Bloomsbury. Jan. 2022. 224p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781547607594.
Gr 9 Up–Remade by Athena into a mortal Gorgon, Medusa is living out her days on a deserted island with her two immortal sisters. After four years of isolation, a boat arrives at the island carrying an alluring lost sailor named Perseus. Nervous around other humans (for her hair of snakes surely will frighten him), Medusa hides herself while secretly rendezvousing with Perseus. As the two trade their life stories, Medusa begins to see their crossed paths may be no mere coincidence. Burton tackles an old myth with unflinching honesty to reclaim Medusa’s story as one of self-love and bravery. While the base plot follows the traditional myth, the lyrical first-person descriptions of Medusa’s life reveals the bitter cycle of being struck by the male gaze, scorned by society, and feeling an insurmountable amount of guilt for existing with no reprieve in sight. Medusa and Perseus’s tentative friendship illuminates humanity’s continued failures in relation to power dynamics, gender inequality, consent, and victim blaming. Ultimately, the duo’s ending shifts away from the known finale to paint a hopeful message of owning one’s story. Gill’s illustrations are rich in detail, with earthy tones gorgeously invoking Medusa’s emotions. All characters are Greek.
VERDICT With unforgettable imagery and a powerhouse woman at the helm of the tale, this revamped myth is one to get on your bookshelf.

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