Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

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For lovers of Greek mythology and romance, this story has it all. It takes you into the woman's perspective of the time of Gods and heroes and is a feminist retelling of the ancient story of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur. Ariadne is the Princess of Crete, and the Minotaur is her brother, half man half bull, the cruel result of a curse on their mother Pasiphae, punished by the gods for the greed and deceit of her husband King Minos. And that, as Ariadne is well aware, is the way of things - women continually pay the price for the faults and crimes of men.

Minos makes use of the Minotaur to instil terror throughout the lands, demanding sacrifice of seven Athenian youths and seven maidens each year to feed the monster. When Theseus arrives among the sacrificial group, Ariadne is so attracted to him, she resolves to help him slay the monster, her brother, and escape the puzzle of the labyrinth.

But the happy ending eludes Ariadne, for Theseus is as flawed as other men, and even the charming god Dionysus who comes to her aid seems to be not entirely trustworthy. Whilst humans are treated as playthings by the gods, and subject to their whims, women have it worse, powerless against both men and gods. But Ariadne is determined to assert her own power.

Whilst this story can be read and thoroughly enjoyed as an immersive fantasy, it also has relevance to current issues of the imbalance of power between men and women, and would make a good discussion starter about male female relationships and modern day politics.

Themes: Greek mythology, Women, Power, Deception.

Helen Eddy