Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Destined by Jessie Harrell

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Jessie Harrell
Release date: November 17th, 2011
by Mae Day Publishing

Goodreads / Purchase

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined. 

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

 *A copy was provided by Jessie Harrell for review purposes*

Since I read Percy Jackson earlier this year, I’ve been really interested in Greek mythology. I hadn’t really delved into the subject before. I knew the names and that’s about as far as my knowledge went. But since Percy, I’ve realized how interesting it really is. As soon as I saw that Destined was a retelling of the Eros & Psyche story, I was instantly intrigued by it. Especially since I hadn’t read the original tale. I can’t comment on the comparison between the original and this retelling, but I was very pleased with Jessie Harrell’s modern take on it.

After refusing Aphrodite’s request to marry her very rude son, Psyche has been given a prophecy that sounds especially grim: She is apparently destined to marry a monster. Unbeknownst to her, Eros, who has accidentally nicked himself with one of his arrows and is now head over heals in love with her, is the one who arranged this so-called prophecy. He must then hide his identity and try to win her love.

Psyche is a truly sweet character that I completely adored. She is fun, stubborn and amazingly beautiful inside and out. Her life has taken quite a turn and I thought her reactions were up to par with my expectations. She wasn’t pathetic or extreme about it, she was strong, very mature and most important of all – real! I found her personality very refreshing. As for Eros, misunderstood and caring, he makes an easily likeable character and love interest. I felt his love and admiration for Psyche. I was rooting for him the whole way through. However, I found there was not a great amount of chemistry between the two until towards the end. Now for the other characters, as there are plenty: some of them that we came upon, I didn’t really care for, like Iris, Helios and Hestia. They seemed a bit unnecessary to the story except for adding more Greek mythology into it. However I did enjoy seeing Persephone and Charon. They held a more important role and their personalities were a fun addition.

With that said, there is quite a lot of Greek mythology mentioned in Destined. It’s not to say that if you’re not familiar with it you won’t enjoy it, but you may not understand or appreciate it as much as someone who knows the names and bios- at least a little. It gives the story much more charm if you know, for example, when Poseidon is mentioned, that he is the god of the sea. Some of it is specified in the novel, but not always, and never in great detail. Since I was familiar with most of it, though, I really loved getting reacquainted with the gods and goddesses in Jessie’s take.

Beautiful and heartbreaking, Jessie Harrell’s Destined is a delightful retelling that is full of crazy events and fun personalities. Even though I deduced them from the beginning, the twists and turns makes for an entertaining adventure. I would particularly recommend it to all Greek mythology fans. I look forward to reading more of Jessie’s novels.

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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31 Responses to “Review: Destined by Jessie Harrell”

  1. Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit

    I really enjoyed this book too! I love Jessie’s elegant writing style. This was my first time reading greek mythology. I didn’t enjoy the Percy Jackson books (I only made it half way through the first book and gave up). BTW didn’t you just LOVE reading the different perspectives?!?!

    Thanks for the awesome review 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it just as much as I did!


  2. Ron C. Nieto

    I enjoy and love Greek myth – and I like to think I’ve read enough to be familiar with culture, civilization and gods… That made me want to read this retelling.

    But then, there’s the issue that Psyche and Eros didn’t exactly get the happiest end possible – Greet tragedies are famous for a reason, I guess – and that’s really holding me back! I don’t want to get to care for the characters and their plights just to have my hopes (and theirs) dashed by, well, by destiny, at the last possible moment!

    I’m so unsure about whether I should take the plunge or not! Thank you for the review, you added a lot of positive points to my decision list!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

  3. Kelly

    I’m so excited to see that you enjoyed it. I’ve been dying to read this book, and your review was wonderful, making me want to read it that much more. And it looks like I need to get reacquainted with Greek mythology beforehand! haha

  4. Kathy Ann Coleman

    Great review. I really need to get this and read it. I am a huge mythology fan and love seeing how people interpret the stories and make them come even further to life. I think that’s what I love when an author takes on a myth or fairy tale. Something that is only a few pages long, normally, suddenly gets full star treatment. Anyway, now I’m rambling. 🙂 Bye!

  5. Giselle

    Thanks for the comments guys! 🙂

    @Jessie Harrell: Your welcome, Jessie! 🙂 Glad you liked the review!

    @Ron C. Nieto: I don’t know about the classic tale but Destined has a great ending!

    @Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit Yes I had seen your review on Goodreads and noticed you enjoyed it. And yes I loved the different POVs too!

    @Kathy Ann: I’ll be looking for your review! I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one, Kathy!

  6. Jenny

    Wonderful review Giselle, I really need to get my hands on this one! I’m a huge mythology lover and I think I know enough about it to recognize most of the names mentioned in the story:) That cover is absolutely stunning as well!

  7. Missie

    Cupid falling in love?! Well, as an avid romance reader, that appeals to me greatly.

    Like you, I haven’t really read many retelling of Greek mythology, so a lot of the name dropping that happens would probably be lost on me, but its a subject I’ve always been fascinated by.

  8. Mimi Valentine

    Oh my gosh, I love love LOVE Greek mythology!! I still haven’t gotten to Percy Jackson yet (although my cousin owns all the books), but I’ve read a ton of retellings over the past few months and now I’m dying to add this one to the list! Psyche sounds like an awesome character, and I want to root for Eros too! 🙂

    Awesome review, Giselle! I’m definitely going to pick it up soon!

  9. Sarah Reads Too Much

    This looks interesting… I have always had a thing for mythology too. You might want to check out Karsten Knight’s Wildefire – it is based in mythology (though not specifically Greek)

    I mainly wanted to thank you for being such a loyal commenter on my blog. I have been meaning to thank you for some time, actually, but I am HORRIBLE at commenting. I know, I’m a bad blogger. But I really do appreciate it!

  10. Hannah

    This book certainly looks interesting. I must add it to my to-read list 😀 It doesn’t sound much like the version of Cupid and Psyche that I heard, though. Oh well. Great review!

  11. Giselle

    Thanks for the love guys! 🙂

    And @ Sarah Reads Too Much: Don’t worry I know not everyone has time to visit blogs. I take 30-45 mins daily to browse my Google Reader so I comment when I see a post that interests me. 🙂

    @Hannah: I’m interested to check out the original now. I can’t say how much it differs from it.

  12. A Canadian Girl

    I love Greek myths so I’m obviously reading this one. I like that the characters feel realistic though the lack of chemistry at least in the beginning is kind of disappointing.

  13. Dani @ Refracted Light

    The original story is quite a bit darker, whereas even there was heartache, this retelling had a lighter tone to it. Eros and Psyche were fantastic characters, I agree. And Persephone and Charon were lovely secondaries. I like Persephone a lot actually… [hint hint… Ms. Harrell ;)]

    And you’re right, a knowledge of Greek mythology is helpful and makes for a better reading experience, but it’s certainly not necessary. Fantastic review Giselle! 🙂

  14. Sophia

    Hm, I really love Greek mythology and the cover for this book is GORGEOUSgorgeousGORGEOUS. But I’m actually not a fan of the Psyche/Eros myth. Maybe I’ll check this one out soon. 🙂