Read advance reader review of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

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Ariadne

by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne by Jennifer  Saint X
Ariadne by Jennifer  Saint
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  • Published:
    May 2021, 320 pages

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  • James C. (Warren, OH)
    A Mythical Debut
    If this debut is any harbinger of books to come, Jennifer Saint may join the mythical ranks of the likes of Hilary Mantel and Susannah Clarke. This sprawling novel delights with characters that jump off the page, epic action, palace intrigue, and family bonds. And it all emanates from an ancient mythical palace in Crete, and the families are gods and demi-gods! Immerse yourself in this wondrous tragic book that will require you to come up for air now and then. Don't rush - novels like these are worth pacing yourself; all the more time to dwell in the land of the gods.
  • Marcia C. (Jeffersonville, PA)
    Ariadne: A Heroine's Perspective
    Lately it seems many stories have been written offering retellings of the classics of Greek mythology. Ariadne is Jennifer Saint's contribution to this genre. Her story is filled with drama and suspense leading the reader into forbidding places. Her powerful writing kept me on the edge of my seat and I found myself unable to put down the book as I followed Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur into those tunnels under Minos' castle where the Minotaur stalked his prey.
    Saint's fresh voice energizes this tale as she presents a new take on a well-known myth. She wants her women to be seen as strong, not as victims of the misdeeds of heroes and gods. She's taken on a challenging task—one her heroines are well able to address. This is Jennifer Saint's first novel. I'm really looking forward to more.
    For readers of Madeleine Miller's Circe.
  • Peggy K. (Westminster, CO)
    Meet the Women of the Myths
    Jennifer Saint reimagines the myth of Ariadne and her sister Phaedra, daughters of King Minos of Crete and half-sisters to the dreaded Minotaur. It is a thrilling and yet tender tale of two sisters longing for the same thing: a life free of their tyrannical father and the ominous presence of the Minotaur, imprisoned in the stone labyrinth beneath the mosaic tiles of the palace. It is a story of love lost, won, and lost again—told by the sisters themselves. In this way, Saint gives readers a wonderfully feminist retelling of the ancient Greek myths. Highly recommend.
  • Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
    Another wonderful Greek mythogy novel!
    This is a first rate retelling of the story of I fell down the Circe (Madeline Miller) rabbit hole a few years ago and have never looked back. They just keep coming. I'd love to see a "family" tree with references to the numerous novels that followed!

    It's hard to believe this is a first novel for Jennifer Saint who read Classical Studies at King's College, London and spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher. She is said to be working on a novel focusing on Clytemnestra and Electra.
  • Roberta R. (West Bloomfield, MI)
    A Page Turner
    Ariadne is a wonderful retelling of this Greek Myth. It was certainly a page turner for a first novel by Jennifer Saint. I am looking forward to her second novel which I understand will revolve around Clytemnestra and her daughter, Electra.
    It was a delight to read Ariadne and to be reacquainted with Greek Mythology in a very fun way. Great interaction between the gods, goddesses, demigods and mortals. The book has everything, lies, deceits, love, passion action and hate. Ariadne would be a good book for a book club discussion.
  • Alyson R. (Spokane, WA)
    Multi-layered novel that speaks to the timeless experiences of girls, women, and mothers
    I really enjoyed Ariadne and the author's character development. I also appreciated how she used Ariadne as a vehicle to understand the experience of girls, women, and mothers, whether mythical or human. Growing up reading Greek myths, I didn't "see" the peripheralization of females in myths or the patriarchal structure of society for humans and gods alike. From reading Ariadne as well as Circe, my adult mind is "see"ing what I didn't when I was younger. Ariadne covers the gambit in terms of the challenges, interests, and desires of women, given societal restrictions in ancient Greece, and the flightiness as well as vengeance of the gods. I feel like Jennifer Saint acknowledges the place of women in Ancient Greek society (and perhaps a reflection into today) as objects used, disposable, like Medusa. Women and their bodies (or parts) are paraded for male heroes to show their pride, strength, and glory. Women are conquered. Women have very little rights. Women are meant to serve in domestic roles keeping house and bearing/raising children. But even then, there's an ever-present threat from men or gods, of domestic violence and even infanticide. Saint goes a step further, she speaks to the experience of postpartum depression, something that women feel the need to hide or be ashamed of, in ancient Greece or today. And yet, Saint also speaks to the agency women find in their daily lives - that they aren't hollow vessels to be used, but full of strength, desire, intelligence, and action. For me, a standout display of this agency (and protest) was when Ariadne decided to use the loom to weave a pattern of her choosing, rather than a wedding scene dedicated to Hera. I would definitely recommend Ariadne to other readers.
  • Jennifer H. (Los Angeles, CA)
    An amazing feminist epic
    I was blown away by Ariadne. It presents itself so familiarly at first with all the traditional Greek myths and epic tropes. It then quickly subverts these old traditions shine a bright light of condemnation on toxic masculinity and the misogyny that runs through all these accepted classical narratives. Saint develops extremely complex characters and interactions, and explores a range of different feminine traits and personalities through the two sisters. The novel manages to be both empowering and sadly resigned. I loved it and strongly recommend this book!

Beyond the Book:
  Ariadne in Greek Mythology

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