Flatiron. May 2021. 320p. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9781250773586.
The most famous part of Ariadne’s story, helping Theseus escape the labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur, is only the beginning of this sweeping mythological novel. Saint cleverly combines sources, many with conflicting events and time lines, into the compelling story of a young woman who falls in love, experiences betrayal, and carves a life for herself outside the traditional narratives of gods and heroes. In doing so, the author underscores the cost of these narratives, which relegate women’s complex and valuable lives to background incidents in heroes’ stories, including horrifying incidents of sexual violence. Saint’s writing is slow, atmospheric, and character-driven, purposefully setting aside the action-packed male hero narratives of Greek mythology to work in an alternate mode. While some readers may be put off by the book’s slower pace and Ariadne’s fulfillment through motherhood and domesticity, others will revel in the complex psychology of the characters. Perhaps most telling is the focus on Ariadne’s younger sister, Phaedra, who “wins” the perfect marriage to a hero, becomes queen of Athens, and still finds herself trapped in an endless cycle of pregnancy and depression despite her intelligence and talent for politics.
VERDICT This will appeal to older teens interested retellings that give voice to women’s stories; offer it alongside books by Madeline Miller, Adèle Geras, Elana K. Arnold, and Jane Yolen.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing