Hi y’all! Welcome to Cover to Cover! Today I have a really cool book that I am dying to talk about! I am still in my reading grind which makes me so happy because I am actually able to get through books on my TBR! And my TBR is so long (let’s face it, it’s a never-ending list that I am never going to finish because there are just too many interesting books out there)! But let’s get right into it.
Today, I want to talk about Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. I actually picked this book as my Book of the Month! I am so happy that I did because so far this is my best pick yet. This is a re-telling of the Greek myth of Ariadne who was the Princess of Crete and daughter of King Minos. I have never heard of her before, but I waited until I was done with the book before I compared it to the myth. If you decide to read this book, I recommend doing the same because this whole book is pretty spot on to what supposedly happened.
For a quick overview, this book is about Ariadne and how she helps Theseus, Prince of Athens, kill her “brother,” the Minotaur. Every year Athens must send 13 tributes to Crete for sacrifice. Since Crete is the most powerful Greek kingdom, King Minos uses that to his advantage, and he sacrifices those tributes to his “son” the Minotaur. He keeps the Minotaur in a maze underneath the castle. Ariadne and her younger sister, Phaedra cannot stand to watch more children be sacrificed. But then one year, Theseus comes as a tribute. He is convinced that he is going to kill the Minotaur so his people will no longer have to suffer. Ariadne is enchanted by him as soon as she sees him, and vows to help him kill the beast even if doing so means betraying her kingdom and family. And of course, you can’t have a Greek myth without betrayal.
This book is so good. There is so much that happens, and Saint doesn’t just give you the myth of Ariadne, she ties in bits and pieces of other myths as well. You will hear of Icarus, Dionysus (the God of Wine), Hera, Perseus, and Phaedra (her sister).
I have so many good things to say about this book. I think it was so well written. The story jumps between years, but it’s really easy to follow. The whole book takes place over a couple of years. Also, the writing is absolutely beautiful. I started highlighting like crazy in this book because so many quotes were speaking to me. The storyline was very emotional, and as a reader, you could really sympathize with the characters. But also, I love how the characters interact with one another because while everyone has some kind of intimate relationship going on, and they all still act like something can change at any moment. No one is every completely relaxed for long. No one completely trusts the other for long either. Which means it really shouldn’t be surprising when someone is betrayed. Its how all Greek myths go, you know? There is a lot of character development especially for Ariadne. She learns a lot throughout the book. But I feel like her sister’s development never really happens. Like it does, but then it reverts back and she forgets who she is. I mean we’re working with a pre-existing myth so you can’t really blame the author, but it’s just something I found interesting. Because I really thought Phaedra’s growth was going to be stronger than her sisters.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“And back then, I did not know how wings could melt and peel away from your body; how someone could plunge so unexpectedly from their soaring ascent to freedom and be swallowed by the ravenous waves below” (pg. 52).
“But as I studied him—and believe me, I drank him in like a parched animal at a riverbank—I began to see the cold, steady certainty of the chill green depths. Not a dolphin leaping through the roiling waves, glittering in the sunlight, but rather a shark gliding through the murky quiet. Focused. Powerful, and inexorable” (pg. 55).
“She knew what it was like to lose everything but I had nothing to begin with” (pg. 105).
“But I was not like them and I did not fear the dark” (pg. 174).
This is Jennifer Saint’s first novel, and I think she really hit it out of the park with this one! I would definitely give this a 5/5. I think the twist of betrayal and the ending will push the book to 5 stars. I loved every second of reading this, and it has been a while since I have read a Greek mythology book. I highly recommend picking this up! You won’t be disappointed!
Alright, that’s it folks! I hope you enjoyed! Come back next week for another blog post.