Ariadne by Jennifer Saint (Wildfire Books)
I've long loved tales from Ancient Greece, I think that my love stems right back to early primary school where we first looked at this history and especially to my Usborne Guide to Ancient Greece. I was lucky in that family holidays took us to Greece, and it is a place Mr Norfolkbookworm and I continue to visit (when we are allowed to) and also where we got married.
Retellings of the Greek myths from new view points have become really popular in the past decade and I very much like this new genre.
In Ariadne Saint retells all of the tales connected to this Cretan princess but from her view point, and that of her sister Phaedra, not from the more traditional male narrated format.
I knew most of the stories that link together to form Ariadne's life but for some reason I hadn't joined them together to make a continuous arc, so to read the tales all linked together was really enjoyable. The tables weren't turned to the extent that Ariadne and her sister became flawless, and the male characters didn't all become cardboard cutout baddies - everyone had shades to their lives. The writing was such that I really did have a movie playing in my mind as I read the book, and I could feel the Greek heat as I turned the pages.
The portrayal of the Greek Gods in this version of the myths was fascinating to read, their jealousy and pettiness made them seem far more human than godlike and as a result even more terrifying in some ways. It also made me reassess my mental image of Dionysus - he really doesn't bear much resemblance to the Disney version from Fantasia in this novel!
It took me a couple of goes to get into the book initially, but that was definitely down to my mood and not the book. This debut novel is a great addition to similar works from Madeline Miller, Pat Barker and Natalie Haynes and I am looking forward to reading more from all 4 authors!
Many thanks to Net Galley for the advance copy, even if I didn't read it until publication day!