Overshadowed by her sister’s fame, we are shown the life of Phaedra, from her journey in Crete to Athens. As we watch Phaedra grow up, from princess of Crete to Queen of Athens, watching as she grows her quiet life in Athens, amongst people that she does not trust, and people that force her to watch her
Book: Phaedra by Laura Shepperson
Publication Date: January 9, 2023
(Thank you NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review)
Tags: Adult, Greek mythology, royalty, fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Thrift Books | Abe Books
Read: January 3, 2023 to January 5, 2023
Phaedra has been cast to the side all her life: daughter of an adulteress, sister of a monster, and now unwilling bride to the much-older, power-hungry Theseus. Young, naïve, and idealistic, she has accepted her lot in life, resigned to existing under the sinister weight of Theseus’s control and the constant watchful eye of her handsome stepson Hippolytus.
When supposedly pious Hippolytus assaults her, Phaedra’s world is darkened in the face of untouchable, prideful power. In the face of injustice, Phaedra refuses to remain quiet any longer: such an awful truth demands to be brought to light. When Phaedra publicly accuses Hippolytus of rape, she sparks an overdue reckoning.
The men of Athens gather to determine the truth. Meanwhile, the women of the city, who have no vote, are gathering in the shadows. The women know truth is a slippery thing in the hands of men. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard. Until now.
Timely, unflinching, and transportive, Laura Shepperson’s Phaedra carves open long-accepted wounds to give voice to one of the most maligned figures of mythology and offers a stunning story of how truth bends under the weight of patriarchy but can be broken open by the force of one woman’s bravery.
Spoiler Free Review
Overshadowed by her sister’s fame, we are shown the life of Phaedra, from her journey in Crete to Athens. As we watch Phaedra grow up, from princess of Crete to Queen of Athens, watching as she grows her quiet life in Athens, amongst people that she does not trust, and people that force her to watch her back. As we dive into Phaedra, we see how this retelling of Phaedra’s life is spun with detail that leaves us wondering the lengths that Phaedra must take to take control as queen of Athens.
I gave Phaedra, 3.5 stars, enjoying the overall story of Phaedra’s life and time in Athens. I found that the story overall was quite interesting and learning about Phaedra was fascinating. She was definitely overshadowed by her sister, Ariadne’s fame and being able to read about Phaedra pushed me to research and learn more of Phaedra. I found the plot, women’s empowerment to be a great plot point of the story, especially the night chorus and just the growth of the women in this story.
The one thing I found that took away from the story was the points of view featured. I found myself wanting more of Phaedra and more of her voice rather than getting the other points of views. This was about Phaedra and to have all the other points of views made me lose a little interest and just dragged the plot a little longer. It would jump back and forth between the different women in Phaedra’s life that it got a little crowded and messy in terms of who was talking and who was truly important to the story.
The overall story of Phaedra was a little long for me and I just found myself losing interest with the points of views. Some characters that were meant to be important, like Medea, felt lacking in character and Medea’s powerful voice simply wasn’t as strong. She’s an infamous woman in Greek mythology and it would be great if she was portrayed to hold such power and fear, but, it was as if she was a regular woman and I wanted more from her.
The story of Phaedra was in total an interesting read and I did enjoy reading this book for the most part. As a lover of Greek mythology, it is always nice to be able to read various Greek characters and to see someone new like Phaedra.
Thank you again to NetGalley and Alcove Press for inviting me to read Phaedra and for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I hope you guys have a great day, please like and comment down below if you enjoyed this book as well or if you plan on reading it!