A review by aftereliza
Ariadne, by Jennifer Saint
adventurous emotional medium-paced
- Plot- or character-driven? Character
- Strong character development? Yes
- Loveable characters? It's complicated
- Diverse cast of characters? Yes
- Flaws of characters a main focus? No
This is the first review I’m writing of a book before it’s been published, so I’m very excited to share this with all of you! A big thanks goes to Headline Books and NetGalley! Review is also up on my website and Goodreads.
Ariadne is a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. From the very beginning, Saint’s writing is captivating and has an air of magic around it. She describes the backstory of some famous Greek myths relevant to the story, firmly centring it on the stories of women, who are normally sidelined or misrepresented in tales, such as Medusa. The book starts with the creation of the Minotaur, a vengeful act of violence against Pasiphae for her husband’s actions and focuses on the title character’s experience with this overbearing and dangerous presence in her life as a constant threat.
As the story moves on, Ariadne has to make a dangerous choice of helping the Prince of Athens betray her family and slay the monster, which means she would never be able to live in Crete again, or to let him be sacrificed, along with 13 others to sate the monster’s hunger and her father’s bloodthirsty desire to rule over Athens. What I loved was how this book intertwined not one or two but dozens of Greek myths in one story. While it’s always been a subject I’ve been interested in, I’ve not had a chance to read that far into it and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about more Greek myths about the forgotten women of history and their stories. Their stories were heartbreaking but I rooted for them all and when they suffered, I felt their pain. Saint has done an incredible job empathising with these women and highlighting their stories and how they came to be. I think this books is going to be a cornerstone for readers interested in modern retelling of Greek myths and it will sit on the same shelves as Song of Achilles, Circe and The Silence of the Girls. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Minor: Suicide and Sexual violence