by Jennifer Saint
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Women
Buy on Amazon
A mesmerizing debut novel for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.
Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?
Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint's Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.
So I just noticed that I’m on a bit of aGreek Mythology binge! And I LOVE it! Also, I was so very confused about Ariadne, kept thinking she was Arachne so I kept waiting for her to be turned into the spider!!
Putting my confusion aside, I really liked Ariadne. Being a princess of Crete, really stifled her and made be submissive in order to survive her CRAZY CRAZY family. It sucks that when she’s finally ready to break out of this hold she’s been in, it’s for a pretty boy….but isn’t that always the case??? Lol
Theseus is brought to Crete as one of the sacrifices to the Minotaur but when Ariadne sees his pretty face, she can’t let him be killed. Theseus being a conniving a**hole, uses Ariadne’s solitude to get her help to defeat the Minotaur. Once that was over and they made a quick escape, Theseus abandons her on Naxos while she was sleeping. This completely devastates her. She gave up everything for this boy who discarded her like yesterday’s trash.
When Ariadne is at her lowest, trying to figure out how to live on, she finds out that Naxos is home to Dionysus. Having her family’s bad luck when dealing with the Greek gods, she was very weary of him at the beginning and he offers to let her stay on his island, even though she’s weary of him, she accepts since she has nowhere to go.
Leaving aside that it’s a male that causes her suffering and a male that helps her bloom, there’s a message to be taken. For me, it was that no matter how hard things may seem in the moment, they will pass and something good is out on the horizon.
Her relationship with Dionysus, slowly became a romantic one. All the while, Ariadne continued to be weary of dealing with a god. I really liked that she didn’t completely forgo all her past knowledge once she fell in love. Those gods are a handful!
Another take away for me, and it seems like a common occurrence for most women, we tend to grow complacent with our relationships/surroundings/life. While it’s not a bad thing, a lot of the times, we get held down for one reason or another. And when Ariadne, came to this conclusion, she fought tooth and nail, as much as she could really, and pushed back against her husband the god. To me that was a very empowering part of the book.
Greek Mythology is almost always filled with dramatic events and this story couldn’t be without it. In the end, being around a god costs Ariadne her life. Jennifer gives us closure and a sort of happy ending by having Dionysus turn Ariadne into a constellation so she could watch over her sons. She gets to see them grow up, become normal men, safe away from he Greek tragedies.
Can’t say it enough, how much I loved this book. It hit home on a few topics for me.