The Last Song of Penelope de Claire North

de Claire North - Género: English
libro gratis The Last Song of Penelope


The third book in award‑winning author Claire North's Songs of Penelope Trilogy, a "powerful, fresh, and unflinching" reimagining (Jennifer Saint) that breathes life into ancient myth and gives voice to the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men.
Many years ago, Odysseus sailed to war and never returned. For twenty years his wife Penelope and the women of Ithaca have guarded the isle against suitors and rival kings. But peace cannot be kept forever, and the balance of power is about to break . . .
A beggar has arrived at the Palace. Salt-crusted and ocean-battered, he is scorned by the suitors - but Penelope recognises in him something terrible: her husband, Odysseus, returned at last. Yet this Odysseus is no hero. By returning to the island in disguise, he is not merely plotting his revenge against the suitors - vengeance that will spark a civil war - but he's testing the loyalty of his queen.  Has she...

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Three queens there were in Greece
One beloved of Hera, who killed her husband and died.
One who belongs to the goddess of love and her name will live for as long as there is love,
And here it is at last, last book, The Last Song of Penelope
One who wed to the beloved of Athena...1-2024 mythology netgalley22 s Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)2,493 3,778

3.5 Stars
This is a solid conclusion to the Greek myth fantasy series that started back with Ithaca. I enjoyed book one but I struggled with book two. Thankfully this finale entry returned back to the elements that I loved at the beginning of the series.

This is another feminist character driven entry with strong interpersonal moments. the previous entries, this one continues to be slow paced. This kind of story is very dependent on the complexity of the characters. I felt these characters were interesting, but could have been stronger.

This book would have a higher rating if I loved mythological retellings more. I suspect other readers who can’t get enough of this fantasy subgenre will love this trilogy even more than I did. I d it, but I felt it played it a bit safe and I would have loved a more creative approach to the source material.

Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

fantasy series-complete13 s Marianne3,756 266

The Last Song Of Penelope is the final book in The Songs Of Penelope trilogy by award-winning, best-selling British author, Claire North. Odysseus is secretly back in Ithaca, posing as a filthy, smelly beggar while he checks out what Penelope’s been up to during his twenty-year absence. Telemachus has returned from his year-long search for his father empty-handed, from which the hundred suitors for Penelope’s hand deduce that Odysseus is dead: now is their time!

Odysseus and his son are plotting: the suitors must die. But Penelope isn’t fooled by the beggar rags or the act, and she’s quickly worked out what Telemachus and his father are up to. The odds look terrible, and even if they manage to slay all the suitors, that isn’t going to go down too well with their families and leaders. It’s bound to be a bloodbath with few survivors among them. So the clever Queen of Ithaca consults with her midnight council of women, and they make some contingency plans.

Some of the suitors describe Penelope as “tricksy” (there was that thing with the burial shroud for Laertes) and one of those tricks makes it easier for Odysseus, Telemachus and their tiny band when they carry out their massacre. Of course, the inevitable happens and soon they’re holed up at Laertes’s farm when the angry fathers turn up for revenge with mercenaries in tow.

All this time, Penelope is furious, about his distrust of her, and about the fate of some of her maids, so she’s denying Odysseus, never actually accepting that this man is he, referring to anything about her husband in the third person, which makes for some interesting conversations as she gets to comment on his twenty-year absence, and his poor behaviour, with some impunity.

It does take him some time to realise just how canny his wife is: “She was a woman alone, a widow in all but name, and Ithaca needed a strong king to guard its shores. This being so, naturally she would not turn away anyone who sought her hand, not least because if they were busy wooing, they would not be busy plundering, raiding or enslaving her peoples.”

There’s plenty of humour, especially when Laertes or Priene are participating: Priene tells Odysseus “Penelope is right – the isles need to have a king. You are the least awful choice. The one with the greatest story.” There’s also a bit of heartache when Penelope has to send the Egyptian packing, and her moving eulogy for one very close to her can’t fail to bring tears to the reader’s eye. And there are battles, with plenty of bloodshed despite some clever tactics.

This time, North uses the goddess Athena as her narrator who, with her emphasis on war and wisdom, offers quite a different perspective from that of Hera and Aphrodite. Odysseus may have been her favourite for a long time, but she’s coming to respect Penelope and see her intelligence and her worth.

North’s quick summary of the situation that many other poets describe is refreshingly frank, and quite delightful, at times almost tongue in cheek. Athena’s commentary on events and players, on the affairs of gods and mortals, is irreverent and often darkly funny, but also insightful. She observes: “Wisdom is not loud, is often unseen, unpraised, unremarked. Wisdom is rarely easy, too often an unwelcome guest.”

Even novices to the Greek myths and legends will be able to, with perhaps only a cursory check of Wikipedia, thoroughly enjoy North’s treatment of Penelope’s story. This is Greek myth at its most palatable and entertaining. Highly recommended!
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK.
11 s Karen884 113


This was my first reading experience with Claire North, as an author and I have mixed feelings about this last installment. I read this a couple weeks ago and it's the longest time that I have let a novel simmer in my mind after reading it and writing my review. I always write my review while a book is fresh in my mind with this being the exception. Anyone that takes the time to read my , I'm pretty sure knows that I love Greek Mythology feminist re-told tales. My favorite are the two by Madeline Miller which the clear winner is Circe, followed by her former which served as an introduction to her gorgeous prose many years earlier called, The Song of Achilles. I didn't in all honesty find The Last Song of Penelope, which is the final installment in Claire North's trilogy as beautifully written as Madeline Miller's two of the novels which Circe being the clear favorite. If you are familiar with Greek Mythology this can be read as a standalone. I did find Athena's voice and guidance in the narration to be the most compelling written aspects of the novel which Claire North executed brilliantly.

The first book in this trilogy is called, Ithaca, which is narrated from the Greek goddess, Hera's perspective who was Zeus's wife. The second in this trilogy is called, House of Odysseus, which is narrated by the Greek goddess named, Aphrodite with some of the Greek goddess Artemis, as well. This one being reviewed is called, The Last Song of Penelope, which as I said is narrated by the Greek goddess, Athena. Athena is known in Greek Mythology as the goddess who represents: war, wisdom and military victory, but also includes a representation of the arts. The second half of this novel was my least favorite part of the book since it is when Penelope realizes that the shabby looking man who had disguised himself as a beggar is her husband, Odysseus. The reason I didn't feel as engaged in the writing was because it featured battles where they took place at Odysseus's father's farm where Odysseus has followed Penelope's ideas, which didn't feel organic. Because I've studied this subject matter on a scholarly level extensively, I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I should have.

In this re-telling in the feminist representation starts out with descriptions of Ithaca being an Island that was thought inferior since the land is scraggy, scrub brush and rocky, who most of the other kingdoms of Greece felt it less desirable to inhabit. Penelope has reigned by her strategic fashion of not alienating the vast amount of suitors who wish to marry her. One Egyptian King is given more focus in the narrative which was instrumental in his involvement with Penelope and Odysseus's son Telemachus learning to fight. Odysseus has been absent for nearly twenty years which if you are familiar with Homer's "Odyssey", and, "The Iliad," in short where he spent ten years fighting in the Trojan War to simplify it. It actually contains much, much more. For the sake of this novel and review I have omitted a wealth of information. Odysseus took with him all the strong men of fighting age off with him to fight with the other kings and mortals. This left Penelope in a vulnerable position to deal with the suitors who think that she is a widow because of Odysseus's long absence. She has had to deal with an enormous burden being young when he left. There are other men who were also hoping to replace Odysseus as king which Penelope had to outwit such as pirates and King Menelaus, Helen's husband.

What is the difference between, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey"? They are both epic poems written by Homer, with the scholarly texts that I studied and both contain more than twenty volumes each. I'm going to give a quick and short explanation. "The Iliad," should be read first since they are sequential. The Iliad is the epic poem about the Trojan War which Odysseus was fighting among the other kings of Greece which accounts for ten years of his time away from Ithaca. While the epic poem of "The Odyssey," is the story about the survivor of the war and his attempts to return home. For purposes of this trilogy, and "The Odyssey," it is Odysseus who takes from seven to ten years finding his way back to Ithaca. In this novel, and trilogy, this leaves Penelope utilizing all of her wits to keep other men from and kings from conquering Ithaca with the help of her trusted maidens and women. She has kept her suitors at bay and her son Telemachus who is now a grown man has just returned from searching for his father by which he doesn't have any news of whether Odysseus is alive or dead because he was unable to locate him. We the reader know, that Odysseus is safe and hiding on Ithaca disguised as the beggar, who is watching Penelope in trying to ascertain if she is/has been faithful to him.

The first half was more engaging for me than the second half by which I have already said was largely about battles of which there is retribution from some of the fathers of the suitors fighting Odysseus for something that he did. Actually, there were two things that he did in Claire North's version that has enraged Penelope and were the catalysts for her going to find safety to shelter with her father-in law, who is at Odysseus's father's farm. Before Odysseus makes his presence known Penelope is feeling guilty towards herself, in her view she feels responsible for Telemachus's indifference and hostility to her. She blames herself since she reasons within that she was neglectful of Telemachus's upbringing since she was always preoccupied with saving the kingdom of Ithaca. She is angry at Odysseus for reasons I won't say because they would be major spoilers. It has more to do with acts he did after he revealed who he was, making his presence known upon his return, than the twenty years he spent away.

In the parts of fighting that I found tedious and slow, but then again someone else who reads this may love it for its action driven plot. Odysseus and Telemachus who follow Penelope to the farm, with a small number of men will find themselves fighting for their lives. It is here that I noticed Claire North's writing infused in the empathetic voice of Athena's narration to be stunning. Athena who is created by North to employ her voice of reason, and fighting for just causes. as the goddess of war and wisdom. Athena is seen as a civilizing influence with her wisdom of war, in sharp contrast to Ares who is seen as representing the distasteful aspects of brutal warfare and slaughter. I did this part when I felt the author's love of her central characters. One part of this is going to appeal to women as Penelope's is seen as the feminist icon who saves the the main characters by having her maidens and more warriors arrive within Elektra's army fight in an important battle. By bringing in women reinforcements where Odysseus, his father and Telemachus are outnumbered with each battle fought. As the battles proceed, and both sides rest and bury the dead. Next they regroup, and strategic decisions are made when their size of men left are greatly outnumbered by the opposition. As a feminist retelling having Odysseus portrayed as deferring to Penelope's decisions it works for this novel, but I found it unrealistic and that could've influenced my enjoyment of the first half to be more connected to the storytelling, characters and narrative to a greater degree.

In the final saga of Penelope, the song of Penelope is ending and the song of Odysseus's return to take his place as King of Ithaca again will happen if everybody is to be up to the task of cooperation. First it's up to Penelope to dig deep within her and with Athena's gentle guidance and voice it will test Penelope again to gather her wits and use her cunning to win a war for the fate of Ithaca. No matter what, or how grand the challenge, the lengths she will go to save her island and family, in ways that are unconventional and seldom done will surprise you.

Publication Date: June 4, 2024

Thank you to Net Galley, Claire North and Redhook Books, Redhook for generously providing me with my eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#TheLastSongofPenelope #ClaireNorth #RedhookBooksRedhook #NetGalleygreek-mythology-feminist-retelling10 s11 comments Kate O'Shea848 90

The final chapter of the Penelopiad and its been just as excellent as the first two. Claire North has managed a feminist retelling that has really told the possible story of the women in the Odysseus myth.

Penelope has been Queen of Ithaca for 20 years without her husband, Odysseus. She has managed the finances, outsmarted the suitors who told her that Odysseus was dead, she has (with her band of warrior women) beaten back raiders and those who would take her land. She is, in fact, more of a ruler than Odysseus had ever been (or had time to be what with the wars and the manliness etc).

And who comes here, into her Palace but a bedraggled beggar just wanting a crust from the table. Penelope is thankfully no fool and sees the badly disguised Odysseus for who he is immediately. However she also knows the situation needs handling with kid gloves. The suitors have been around for ten long years and their fathers are expecting one of them will be King of Ithaca at some point. They need appeasing. Telemachus, Odysseus' son) who came back from his travels with no news of his father needs his manhood protected and Odysseus needs to feel the conquering hero. Penelope begins her softly softly approach to all these puzzles.

However Odysseus, being the conquering hero, decides on swift justice - the suitors are slaughtered, the faithless maids put to death and ... and then. Well then the trouble really begins.

The Last Song of Penelope is everything it's predecessors were. It is smart, funny, sympathetic and one of the best retellings I've read. Claire North has imbued Penelope with the perfect traits for any wife who has ruled without her husband for decades. And how else would you survive but on your wits and with your sisters to help.

I loved it. I loved the first two - Ithaca and House of Odysseus. I'd urge anyone even vaguely interested in Greek myth or just enjoys a really well written novel to read them. They are all extremely entertaining.

Thankyou so much to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the advance review copy. Very much appreciated.10 s maven calore’s venice b!tch357 2 Want to read

I NEED THIS TO COME OUT RIGHT NOW. also is it bad that i ship kenamon (or whatever his name is) with penelope?
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