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.
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint is a tragically beautiful retelling of a character from Greek mythology – Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, the granddaughter of Helios, and the wife of Dionysus. And, Ariadne, the novel, is the story of her life, loves, and tragedies that she faced.
What I Loved
I loved the beautifully descriptive manner that is used to tell the tale. It is like bursts of the best lyrical poetry amid incredibly immersive prose. It reminded me of the ancient Greek Tragedies, plays written by such playwrights as Sophocles and Euripides. This language immediately pulled me in and kept me in its grip until the last page.
Men do not fare very well in this story. Time and time again, men that history has elevated to hero status are shown to actually be selfish and ruthless, believing the world to be theirs for the taking. Women were nothing more than pawns used for political advancement and tricked to aid them in their selfish pursuits. Dionysus appeared to be the best of the bunch, providing a safe haven for women who had escaped the misogyny.
The theme of sisterhood runs strongly throughout the story. The only way for women to find any peace and happiness was to band together away from the world that would keep using to fulfill men’s greed. This sisterhood is redeeming and heartwarming as they achieve a life that they could have never imagined.
I also loved Dionysus’s story of his own life from birth to the present in the story. Like Ariadne, Dionysus is a character from Greek mythology that my knowledge, is very spotty. This story fills in all the gaps and builds a wondrous tale of a God who made it his mission to live like a mortal, to enjoy all that nature offered, and to love with his whole heart. While other gods remained outside the human world, preferring Mount Olympus, Dionysus chose to live on an island and visit different lands, taking the time to walk and appreciate the beauty of the mortal world.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are a mythology buff like I am, you will absolutely love this story of sisterhood, love, and loss.