My Review | Ariadne

Photo shows the book cover of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads -

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?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

So when I first heard of this book I was truly intrigued with the storyline. I’m a big of fan of stories like Song of Achilles and Circe so I knew this story was going to be good. It’s based off the story of Ariadne, our protagonist, the daughter of King Minos the evil king of Crete and sister of the cursed Minotaur. When she encounters the brave prince of Athens, Theseus, her love for him becomes too much to ignore and helps him and the other athenian children escape. What she thought was her salvation was actually the beginning to her tragic story. These tragic tales are sought after to be retold in different ways and writing styles and I will say I enjoyed this piece. Ariadne’s life from beginning to end was met with hardships, confusion, and distrust. She was born to survive. Jennifer Saint creates such an interesting perspective from an old tale and gives us well-known characters a new life in her book. Ariadne’s story never seems to begin and end the same way and that’s why these Greek retellings are always so fun.

“I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make me doubt the value of myself.”

Ariadne, a princess living on the island of Crete, has seen how cruel the world can be. Though she can only find peace with her dancing she, can only withstand that peace for so long when the Minotaur is born. Her brother’s only purpose in this world is to bring pain and destruction and her father, King Minos, uses that to his advantage. Crete’s yearly sacrifice of the Athenian has yet to have any faults until our hero, Prince Theseus, comes into the picture. Ariadne has no way to control herself when Theseus asks for her help in destroying her brother and to run away with him. I also enjoyed that we are also introduced to another tragic character, Ariadne’s sister Phaedra, who plays a major role in the book. The sisters defy their father only for everything they knew to fall apart. Ariadne, abandoned by her love on a deserted island, and Phaedra unknowingly taking her sister’s place. The main idea that Saint highlights to her readers is how women in Greek tales help advance the hero in the story only to be forgotten, used, or killed. They seem to be both important and disposable. While the two women are faced with adversity they find a way to rise up to prove they are more than just useless women. But how long can they keep up the facade in a world with magic, gods, and men?

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Now I enjoyed these characters and they were genuinely interesting but I didn’t feel as emotionally invested as I wanted to. At first I was genuinely interested in Ariadne’s choices and was shocked with all that she went through. But as the book went on I slowly started to lose interest. Phaedra was at least somewhat fun as she is living the life Ariadne was supposed to but she hates it. The two are living each other’s dream lives but that’s about it. The conflict isn’t super intense just a problem for both of them. The two deal with relationship problems between their “lovers” and question their own integrity, wanting to make their own names. Which is awesome, considering that they are the daughter’s of a demigod but it doesn’t go any deeper than that. Which is kind of disappointing since I wanted to learn more about Ariadne besides her relationship with her brother and her relationship with others but you don’t really see much of her. It’s more of her questioning how she can go on with her lover, the same problem Phaedra has. 

“I would be Medusa, if it came to it, I resolved. If the gods held me accountable one day for the sins of someone else, if they came for me to punish a man’s actions, I would not hide away like Pasiphae. I would wear that coronet of snakes, and the world would shrink from me instead.”

I enjoyed the different POVs for certain chapters, some where Ariadne is talking and some with Phaedra. We’re able to tap in how the other one is doing without it feeling too jumbled together. Saint’s way with words feels like a ray of light draping on the characters, the callbacks to these ancient stories was timeless, and overall loved how they were written. I will say I didn’t feel entirely moved with Ariadne or Phaedra’s choices as I still expected them to have tragic endings just like in their original stories. But other than that I had fun reading this book and feel that you enjoy a good retelling then you’ll definitely enjoy this one!






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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them.