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Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire Hardcover – January 1, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Lester (Time's Memory) retells the tale of Cupid and Psyche, with appearances by some highly appealing lesser Greek and Roman characters, such as Oizys, goddess of pain, and the highly likeable Favonius, the West Wind, along with his other wind counterparts. Psyche comes across as especially sympathetic; her kindness is just as striking as her beauty. And even those familiar with the tale may be surprised at just how vindictive Psyche's jealous sisters can be, as they prompt Psyche to break her promise to Cupid (Cupid, who comes to Psyche only under cover of darkness, asks her to vow never to gaze upon his face or risk losing him forever). Unfortunately, the vague persona of the omniscient narrator here detracts from the pace and poetic details of the tale. The narrator reveals only tidbits of information about himself; for instance as he watches Psyche's wedding procession, he notes, "This reminds me of my weddings. At all six of them, the bride cried." He also conjures a rather contentious relationship with "the story," as when he raises the question of how it is that Psyche never detected Cupid's wings in all their nights of lovemaking: "I asked the story about it. The story scratched its head and looked very confused." Still, for fans of romance and mythology, this is highly entertaining. Lester casts the two protagonists as adolescents coming of age through the trials and ultimate triumph of their love. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)
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From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Psyche is a princess who is so lovely that people come to worship her instead of Venus, the goddess of love. When Venus hears that she has been usurped, she sends her son, Cupid, to shoot Psyche with one of his love-tipped arrows. However, once Cupid sees Psyche, he falls hopelessly in love. Not long after their clandestine marriage, Psyche's jealous sisters come to visit and plant a seed of doubt about her husband's identity, and the new bride's actions drive Cupid away. Her chance to redeem herself comes when Venus gives her a series of impossible tasks that she must complete to prove her love. As this tale begins, the style is humorous and promises a new and clever version of the myth, but the comedy peters out about halfway through. Although Lester explores the motivations and personalities of the players and introduces a few new gods and goddesses, the characters fall flat, and the final product is unimaginative. This retelling is interspersed with a self-conscious contemporary narrative that would work better as part of an orally told story. The novel does not hold up to Lester's masterful standard. It might be a good introduction for someone unfamiliar with the traditional myth and could be useful in a classroom, but those looking for an innovative retelling should look at Francesca Lia Block's Psyche in a Dress (HarperCollins, 2006) instead.—Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015202056X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152020569
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Everybody knows who Cupid is, right? He's the chubby little guy in diapers, who shoots people with arrows and makes them fall in love. Or at least that's how we picture him. I assume he probably wore diapers at some point, but this isn't that story. If you've ever read or studied any mythology, you know that gods were believed to be a lot like people. They made mistakes, broke the rules, did stupid things, and weren't always nice. This IS that story.

Though he is the title character, this story doesn't start with him. It all begins with a beautiful girl named Psyche. Actually, she's more than beautiful. Words don't exist to describe her beauty. Ask the letters, because they tried. Psyche is so amazing to behold that all of the people in the kingdom stop what they're doing to catch a glimpse of her on her afternoon walk. Her father, the king, fearing the economic failure of his country, limits her walks. As with most of the best laid plans, this one backfires. People quit working entirely to hang out by the castle waiting for the next time Psyche leaves. Then people from other kingdoms start to relocate, all to see this incredible creature.

Now normally the affairs of humans don't interest the gods. However, Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, gets a little feisty when her temples are being neglected. When she finds out that there is a human who is possibly more beautiful than she is and is stealing her attention... Let's just say the goddess of love is not immune to jealousy. And, being a goddess, she is in a position to cause some trouble. Enter Cupid, son of Venus, sent down to stir up some trouble.

Cupid has never been in love.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely delightful, funny, imaginative! So very glad that LOVE made me buy this wonderful book. The author has the best sense of humor and really knows how to tell a wonderful story! I encourage people to buy this beautiful little book for yourself or as a gift. You will not be sorry! I really want to meet the author.......he knows what he is doing. He makes me laugh out loud with his imagination. Read this book and have some fun!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this story about Cupid, but found the writing to be a little "precious" for my taste. Perhaps it I because I am significantly older than the target audience. I thought there was actually quite a bit of wisdom and wit in this "gods tale," but the cuteness of the writing held me back from rating it more highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book, in fact, its my favorite book. It is told with a tone of a southern story teller about my Favorite mythology love story of Cupid and Psyche. this book is unique and a great read by one of my favorite authors. Shipping was quick and I was very happy.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition Verified Purchase
I've had a black and white illustration of Psyche and Cupid framed in my room for a long time. This book gave me the background story, and I love the vernacular method of story-telling. Lester is a genius and I laughed out loud many a time, which is all I can ask for in a writer - and it also revealed my own foibles to me, which also made me laugh. Thanks, Julius and please write some more...quickly! We need more writers like you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I must say that this is the most unusual story that I have read for awhile. It took some time to get use to his writing style but after that things move and developed a little better.

This is a good read for young people as there are several stories with in the story.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a cheeky little book that tells the story of Cupid, Psyche, and the gods and mortals who work to keep them apart (and, ultimately, bring them together). I listened to this one on audiobook, which was pretty great -- the narrator's performance was right on and fit in perfectly with the book's storytelling vibe.

At one point, the narrator describes this book as a "philosophical novel", which is, frankly, spot on. There are lots of meandering paths through the meanings of love, lust, relationships, and bravery. At times, these asides pulled me out of the story, but overall, they were charming and thought-provoking.

I'd definitely recommend this book to teens who were interested in mythology when they were younger, and may not realize that there's a really racy, bizarre, fun side of Greek and Roman myths that little kids aren't privy to.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a story we've all heard before. Its all about greek Gods and how Cupid plays into that. But the author of this book is so good! He writes it like he is telling the story. It was a nice change from any other book I have read. I just loved it. I will read more books by him in the furture.
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