Ariadne Review

  • Author: Jennifer Saint
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Fantasy/Re-telling
  • No. of pages: 400
  • Dates read: 10.04.2021 – 14.04.2021
  • Star Rating: 4 stars
  • ARC: Published by Wildfire – 29.04.2021

Plot: As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year. When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything. In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

So, going into this book I had no real idea what it was about or what other people thought about it. I was going in more or less completely blind. All I knew was the Theseus and the Minotaur myth because I used to be OBSESSED with Greek mythology back in the day. I have never been let down by a greek mythology re-telling so I went in confident but blind.

So, the writing was incredibly beautiful. It felt very lyrical, it wasn’t just “I did this then I did that” it was more poetic and detailed which I really liked. It wasn’t over the top and flowery, it was subtle but beautiful. The writing was one of the stand out elements of this novel. I felt that the descriptions whether that be of the beautiful island of Crete or of the horror filled Labyrinth were done extremely well. I felt the pacing was really good for about 3/4 of the novel I did feel it start to slow down by the end of it. I personally thought the ending itself was rushed. It was a weird mix of rushed plot elements but slow-paced writing which was a shame. While the author can’t control what happens to the characters, due to the nature of it being a re-telling, I felt the ending could have been paced better or structured better to allow for it not feel rushed.

The plot itself was good, I knew most of what happened in the at least the first half of the book due to knowing the myth but that did not stop the enjoyment of it. I really enjoyed exploring more into the origin of the Minotaur and the elements of the story before Theseus arrives. Like what made Ariadne make the decision to help Theseus? I also enjoyed learning about what happens to her afterwards, this gets expanded on a lot more than the myth does.

I really enjoyed Ariadne’s character, throughout the entire novel, she was just a ray of sunshine. She was kind, caring and did not deserve half of what she went through. I really enjoyed reading this story through her eyes I felt it elevated the original myth. I also enjoyed exploring the character of her sister Phaedra, two sisters so completely different and I enjoyed watching their paths change and divert from one another in varying ways. I felt the characterisation of the main male characters like Theseus and King Minos were done extremely well. King Minos is an easy character to make cliche but I felt that Saint handled it super well.

Overall, if you want a beautifully written feminist re-telling of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth I highly recommend this book!

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