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Hera – BOOK Review

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There is a new side of the Greek goddess of marriage, Hera, that we never expected to see, and it comes in Jennifer Saint’s new book. We were lucky enough to get an Advanced Reading Copy of her newest book, Hera, via Netgalley before its May 28 2024 release.

This is our first Jennifer Saint book, so we didn’t know what to expect. She has written other books, including Ariadne, Elektra and Atalanta. From what we’ve seen, she is writing about Greek mythological women who don’t get enough attention regarding books, if any.

The genres for the book Hera include Adult, Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction and Retelling.

Retelling Hera’s Story – In The Beginning

Hera is a fascinating retelling of the Queen of Olympus. However, when we meet her in the prologue, she is one of the warriors who helps defeat the Titan Cronus and his brothers. The story paints Hera in a new light where she is not portrayed as vindictive and bitter. There are a lot of changes from the original story like in this one, Hera is not swallowed by Cronus.

The story also largely takes place before the births of Zeus’s children, who will join the Olympian Council. At this point, Hades has not yet become the Lord of the Underworld and serves as Olympian. Hestia also has not given Dionysus her throne as he is not born yet.

One of the more exciting aspects is that Hera has affairs of her own, as she and Zeus are not married at this point and it is pretty much an open secret.

The story propels forward quite quickly as it references the births of several of Zeus’ children to different women, including Demeter, the mother of Kore (known in mythology as Persephone) and Mnemosyne, the mother of the nine muses. There are also mentions of The Fates. Let’s just say that Zeus has a lot of daughters.

The Human Problem

The book also details how there were two groups of humans and that Hera could not understand why they were such a big deal. The humans created by Cronus were peaceful because they worshipped only him. However, the humans created by Zeus are the total opposite, they get into constant fights.

Then along comes Ixion, a mortal king who is invited to Olympus. The second he lays his eyes on Hera, he wants her so badly that it is implied that he has violated other women. Zeus then comes up with the idea to have a nymph, powerful in the ability to create illusions to see what Ixion would do if he got his hands on the fake Hera.

Zeus’ Lust

A big part of who Hera is initially is her not wanting to become Zeus’ wife. He makes it clear that he wants her, but she denies him and runs away. However, he catches up with her disguised as an injured cuckoo (her sacred bird). She heals him and he ultimately violates her.

What’s unique about this portion of the story is that it is written so that it is clear what he is doing to her without being overly descriptive. This part takes a dark turn, which you expect for an adult retelling of a Greek myth. The original stories are not happy in the slightest.

Hera’s Revenge

Hera’s personality changes so much throughout the book, including giving birth to a son who does not have a father. We had to fact-check this, but the son is Typhon, the father of all monsters and husband of Ekhidna.

Initially, the plan is for Hera to use Typhon to usurp Zeus and Poseidon and rule as Queen regnant. However, Hera’s idea backfires when Typhon attempts to take down Zeus without his mother’s say so. He is instantly taken down and Hera is punished. She manages to convince her middle son, Hephaestus to free her.

Shaping Hera’s Bitterness

What’s fascinating about Hera having a book is that it introduces many gods, creatures and beings that help shape who she is. For example, she has two daughters with Zeus, and neither become Olympians.

Other thrones are added making twelve, alluding to the upcoming arrivals of Apollo, Artemis, Hermes and Dionysus. Moreover, Hera is fearful that Zeus will install other bastard children on those thrones.

Hera believes that her children whom she bore Zeus should be sitting on the thrones of the Olympians. While Hephaestus and Ares do, her daughters Hebe and Eileithyia do not and that upsets her. She also doesn’t take kindly to Artemis and Apollo when they arrive, yet her main issue is with Apollo.

Trigger Warnings

To end this review, we do need to stress that there are some trigger warnings in our book about Hera. These include:

  • Violence
  • Rape and Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Sex (spice)
  • Incest (as is common amongst Greek gods)

These are the main trigger warnings that stick out to us.

We’re rewarding the book about Hera:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She prides herself as a truth seeker and will do (almost) anything for coffee or Coke No Sugar. Oh! And food!

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