People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the altar of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.
But gods are known for their jealousy.
Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.
Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.
Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche by Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.
Even though I don’t normally read adult fantasy, I am absolutely obsessed with this book. Which, I guess is apt since Cupid’s magic creates obsessive infatuation, and arguably not love. Growing up, Greek mythology was my favorite thing ever. So, when Wendy Higgins first announced it, I was so excited. Cupid and Psyche’s story was also always one of my favorite myths.
For anyone to be able to make me invested enough in characters and a story based on a myth I’ve known by heart since I was six is a tall order. But Wendy Higgins does it easily and moved me so much that I actually cried when the expected “don’t do it!” moment happens (I won’t say what it is, but if you know the myth… well, you know what I’m talking about).
Not to be too
The depth she gives to Cupid, Psyche, and even Venus is amazing and really made me connect with each of them in a way I didn’t think possible. I really wanted Cupid and Psyche to be together as “people,” not just because the myth the book is based on has them as a couple.
I easily give this story 5/5 stars and sincerely hope that she will write more mythology retellings.
P.S. In the meantime, check out the Lore Olympus comic on WebToon for a contemporary take on Hades and Persephone (another one of my favorite Greek myths).