Clytemnestra Review

Hello, all!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; if a book is a Greek mythology retelling, I'm going to read it. Big thanks to the publisher for the copy of Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati!

Pub Date: 5-2-23
Adult - Historical Fiction/Retelling

Ever since she was young, Clytemnestra knew she would be a queen. As the daughter of the King of Sparta, she was raised to rule and isn't above using her fists or her cunning to get what she wants. After a betrayal takes her husband and child from her, Clytemnestra's forced to wed the brutal Agamemnon, the brother of her sister Helen's husband. While their marriage is unhappy, Clytemnestra seeks comfort in her children and solidifies her position as Queen. She uses her strength and intelligence to become a well-respected and feared ruler. 

When Helen leaves her husband, Menelaus, for Paris of Troy, Clytemnestra prays to every vengeance goddess that Agamemnon will die in the battle to retrieve her. But, once again, Clytemnestra feels the sting of utter loss and betrayal as she watches Agamemnon sacrifice their eldest daughter in hopes of securing a fair wind for his ships. Left to deal with the heartache of losing another child, Clytemnestra swears revenge on her husband. She seeks solace in Aegisthus, Agamemnon's cousin, who likewise holds a grudge against her husband. The pair begin scheming, and only that propels her for the coming years. When Agamemnon finally returns home, it's clear that the battlefield may have changed, but the war still rages on.

I find Clytemnestra such an interesting character, so I was immediately intrigued by this. Casati's writing was beautiful and descriptive and hooked me from the first page. Clytemnestra was captivating in her quest for revenge, and I liked how Casati didn't shy away from how brutal she was but still found a way to make you almost root for her. The plot did lose me a little in the second half because of all the time jumps, but other than that, I thought this was a stunning debut, and I'm excited to see what Casati comes out with next.

Rating: 4/5


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