Review: Goddess of the Hunt

Review: Goddess of the Hunt

Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen is an enchanting poetry collection about the Greek goddess Artemis.

I was given an eARC of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5/5 stars.

An aesthetic for Goddess of the Hunt.

Goodreads description: A poetry collection about the mythic life of Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt. Told through the perspective of Artemis herself with the contributions of a few other Greek Goddesses. This collection reimagines and follows Artemis navigating her lifelong vow of chastity and, rather than suffering through it, owning it as a facet of her aromanticism and asexuality. Immerse yourself in a cultivated tempest of poems illustrating Artemis as a warrior, whose shoulders have known an excessive weight of responsibility, and who always fights to remain her authentic self among people who would change her.

A hand holding up an iPad with the cover of Goddess of the Hunt showing on the screen, in front of a white wall with golden specks of light reflected on it. The cover shows an illustration of Artemis looking back over her shoulder, holding a bow, a quiver of arrows slung over her back. Her hair is long and brown, her skin a golden hue. She wears a white dress and a headband with a crescent moon on her forehead.

Review

In this collection, Shelby Eileen has succeeded in creating a beautiful portrayal of an aroace goddess. I have loved Greek mythology since I was a child and if you’ve seen some of my previous reviews, you know I can be very critical when it comes to portrayals of it in fiction – but I absolutely adored this book.

Goddess of the Hunt tells the story of a young goddess finding her way in the world of Greek mythology, with all the uncertainties of a young person but also a core of strength. Reading it, I felt like this was a goddess I could pray to, a goddess who could protect me, a goddess who would understand me.

Artemis, age; The topography of her is territory and history and dawn. She defends her very essence day in and day out. Holds the entire world at arrow point.

A screenshot of part of a poem from Goddess of the Hunt. It reads:
my heart has been full / and absent of love / both at the same time / the quadrants of my soul / are wisteria scented / cypress protected / poppy-lined, and fig-sweet

The portrayal of aromanticism and asexuality was wonderful and affirming. I’ve always loved those Greek goddesses who chose a life of celibacy, and imagined Artemis and Athena to be asexual as soon as I knew what that was. They were independent and strong and didn’t take criticism of their sexuality. This is why I was eager to read Goddess of the Hunt, and it delivered.

Aside from Artemis herself, several other Greek gods make appearances in these poems. This created the impression that Goddess of the Hunt is just a small window looking into a complete world containing all these gods, and gave an insight in their relationships with each other. I loved that they were included; they made the collection feel more complete somehow.

Athena, age; While other Goddesses tend to their seasons and their elements, their riches and their beauty, she is becoming something that never loses. She is being fitted for bronzed gauntlets and her palms are shaping every weapon she touches into something that will make history with her; books and lightening, spears and men and shields and night. She is creating victory before there is even battle.

I recommend this poetry collection to anyone who loves Greek mythology, anyone who would like to read more aroace rep, and/or anyone who would like to read about a strong yet vulnerable goddess. I will definitely be reading Shelby Eileen’s other works, and look forward to anything they write in the future.

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