Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Published: 2021 Genre: Fantasy 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Hachette 3. Ariadne. Boston Library [CC BY 2.0] via flickr 4. Theseus Minotaur mosaic [Public Domain] via Wikimedia

In Greek mythology, Ariadne was a Princess of Crete. Her brother, the Minotaur was half-man, half-beast and roamed the labyrinth under the castle but he is slain by Perseus, a Prince of Athens. There are many versions of this story and in this retelling Ariadne, who with her sister Phaedra has helped Perseus to slay the Minotaur, flees Crete with Perseus leaving Phaedra behind. Ariadne is abandoned on the lonely island of Naxos where she meets the God of wine, Dionysus, and remains there with him bearing his children.

“I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing let me doubt the value of myself.”

“Ariadne” by Jennifer Saint
  • Glanceabook: The retelling of this ancient Greek myth feels fresh and modern. Told entirely from the point of view of Ariadne and her sister Phaedra, the story explores the themes of feminism and heroism. The drama and pathos of Ancient Greek culture is portrayed in excellent writing and it is compulsive reading.
  • The AU Review: Ariadne remains an engaging read, and Saint makes fine use of the malleability of mythology to change perceptions of hero, god, and victim. Whether it would have benefited from extra space for Phaedra, or, alternatively, a more streamlined focus is up for debate, but Ariadne herself carries the bulk of the novel with the expected dignity of a Minoan princess – beleaguered but battling on.”
  • Readings: “Blood-soaked and visceral, Ariadne isn’t simply the story of the naive princess of Minos who betrays her family for love and is betrayed herself. It is the story of a girl who grows into adulthood and learns her own strength. It’s the story of two sisters who are bound by the violence committed against their mother. And it’s the story about how history celebrates the glory of men, when perhaps it should remember the sacrifices of women.”

Quotes:

“As a child, the twists and turns of the palace at Knossos were endlessly fascinating to me. I would loop through the bewildering multitude of rooms, skating my palm across the smooth red walls as I drifted through snaking passageways. My fingers traced the outline of the labrys – the double-headed axe engraved into stone after stone.”

“The King of Crete … “compelled Daedalus to construct his most awesome and ambitious creation yet: a mighty labyrinth set beneath the palace floor, a nightmare of twisting passages, dead ends, spiralling branches, all leading inexorably to its dark centre. The lair of the Minotaur.”

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