Trigger Warning: death, gore, violence
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel (Goodreads, 2021).
Things I Enjoyed: I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology so I knew from the get go that I would enjoy this book. Jennifer Saint’s literature background really shines through in her prose, which is phenomenal. There were so many great lines that I had a hard time picking only a few to highlight. I also enjoyed that this story was told from the perspective of women since so often the myths focus on the deeds of men and only highlight the misdeeds of ancient women. Lastly, Jennifer Saint’s commentary on the idea of what is monstrous, the corrupting influence of power and the pitfalls of immortality definitely leaves the reader with lots of food for thought.
Things I Disliked/Found Confusing/Would Have Changed: I honestly can’t pinpoint anything I’d change about this book.
Overall Thoughts: This is a refreshing take on a popular myth, made even more refreshing by its focus on a seemingly minor character, who if you look closely is really not so minor after all. Definitely a 5 out of 5 star read for me.
Quotes I Enjoyed/Found Significant:
The gods do not know love, because they cannot imagine an end to anything they enjoy. Their passions do not burn brightly as a mortal’s passions do, because they can have whatever they desire for the rest of eternity. How could they cherish or treasure anything?
Theseus had not left me, because I was at fault or because I did not matter. He had left because, to him, nothing mattered at all beyond the cold pursuit of his own fame. I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make me doubt the value of myself