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.
ADORABLE. Days after finishing Destined, I can’t stop thinking about it. And every time I do, I get this warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach. After a slew of contemporary and dystopian novels, Destined was exactly what I needed. This book retells the classic myth of Psyche and Eros, otherwise known as Cupid. It takes place in ancient Greece and while the story is set in the past, it’s given a current spin. The dialogue, mannerisms, and ways of thinking all reflect the present. This gives Destined a unique, incredibly fun flair. It’s also hard to put down and easy to love.
Destined reminds me of a mix between three of my favorite movies: Hercules, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. I think it’d be pretty hard to read this book and not make the Hercules connection. I mean, that’s where my basic knowledge of Greek mythology comes from. Harrell portrays all the gods and goddesses in a comedic and distinct light. At no point does it feel like she’s just relying on the reader’s preconceived notions of how these immortals should act. Harrell takes the time to characterize each god or goddess, bringing them to life in a refreshing manner. She doesn’t just accept that you already know who Aphrodite is, but instead shows you the real Aphrodite. I loved all the mythology and traditions present in Destined. I also loved the fantastical and sometimes frightening/creepy elements that reminded me of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. It wasn’t super creepy or anything, but just imagining myself in Psyche’s shoes as she faced the creature that “even the gods feared” allowed me to sympathize completely with how freaked out she was. Honestly, in her place, I would’ve been freaking out ten times more.
The relationship between Psyche and Eros is perfectly swoon-worthy. This is one of the few instances where I don’t want the amazing love interest for myself, but only because he and Psyche are so perfect together. I was rooting for their relationship from the moment they met. Harrell provides the benefit of switching between each of their points of view, which gives Eros dimension and substance, so that he doesn’t just come across as a physically flawless, yet empty shell. The only problem with seeing his point of view is that it’ll make you fall even more in love with him — and then silently beg Psyche to do the same. Even as I think of it now, I just want to read it again.
If you’re looking for the world’s most heartwarming and heart-achingly romantic love story, do yourself a favor and read Destined. Harrell’s writing style is succinct and elegant. She engages all five senses and paints amazingly vivid scenes. I’d also recommend listening to “Crack the Shutters” by Snow Patrol — Harrell’s “signature song” for Psyche and Eros — before, during, and after you read it. The song fits their story perfectly. And it’s also just plain beautiful, kind of like Destined.
Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Mae Day Publishing
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating [rating: 4.5]
Teaser Quote: Her touch sank into me like a sun-warmed stone. “This is what I’ve been waiting for. This day. I learned from my mistakes with Helen. But you?” She shook her head and smiled. “Oh, Psyche, you’re going to make me proud.”