Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

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Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Wilson
Reviewed by Ruth Wilson
Summary: This is a beautiful re-telling of the story of Ariadne, in a world of cruel Kings and capricious Gods where Ariadne must struggle to keep her wits, keep her cool and keep her life. Jennifer Saint breathes life into characters that are not only myths but are little mentioned and little remembered, bringing them to life and giving them heart and soul.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Wildfire
ISBN: 978-1472273864

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This re-telling of the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur is interesting and unusual. Jennifer Saint presents the story in a way that is sympathetic to its origins but also appealing to a modern audience. Saint's narrative is told predominantly through the viewpoint of Ariadne, spanning from her childhood to her death, allowing the reader to really connect with Ariadne as a character in her own right rather than just a prop in the heroics of Theseus.

The world Saint creates is both seductive and sinister in equal part. One of hard, vicious kings and brutal, unkind Gods. Ariadne is raised on stories of women paying the price for the decisions of men, and her own childhood is ruined by Poseidon's vengeance. Ariadne often hopes that, should the worst happen, she would be like Medusa and rage against her punishment and turn the world around her to stone. Despite all this, Ariadne remains a very romantic character; she falls in love with Theseus almost at first sight, caught by his bravery and good looks, and his noble quest. She might wish to be strong and determined but she never quite breaks out of the role that society shaped for her and when really challenged, she always chooses the safer path.

On the other hand, the story also introduces Ariadne's sister Phaedra, who is a really exciting character. Where the character of Ariadne is safe and subdued, Phaedra is dynamic and clever. She is determined to make the most of the life she has been given and sets about learning more, gaining power, forging relationships and becoming as powerful as a woman could be. As a character, her chapters were interesting, relevant, and powerful and I enjoyed her part of the story almost more than Ariadne's.

Ariadne is a fabulous re-telling, adding backstory and a different viewpoint to a well-known myth. I thought Jennifer Saint created a world that was magical and dangerous but also felt authentic within the genre of Greek Mythology. I really enjoyed this book and very much recommend it, but for something similar, you could also try Sistersong by Lucy Holland.

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