Review: Shelby Eileen – Goddess of the Hunt

I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Happy book birthday to Goddess of the Hunt!! You can now get a copy here!

Shelby Eileen has previously written the poetry collections soft in the middle and sunfish, and the poetry chapbook Sunshine, Sadness and other Floridian Effects (which is available for free here!).

“If you’d let all those rules crumble, she’d be perfectly free.”

Synopsis

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.

Expectations

When Shelby revealed that she’d be releasing an #ownvoices poetry collection with asexual and aromantic representation, I was immediately curious to read it. Unfortunately, there still isn’t a lot of good rep to come by, so I was hoping to see my aro-ace self in Goddess of the Hunt.

I’d already read Sunshine, Sadness and other Floridian Effects a while ago, and I loved that. I found Shelby’s writing style to be beautiful, so I fully expected to feel the same way reading this poetry collection. And maybe even more so, as this one is quite a lot longer.

“Raw one, they call her, raw heart so tender she cannot stand the sensation of someone’s desire on her.”

Review

I had high expectations for this poetry collection. Mostly, I was so excited to see own voices aro-ace rep! And I ended up loving this even more than I thought I would.

The representation felt so validating, and on top of that, the message of these poems as a whole was really empowering as well. I wasn’t having the best day, and reading them had me pretty emotional at times, but in the best way possible: it made me feel seen, and told me there was nothing wrong with me for being who I am.

All this would have been great in itself, but Eileen’s writing is just so beautiful. The poems were set up in different but recurring styles and formats, which could have easily ended up feeling messy. It’s impressive to me that all the poems together still made a very cohesive collection.

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