Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week my Can’t-Wait-For Book is Orphia and Eurydicius by Elyse John!Orphia and Eurydicius by Elyse John
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 3rd May 2023
A stunning, enthralling story about unconventional love, the power of creativity and the courage of women who struggle to make their voices heard - for fans of Jennifer Saint, Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.
Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death?
Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she's been forced to learn. Hidden away on a far-flung island, her blood sings with poetry and her words can move flowers to bloom and forests to grow ... but her father, the sun god Apollo, has forbidden her this art.
A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. After wielding all her gifts to defeat one final champion, Orphia draws the scrutiny of the gods. Performing her poetry, she wins the protection of the goddesses of the arts: the powerful Muses, who welcome her to their sanctuary on Mount Parnassus. Orphia learns to hone her talents, crafting words of magic infused with history, love and tragedy.
When Eurydicius joins her, Orphia struggles with her desire for fame and her budding love. As her bond with the gentle shield-maker grows, she joins the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Facing dragons, sirens and ruthless warriors on the voyage, Orphia earns unparalleled fame, but she longs to return to Eurydicius.
Yet she has a darker journey to make - one which will see her fight for her love with all the power of her poetry.
Elyse John is the same person who wrote The Councillor as EJ Beaton – aka, one of my favourite books of 2021 – so obviously I lit up like a firework when I heard she had written a new book!
The author has already talked about how Orphia and Eurydicius is about ‘two people finding the mirror of their own queerness‘, and Shelley Parker-Chan called it ‘a bisexual retelling‘, so we know it’s definitely going to be queer! Which, given the amazing queer rep in The Councillor, doesn’t surprise me at all, but does make me happy. And it’s very clear from the book description that both the main characters are also gender nonconforming – not just by our modern standards, but by the setting’s standards: Orphia’s been trained as a warrior, but isn’t interested, whereas in the conversation around the book Eurydicius has been described as being gentle and soft, which is not what most people expect from a man.
It should go without saying that I massively approve!
I’m also pretty excited that we’re going to be seeing the Muses, Calliope, and Hera – goddesses who don’t usually get a lot of attention. Hera in particular is usually portrayed as pretty nasty, and I’m preeeeeeeeetty sure Elyse John isn’t going to do that, given that she’s called the book an ode to women’s voices. (And Hera just. Deserves more love, okay???)
Listen, I’m not usually interested in retellings of Greek myths – but that’s because it’s usually the same stories getting retold over and over, and the retellings often don’t do anything that new. Whereas I don’t think I’ve even heard of an Orpheus and Eurydice retelling before, and what we know about this one sounds incredible. And I already know Elyse John is an amazing writer from The Councillor.
So yes, I’ve already preordered this one. Why haven’t you?!