A mesmerizing debut novel for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.
Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?
Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint's Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Two sisters must stand against mortal and immortal foes in this stunning reimagining of a Greek myth. All Ariadne and Phaedra ever wanted was to be free of their father, King Minos, and their brother, the monstrous Minotaur who lurks in the labyrinth below their castle. When the dashing young Athenian prince Theseus arrives in Crete, the sisters finally see a way out, until a stunning betrayal leaves both women fighting for their lives. Debut novelist Jennifer Saint infuses this tragic tale with complexity and passion, finally giving voice to two women often seen as peripheral players in the mythology. Her atmospheric writing transported us back to ancient Greece and drew us into the characters’ fascinating perspectives. Lyrically written and full of emotion, Ariadne is an utterly new take on an ancient tale.
Saint's enchanting debut retells the myth of the minotaur through the eyes of Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. Ariadne's life has always been touched by the gods, as her mother, Pasiphae, is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun. She has also witnessed their wrath, unfairly brought down upon Pasiphae by Poseidon, the sea god, because of Minos's transgressions against him. Her punishment, to fall into obsessive love with a bull, resulted in the Minotaur, Ariadne's half-human, half-bull brother. When Theseus, prince of Athens, is sent as part of that city's annual sacrifice to the Minotaur, a smitten Ariadne helps him defeat the monster and they flee Crete together. Ariadne hoped they would bring her sister, Phaedra, with them, but fickle Theseus breaks his promise, leaving Phaedra behind and abandoning Ariadne on the island of Naxos. The island is the home of Dionysus, god of wine and pleasure, and he takes Ariadne as his wife. Phaedra, meanwhile, is reluctantly married off to Theseus in a political maneuver of her father's. As the women navigate their changing positions of power, they court disaster at the hands of both gods and men. Saint expertly highlights how often the women of this world pay the price for the actions of the men around them. Lovers of mythology should snap this up.
My new favorite
I love this book! I didn’t want it to end.
A Stunning Greek Mythology Retelling
I first saw this book on instagram in October and have been anxiously waiting for it ever since. I mean, who doesn’t want more Greek mythological retellings?!?
This is a retelling of the story of Thesus and the Minotaur from the perspective of King Minos’ daughters - Ariadne and Phaedra. Both face unique challenges as one goes on to be marooned on an island that belongs to none other than Dionysus. The other is sent to marry a King she doesn’t trust.
The author accomplished an amazing feat with this book. Saint was able to capture the duty and trouble of being a women in the Ancient Greek times as well as the complex relationships of immortal beings to humans. And this is Saint’s debut book!
I loved every minute I spent with this book and easily consumed it within 24 hours of purchasing my copy. Please go read this book!
The way Jennifer Saint relates the tale of Ariadne is nothing short of masterful. You’ll feel all of Ariadne’s complicated feelings for her brother Asterion the Minotaur, her thwarted longing for escape from her father, Minos’, court and the desire for her mother to snap out of her ennui after giving birth to the Minotaur. Once Theseus arrives on the scene and uses his wiles on both daughters of Minos, the story kicks into a breathtaking saga of a young woman seeking to control her own fate. I loved how no one escapes this recounting unscathed—not Dionysus, not Ariadne or her parents, certainly not her headstrong and passionate sister Phaedra. I could see the end coming but it still made me hold my breath until the last word. A fabulous voice in Mythological stories has arrived.