Psyche and Eros
Grade : D+

As I’ve said before, the myth of Eros and Psyche is my absolute favorite Greek/Roman myth. I’ve also said before while reading mythological retellings for this site, that an author doesn’t have to adhere exactly to the traditional storytelling frames to deliver a good version of a myth. God knows the Greeks and Romans did not do so themselves! Luna McNamara’s take on the myth of how Psyche and Eros fell in love is all right if you like complete flights of fancy which divert from the base myth, and you can forgive it for mashing Psyche’s story into a completely unrelated one. But then she makes Psyche into an unlikable, arrogant blowhard of a woman and all hope is lost. Sometimes it feels like her girlboss version of Psyche belongs in a novel about Athena or Atalanta, not the story of a woman whose emotional and psychological intelligence helped her win the God of Love.

Psyche’s father consults an oracle before she is born. Their declaration? “Your child will conquer a monster feared by the gods themselves.” Her father thinks his wife is about to give birth to a fearsome warrior, and is shocked when she produces a girl. Naturally, he takes this as a sign that he must train her to become a fearsome warrior prepared to take the Gods on. It doesn’t help that her grandfather is Perseus (!!), the man who slew Medusa, which makes her father Alkaios. Yep, in this version of things Psyche is either a version of Perimede or Anaxo, a princess of Mycenae, give or take which myth you read.

Psyche trains from a very young age to become a fierce archer and warrior, and grows arrogant in her belief that she will become the strongest and fiercest woman in the land. She can outride, outshoot, and outwrestle any man, and also hates every single one she meets. At thirteen, she was present at the wedding of Helen to Menelaus, even though she could not possibly have been old enough to attend. Also, Penelope and Helen and are somehow sisters now. She even trains alongside Atalanta, and becomes a rival in athletics of Achilles, whom she can outrace as a teenager. At the age of seventeen, she beheads a drakonius and becomes a full acolyte of Atalanta. Oh, and Iphigenia is Psyche’s beloved cousin.

As Tom Servo once said, it’s getting a little fanfictiony in here.

Elsewhere, Eros is tired of being Aphrodite’s lackey, forever the person tending to her grudges by firing off an arrow here and an arrow there in defense of her interests. He does this out of filial loyalty (he’s her adopted son, and older than her), even though in this telling he’s a primordial God. In any event, Aphrodite decides to curse Psyche with love, but adds in another caveat – if she and her beloved ever see each other’s faces, they will be forever kept apart. She does this because she’s angry that Psyche hasn’t sacrificed anything at her shrines like a “normal” teenaged girl should and thinks she needs to be put in her place and certainly not because she is jealous because Psyche’s beauty has become so celebrated people are worshipping her instead of Aphrodite.

Aphrodite, who reads an awful lot like the version of the goddess as seen in Xena, is the book’s only villain, by the way, as McNamara has removed Psyche’s jealous sisters from the equation here.

Also all of this takes place during the Trojan War.

You know what happens next. Eros fumbles his bow and pricks himself on an arrow (“Oh, fuck,” he says romantically as he falls for his beloved). Eros tricks Psyche into coming to an enchanted home, where he decides to keep her while shrouding his face in darkness. He calls himself Cupid so she will not realize he is Eros, an in-joke that I fear McNamara believes is funny. Then the two of them end up on a fetch quest or two, and Iphigenia’s insinuations set Psyche to worrying about who she’s really married to. The curse sets in, the tasks take place. But is true love assured?

McNamara nearly completely rejects Apuleius’ The Golden Ass to cook up a version of the Psyche/Cupid origin story that basically Cuisinarts forty million Greek myths into something that makes no linear sense. Look, I absolutely don’t mind the notion of Psyche being more physically strong or active, but somewhere in the middle of this retelling it feels like I’m watching Xena fall in love with Angelus. It’s as if McNamara decided that Psyche’s overwhelming beauty and suicidal despair were her only personality traits, not her innate kindness, ruinous sense of curiosity and her belief in familial loyalty, so she had to change everything about her until she had a perfect warrior heroine. The thing is that these issues could have easily been changed without transforming the character. If her tendency toward extreme despair and suicidal ideation is a problem, it’s simple enough to work your way around that plot point by using her emotional intelligence and cutting out the Gods making her tasks easier by offering her assistance.

Eros’ chapters are more interesting and more human, which just adds further insult to injury to McNamara’s attempt at turning Psyche into a warrior goddette. As more mythological characters pass by, a feminist message is poorly grasped at, and more ridiculous events take place, Psyche and Eros fails to justify its page time, and the reader’s attention span.

(PS: You will never be able to guess how Psyche ends up attaining godhood in this world!)

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: D+

Book Type: Fantasy|Fiction

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 13, 2023

Publication Date: 06/2023

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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