ITHACA by Claire North (2022) : Book Review


A very promising start to this series of Penelope Songs, the book starts with the perspective of Hera, the queen of the gods. The reviews are quite mixed about this character’s choice of a narrator but I personnally loved it. I feel like we don’t talk about Hera or hear about her enough. And even more, she’s a very straightforward but also full of sarcasm kind of person and that makes for an entertaining read. The book is a greek retelling of Odyssey (YAY for more Greek retellings), describing the journey of Penelope during Odysseus’s absence. We solely read about Penelope in this one. A very refreshing take of the myth, leaving more space to the women of the story we all know about. The place of the women and how smart they can be.

We are witnessing Penelope as a diplomate, a mother, a queen and all in the same trying to play a game to delay all the suitors and yet not being decapitated (imagine the stress!). A lot of things going on in this book, I must add that Claire North has a beautiful writing style, very poetic prose. For some, it might read as a slow pace so I understand if it was not to some people’s liking.

The only weaknesses of this book I found are the amount of characters and the ending. When I read this book, I imagine it as an accessible retelling so when you mix that with as much characters are the original Odyssey, it confuses the reader. I lost the attachment to the characters. Of course, it’s not Game of Thrones levels of characters amount, but for this specific Greek retelling purpose I thought it could do without a few actors.

Thank you to Orbit for giving me this copy to review!

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