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara [blog tour]

I've been a big fan of retellings for many years now, and Greek ones are definitely the flavour of the 2020s (see Circe, Atalanta, AriadneIthaca, and many more). I was getting a little bit tired of seeing the same-old, same-old characters and myths being reimagined, as there are only so many different angles a story can take, so I was thrilled when I discovered that Luna McNamara's book delves into the slightly more obscure love story of Psyche and Eros, aka a mortal and the god of love (the Greek equivalent of Cupid). 

Eros has been around since before the Olympians, when the Titans still ruled the world. He didn't take part in the big revolution and has been living quietly on his own while many of the Greek gods were being worshipped and took an interest in humanity. That is, until he gets embroiled in a scheme from the goddess Aphrodite. He is supposed to make a human girl, Psyche, fall in love with the first person she lays her eyes on while simultaneously being cursed to be separated from him forever. 

Unfortunately for Eros, his mission goes awry and he himself is hit by the poisoned arrow and the curse. He immediately falls in love with Psyche, but also knows they can never see each other or they will be pulled apart forever...

I absolutely loved how this story started all the way at the beginning of time. We didn't just get a snapshot of a very small period in Greek mythology, no, we join Eros throughout his unimaginably long life, seeing him stay the same while the world around him changes and evolves. And then, for what is just a blink during his existence, we do stand still to witness the most important part of his life: when he stops being complacent and finally does something worth writing about. 

Psyche was a kick-ass character and I loved her from the get-go. While she was more warrior queen than I remembered her to be, her feisty, can-do attitude really suited her. Particularly when we get further down into the myth and she has to fulfil three seemingly impossible tasks to break the curse between her and Eros. 

Despite their flaws (Eros much more so than Pysche), their love story is heart-flutteringly wonderful and as a reader you cannot help but root for a happily every after. Author Luna McNamara has done a fantastic job establishing their romance. While, due to the curse, it's insta-love in nature, it's far more complex and relatable than the average fairy tale romance (and, despite the massive age difference, far less creepy too). 

That said, while I appreciate that a reimagining takes an existing story and changes it in certain ways, I did feel that this novel took a huge amount of liberties. Important characters from the original source material were erased, unrelated myths were woven through to add unnecessary background noise, and familiar relationships were changed to suit the narrative. 

The story of Psyche and Eros is wonderful and has had very few modern retellings. I wanted this entire novel to be about them, and only them. It didn't need the addition of overused storylines, such as the Trojan war and the relationship between Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. These characters seem to pop up in every retelling these days, when there's so much more mythology to explore that goes far beyond them. 

Personally, I want more of Psyche and Eros already. Their characterisations felt fresh and exciting, and I was massively invested in their relationship. I also feel that there's a lot more to them that is yet to be explored. The final chapter whizzes through what happens after the main myth. While it's certainly a satisfying ending to this novel (especially for the hopeless romantic), it does leave open the proverbial doors for further explorations about those years and decades.  

Luna McNamara's writing is exceptionally engaging and fast-paced while leaving plenty of room for characterisation and plot development. I sincerely hope she'll continue writing reimaginings. If not a continuation of the tale of Psyche and Eros, then perhaps she can turn her hand to another lesser known one – as she single-handedly got me fully invested in Greek myths again after becoming a little bit exasperated by an oversaturated landscape. I suppose all I needed after so much torture, war, and bloodshed was a happy ending!

Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara is published by Orion and you can now buy a copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara

This review for Psyche and Eros is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

1 comment:

Share Button