Ariadne
by Saint, Jennifer






"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 every year. 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, outside the traditional narratives of heroism and glory that leave no room for women"-





Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King's College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Ariadne is her first novel.





Ariadne and Phaedra are the daughters of Minos, the ruthless King of Crete, where each year hostages from Athens are fed to a labyrinth that holds the hungry, monstrous Minotaur. But when Theseus, the Prince of Athens, enters the maze himself, Ariadne is determined to help him escape and put an end to her father's cruelty. It is what comes after the Minotaur's defeat that will be uncertain: Ariadne will come to realize that women have no true place of agency in the games played between gods and heroes. Saint can be heavy-handed with foreshadowing and narrative exposition, and the sisters' motivations could have been better fleshed-out in the first part of the novel. But as the story continues, the two women become more complex-and bold. They grow stubborn and dare to grasp at happiness and even independence in a patriarchal world where anything might draw the ire of the gods or goddesses above them. Fans of Madeline Miller's Circe (2018) will enjoy this faithful retelling that centers on the often-forgotten women of Greek myth. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





A debut novelist retells timeless tales from a feminine perspective. Classical mythology endures‚?"at least in part‚?"because of its malleability. Ancient Near Eastern cultures borrowed one another's deities and transformed them to meet their own needs. Poets, playwrights, and painters have been creating their own iterations of the Olympian gods for thousands of years. One of the difficulties of working with familiar figures and well-known tropes is making them fresh. Writers crafting long-form narratives face the additional challenge of putting flesh on archetypes. In choosing to give a voice to a woman plagued by awful men‚?"her father, King Minos; her first love, the hero Theseus; Dionysus, the god of wine‚?"Saint succeeds in presenting a distinctive version of Ariadne. The author doesn't quite deliver on making her protagonist‚?"or anyone else in this novel‚?"real. One issue is Saint's prose style. She uses formal, stilted language that is, perhaps, supposed to create a sense of antiquity but instead just feels unnatural. There is more telling than showing, and characters launch into soliloquies that might make sense in a Greek tragedy but are out of place here. On the whole, Saint is writing in a mode that is neither realist nor fantasy but an awkward place in between. For example, as she offers a detailed depiction of the infancy and development of the Minotaur‚?"Ariadne's half brother‚?"the monster ceases to be horrifying and instead becomes slightly ridiculous. The reader has leisure to ask such questions as why, since cows are herbivores, a creature with the head of a bull would enjoy a diet of human flesh. Worse, though, is that Saint manages to make Dionysus‚?"a god who inspired bloodthirsty frenzies in his drunken followers‚?"boring. Ariadne becomes his bride soon after she's dumped by Theseus. After a few years, Ariadne and Dionysus are staying together for the kids and hoping that a couples vacation to Athens will spice things up. Ambitious but uninspiring. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A debut novelist retells timeless tales from a feminine perspective. Classical mythology endures‚?"at least in part‚?"because of its malleability. Ancient Near Eastern cultures borrowed one another's deities and transformed them to meet their own needs. Poets, playwrights, and painters have been creating their own iterations of the Olympian gods for thousands of years. One of the difficulties of working with familiar figures and well-known tropes is making them fresh. Writers crafting long-form narratives face the additional challenge of putting flesh on archetypes. In choosing to give a voice to a woman plagued by awful men‚?"her father, King Minos; her first love, the hero Theseus; Dionysus, the god of wine‚?"Saint succeeds in presenting a distinctive version of Ariadne. The author doesn't quite deliver on making her protagonist‚?"or anyone else in this novel‚?"real. One issue is Saint's prose style. She uses formal, stilted language that is, perhaps, supposed to create a sense of antiquity but instead just feels unnatural. There is more telling than showing, and characters launch into soliloquies that might make sense in a Greek tragedy but are out of place here. On the whole, Saint is writing in a mode that is neither realist nor fantasy but an awkward place in between. For example, as she offers a detailed depiction of the infancy and development of the Minotaur‚?"Ariadne's half brother‚?"the monster ceases to be horrifying and instead becomes slightly ridiculous. The reader has leisure to ask such questions as why, since cows are herbivores, a creature with the head of a bull would enjoy a diet of human flesh. Worse, though, is that Saint manages to make Dionysus‚?"a god who inspired bloodthirsty frenzies in his drunken followers‚?"boring. Ariadne becomes his bride soon after she's dumped by Theseus. After a few years, Ariadne and Dionysus are staying together for the kids and hoping that a couples vacation to Athens will spice things up. Ambitious but uninspiring. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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