I am a huge fan of Greek myth retellings so I was really excited to get the chance to read this story. I have seen it around bookstagram and the first thing that drew me to it was the beautiful cover art, but what kept me hooked was the story. Jennifer Saint weaves a wonderful tale full of of heroes and monsters, and brings a new twist to a classic myth. If you thought you knew the whole story, think again. Beautifully written and utterly captivating, Jennifer Saint builds a magical world for the sisters Ariadne and Phaedra to grow and discover themselves.
“To me, running through the maze of my home, it looked like a butterfly. And it was a butterfly I would imagine as I emerged from the dim cocoon of the palace interior to the glorious expanse of the sun-drenched courtyard.”
Retellings of the Greek myths and legends are really popular right now, and Ariadne is a great read for fans of Madeline Miller and Scarlett St. Claire. Most modern myths have many versions and variations, and will pull from various sources like Ovid, Homer, Hesiod, Sophocles. As a lover of Greek mythology, I was interested to see which myths Jennifer Saint would include in the world she created for Ariadne. I was excited to find the author took inspiration from various sources and included many gods and goddesses into the story, all while giving them a modern twist.
“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.”
The world of Ariadne is steeped in tradition and history, and gives the reader a unique insight into how women must overcome and survive in a world ruled by men. This story was especially focused on the women of Greek mythology, which is interesting considering that all of the OG myth-tellers were male (Homer, Hesiod, Ovid, Virgil, Herodotus…) and helped this book to bring a fresh female perspective to the story. Without spoiling too much, I will say that I loved how the author spent so much time reimagining female characters, who seem to get less focus in the original myths of antiquity. In this story, they are given a voice, which was not always a reality for women in the past.
“But I was well practiced in hiding what I felt.”
A woman trapped in marriage and motherhood, Phaedra is the great embodiment of women who must play the background character, showing how women can gain influence with gentle words and sly suggestions, even when they are overshadowed. I especially connected with Phaedra’s PPD, I felt that was a great detail to include and it gave depth to her character.
The writing is beautiful and Saint creates a world rich with magic, history and lore. This is an amazing read, and one that is well worth your time. If you are a fan of Greek myths, this is a perfect book for you!