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?
I am loving the Greek Mythology books that have been hitting the shelves over the last year! And I am especially loving how so many of them are focusing on the unsung heroines that never get the spotlight they deserve. I know, we love the Greek gods and the heroes and the epic stories that surround them but there are so many fantastic women that played such pivotal roles in these timeless tales and it is so great that they are finally getting their well deserved shout out.
As soon as I read the description for this, I had to read it. Not only am I a huge fan of Greek mythology but I visited Crete two years and went to the ruins of Knossos. So being to truly immerse myself in the story of Ariadne, Phaedra, Pasiphae and the Minotaur was something I didn't want to miss.
This story is not just about a princess of Crete who falls in love with a prince of Athens. If anything, that only sets the scene for what is an epic telling of two sisters and the roles they played in some of Greece's most epic tales. This book also has such an interesting message throughout that I had never thought of before but now seems so obvious; 'What I did not know was that I had hit upon a truth of womanhood: however, blameless a life we led, the passions and greed of men could bring us to ruin, and there was nothing we could do.' In all of the great Greek Myths, it is always the women who pay the price for the folly of the gods and men. From Medusa, to Circe, to Pasiphae and many more, it is the women who had to bare the weight of the weakness of men and gods and who continue to do so to this day.
I loved the bond between Ariadne and Phaedra and it broke my heart to see the many difficulties and challenges they had to overcome, both together and apart. I am extremely close to my sisters so this is something that I felt really gave an extra level of depth to the story. There are a lot of other important topics that are addressed throughout the book but I won't go into it as I don't want to spoil it. Just know that there is so much more to this story and it goes far beyond the glory that we always hear when listening to these epic tales.
The writing is excellent and really accessible. I find sometimes those wo retell great stories like these, over complicate them with the narrative but this was a perfect balance of atmospheric and descriptive and easy to understand.
My only critique is the ending...the final 25% was a little bizarre and then it just suddenly ended...up until that point the pace had been perfect but then it suddenly went from 0 to 90 and I was overwhelmed by the many things being thrown at me.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. If you're a fan of Greek Mythology, a feminist, a fan of adventure, Ariadne has something for everyone and is a book I would highly recommend. A big thank you to NetGalley for letting me read it before it was published.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
'I would be Medusa, if it came to it, I resolved. If the gods held me accountable one day for the sins of someone else, if they came for me to punish a man's actions, I would not hide away like Pasiphae. I would wear that coronet of snakes and the world would shrink from me instead.'
Ariadne, I feel we got to know her the most and I also found Phaedra a little annoying towards the end...