Hello, hello, hello.
Today I bring you a review and some comparative titles for the latest book I’ve read Ariadne (ARE-ree-AHD-nee or AIR-ree-AHD-nee, I’ve heard it both ways)! This is Jennifer Saint’s debut novel and is a look at a popular Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur. There is, however, another very important player to the story that is often mentioned, but then brushed away quickly: Ariadne. Half-sister to the Minotaur, daughter of Minos, King of Crete; she is often added as an afterthought to this great epic adventure…but what if we gave her the proper treatment? A forethought, if you will. After all, if not for Ariadne helping Prince Theseus, he would have never had the tools to slay the Minotaur and free Athens from the terrible game forced on them by the Island of Crete.
Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne is a look at the house of Minos with the lens of his oldest daughter in place. Ariadne is always added to the story as a few sentences, or sometimes as a minor character, but honestly, this whole tale is her’s to tell, and she’s the reason we know the name of the Minotaur. Would you like some comparative titles? Cool, cool.
Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson
This YA novel tells the story of Theseus and the Minotaur but with a twist: social media and a Big Brother-like reality show. I read and reviewed this book previously on my blog, so check out that post if you want more info!
You can grab a copy of this 2019 release using my Bookshop link, or by going through any of your favorite book retailers!
Circe & The Song of Achilles, both by Madeline Miller
Obviously these ones have to be included in any sort of conversation about Greek mythology retellings. They are the most popular and mainstream Greek myth retellings, and for good reason.
Circe follows Circe, a daughter of Helios who isn’t anything like what was expected. She didn’t take after her god of a father, nor her mortal mother. Instead, she’s something completely different altogether.
The Song of Achilles is about the Trojan War and the power that love, friendship, and duty can have to shape a war and an entire civilization’s history.
You can purchase Circe or The Song of Achilles using my Bookshop affiliate links, or any bookseller you choose!
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Norse Mythology explores a pantheon that is unfamiliar to most of us: the Norse! There are many more gods to learn about beside just the popular Thor and Loki…ever heard of Freya? Or Tyr? Gaiman breathes his own special storytelling life into these stories and many more. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite god or goddess after reading this one…
Grab yourself a copy of this book using Bookshop or your favorite retailer.
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
Wings follows Rue, a girl from Houston’s East Row. Her mother has been killed, and she’s been whisked away to live with her estranged father in a land brimming with magic and power and secrets. Rue is a selfless heroine, always seeking to do the best for others, even if that means she has to get hurt to do so.
Slide a copy of Wings of Ebony onto your shelf via Bookshop, or any other retailer.
The Belles & The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
Camilla is a Belle, born beautiful and able to give color and life to a world devoid of it. She’s always hoped to be deemed the Favorite of the royal family, but once she is, Camilla learns that there are nefarious forces at work and that maybe the life she has always wanted and aspired to isn’t as sweet as she thought it was…
Purchase a copy of The Belles here, and The Everlasting Rose here.
Meddling gods/authority figures
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
What if people never died? You could live for a hundred year, maybe more. No more disease. No cancer. No sickness at all, actually. The only thing one has to fear is gleaning by a Scythe: a permanent end to life and a means of population control. Everyone knows that their gleaning could be just around the corner, but no one fears it: its a part of life. Everything is going smoothly until Scythe Goddard, a radical, wants to see the ways of the scythe changed.
He faces opposition, of course, but what’s one opponent to a (seemingly) all-power person?
Pick up a copy of book 1: Scythe from Bookshop, or from any other retailer.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Honestly, at this point, who has read or seen The Huger Games? Futuristic society where the world has gone to shambles and is left in 12 districts ruled by a cruel and heartless President. Katniss Everdeen dares to threaten the way things have always been and upset the fine oiled machine that has been running for years before she was even thought of. But can she do it and bring peace to the land?
This link will take you to the 1st book in the series on Bookshop.
Ms. Saint and Ariadne were actually featured on an episode of Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! LTAMB is hosted by Liv Albert, who just released a book herself just a few months ago. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, but I just know that Liv brought her normal snark and feminist lens to look at this story with. If you buy her book, be sure to tag Liv on social so she can see her paper child in the world!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel like I was back in college, studying for my Classical Cultures final. If you’re expecting a magical, fantastical retelling, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’re searching for a (fairly) accurate retelling where Ariadne finally has a voice to tell her side of the story, tuck in and meet me on the Isle of Naxos.
Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint studied Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Ariadne is her first novel, and she is working on another retelling of an ancient myth for her second, revolving around Clytemnestra and her daughter Electra.
Ariadne was released on May 4th (US) by Flatiron Publishing, a division of Macmillan. For more info on Ms. Saint and what she’s up to, check out her website.
I’d like to thank Flatiron Publishing for providing me with my ARC to read and review. If you to purchase your own copy of Ariadne, you can use my affiliate link for Bookshop, or any of the other links here: