As a massive fan of mythological retellings, I can safely say that Elektra reigns as one of the top Trojan war retellings I've had the pleasure of reading for the longest time. I'm going to be honest, I had my doubts about whether this novel would be any different from the other Trojan war retellings I've read. With Jennifer Saint’s choice of incorporating the voices of 3 different mythological women in Elektra, I feared that the intertwined viewpoints would only leave me confused. However, as I read on, the lives of Cassandra, Clytemnestra and Elektra were brilliantly woven together with the sole purpose of conveying the strength & voices of women that would have otherwise been forgotten in your typical greek mythological retellings.
Elektra follows three different stories that connect to the larger narrative of the Trojan war. With the POV of three women, the novel tackles crucial themes of female agency, betrayal, motherhood and estranged familial relations. I particularly enjoyed the complex relationship between Clytemnestra and Elektra. With her simple, yet poetic use of language, Saint was able to capture the whole breadth of their relationship, beginning with innocence and purity yet ending in boundless rage and betrayal. Many readers have commented on their dislike for Elektra as a character, but I would say that she is definitely my favourite narrator among the three. With her strong willfulness and determination to fight for what she thought was right, I admired her ability to stand up against her mother and protect her brother from any harm.
However, at the same time, I too empathised with Clytemnestra and her pitiful plight, and how she was driven to her wit's end due to her husband’s cruelty. Nevertheless, I appreciated having a different take on the trojan war. It was refreshing to read a retelling that had its prime focus on the women in greek mythology. Alternating between the different POVs gave me the chance to experience the intense emotions of grief, despair, love, and longing that Saint wished for us to feel while reading the novel. Most importantly, I wish to thank Saint for writing this marvellous novel as reading Elektra was definitely an interesting and valuable experience for me.
🖋️ 𝑭𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝑸𝒖𝒐𝒕𝒆:
“I stayed silent. I realised that when I had seen all those suitors clamour in the hall for Helen, I had believed they were there because they loved her, but I had been wrong. They hated her. They hated her because she was so beautiful and because she made them want her so much. Nothing brought them more joy than the fall of a lovely woman. They picked over her reputation like vultures, scavenging for every scrap of flesh they could devour.”
📌 𝑶𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝑽𝒆𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒕: A WordWanderlust’s ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Read
By Bren @wordwanderlust