Book Review || Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Friday, April 2, 2021


Jennifer Saint
30th March 2021

This was an absolutely beautiful read: so filled with gorgeous writing and believable explorations of how the women told of in ancient Greek myth may have actually felt about their situations and the circumstances they have been put in due to the actions of Gods, Heroes, and men.

I find myself in the strange position with this book of not really knowing how to describe it. My experience of reading it was truly wonderful - any time that I couldn't be reading it due to health issues I was genuinely sad; whenever I could pick it up, I would find myself looking up an hour later having disappeared completely into the story Saint was telling. The interest in this book was only increased by the fact that my partner is currently playing the game Hades on the Switch, and finding that I could link the people and Gods desribed in the book with the characters depicted on the screen. I think this made my reading experience even more immersive and, well, fun! Thought I caution against thinking this is a fun book (the game definitely is, though).

It is so interesting throughout this book to watch Ariadne's character change and grow, and Phaedra's, too. In fact, every character introduced in the book is given such form, such amazing roundedness. And the emotions that they felt were described in such a way that I could definitely feel them, without them becoming too overwhelming or feeling like the author was trying to push my emotions in a certain way. Masterful writing.

I do have one complaint, however, even though I enjoyed this book so much. I felt as if the character of the Minotaur, Asterion, could have been explored so much more than it was. I liked the little bits that we see of him as a baby, but then he is basically just labelled 'monster' and thrown in the Labyrinth - just something to be feared, that is all. There was such a huge opportunity there to explore the realm of disfigurement, disability, bodily difference! I just felt disappointed that, whilst all the other characters felt so real, Asterion was shunted to the side, given a label, and then mostly ignored, except as a source of fear.

Having said that, I still loved this book so much. Highly recommend.

10/10 bountiful grapes hanging on the vine.

I received a review copy from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

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