Thank you, NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Jennifer Saint for the opportunity to read this book!
“The gods do not know love, because they cannot imagine an end to anything they enjoy.”Ariadne
Circe, Song of Achilles, Silence of the Girls, A Thousand Ships…Obviously, I am going to read this mythology retelling, Ariadne by Jennifer Saint which released on May 4th. Ariadne is a Princess of Crete. Her father is the cruel and terrible King Minos. After displeasing the gods, they send madness on Ariadne’s mother, Pasiphae who gives birth to a half-beast, half-human, called the Minotaur. King Minos then punishes the Athenians by having them sacrifice 14 young Athenians to be forced into the labyrinth and hunted down and eaten by The Minotaur. Ariadne hates the barbarity but then enters Theseus. She is captivated by his “selfless courage.” She decides to help him escape the labyrinth. After Theseus kills her brother, they flee Crete, but Ariadne is abandoned on an island. She is once again a pawn in the world of men and gods.
Ariadne is a very emotional read. As much as I love the heroines that are fierce and unapologetically themselves, I did love Ariadne’s character. Her story is one that is often overlooked in the myths of men and heroes. I am so glad that she finally gets her voice. One of my favorite aspects is her complex relationship with the Minotaur. While everyone sees him as just a beast, she can’t help but see the half-human side and the fact that he is also a victim of the god’s wrath. Speaking of other victims, I love how Medusa’s story is brought in and makes a full circle at the end. Ariadne also has a complex relationship with her sister, Phaedra and it is completely relatable. They love each other, but also see each other’s faults and try to help one another.
As I said, it is a very emotional read. No spoilers, but if you are familiar with the myth then you know that the ending is heartbreaking. It is a bit sudden, but the emotion is there. And as I think about it, maybe the abrupt ending actually makes it more emotional. One of the things that the author does really well is familiarize readers with the other myths that are linked to Ariadne’s story. Everything is linked and those who have read other retellings will recognize those links as well. Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!