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?
... a stunning new spin on a centuries-old story ... With heavy prose and justified conviction, Saint deftly explores the mistreatment of mythologized women and breaks their silence ... Saint weaves the stories of other gods and mythologized mortals into the pages of her debut, breathing an entire world into her words ... she laces a disquieting reminder throughout her novel that be they young or old, peasant or deity, no woman is safe from the objectifying male gaze or its violent consequences ... Saint’s writing is so vivid that her descriptions make it hard to remember where you are ... She paints emotions so expertly that they may mix with the blood in your veins, inspiring ache and anger and coloring the world when you once again realize that there is a world outside of this book.
Saint retells stories of the ancient Greek gods from a human—particularly female—perspective ... Saint skillfully weaves the Greek mythology of heroism and revenge into whole cloth, making the fabric of interactions among humans and gods compelling and entertaining as she shows us that women often get the blame for men’s (and gods’) actions. Sisterhood is required for survival ... Readers of mythology and human relations will enjoy this book. Highly recommended.
We rarely hear about what happened to Ariadne after the labyrinth. There are varying stories, and more than one ending for the daughter of Minos and Pasiphae. But you don’t really need to know any of them to understand Jennifer Saint’s debut novel, Ariadne. Packed with myth and tales of misbehaving gods, it is—for better and for worse—a detailed filling-out of the ways Ariadne and her fellow women suffer at the hands of the ancient, mythological patriarchy ... Saint knows her mythology backwards and forwards and barefoot and sauntering off into the trees for bloody rituals, but her tale rarely strays from the expected path. I struggled with Ariadne for several reasons, and one of them is simply that it’s very traditional ... Saint’s style is at once cluttered and formal, with the contraction-avoidance of a certain stripe of fantasy and a tendency for characters to call or ask or shrill or sputter their words. A kind of pulpy richness runs throughout, and makes the story feel distant rather than affecting—a frill of overwrought imagery keeping us from the emotional center of her characters ... Ariadne, in contrast, feels more like a cover song than a new melody. If you like the song already, you may find much to like here. There’s no harm in listening to the same tune on repeat—but you may also feel that an opportunity to do something fresh was missed.