A few weeks ago, I went to the SoKY BookFest. Here in Kentucky, there aren’t a lot of writerly/readerly things, so I’ve been looking forward to the BookFest for several months. As soon as I stepped into the huge conference room and saw table after table, stacked with books and attended by the (140) authors, I thought, “Why can’t we do this every month? Every week?” After picking up over $60 worth of books, though, I figured out why it would be a bad idea for me for this to happen more frequently. I wanted every book. They were all so beautiful and the authors were right there, and they wanted to talk to me and sign their books for me, and I wanted to buy all their books.
I took a break to listen to Henry Winkler speak (yes, the Henry Winkler), get an autographed copy of his book, grab lunch, and then went back in to get $40 worth of more books. Then I went to a panel where I listened to three ladies discuss their realistic fiction writing techniques (and had an intense break-through moment regarding my own book–thank you, writerly atmosphere of BookFest). Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I hope to attend again in the future.
That brings me to tonight’s book review–
I was drawn to Author Barrett’s table by the adorable Sherlock Holmes plushie sitting on top of her books. She writes a series of children’s books called The Sherlock Files in which Sherlock Holmes’ decedents go around and solve his unsolved cases. But my attention wavered when I saw the cover of Dark of the Moon. Here recently, I’ve been wanting to read only books written by women, with women as lead characters–that will hopefully pass the Bechdel test–so the feminine eye on the cover drew me to this book.
I know I’ve heard the story of the Minotaur, but it’s been long enough that I couldn’t tell it to you. I briefly entertained the idea of looking it up for a quick read before getting into this book, but I was sucked in so fast, I really couldn’t put the book down long enough. Anyway, I still haven’t looked it up, so I don’t know what parts of the book are directly from the original story and what’s from Author Barrett’s mind, as this is a retelling of the Greek myth.
The main character is teenage Ariadne, known to her people as She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess. Her mother (She-Who-Is-Goddess) is her best friend, as other teenagers on the island are afraid of her for her potential power and proximity to Goddess. Now, her mother is not Goddess. This was confusing for me. Ariadne’s mother is She-Who-Is-Goddess, not Goddess. So. Yeah. It does get explained in the book, so I understand now, but it still sounds confusing.
Ariadne is a lonely young woman, with only her mother and her brother to love her. And her brother is the minotaur, trapped under the palace where he can’t kill everyone mindlessly. He’s not a monster–he just doesn’t know his own strength and isn’t able to understand most of what is said to him. Ariadne goes to visit him whenever she gets a chance…
Until one day, a ship arrives, bringing tributes from Athens. The Athenians don’t know that they should fear She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, so Ariadne is able to make a few friends out of the pack, including Theseus. He’s a charming, quiet young man, but with a secret–he aims to kill the monster under the palace.
Ugh, I loved this book. The writing is wonderful and the characters are sweet. It passes the Bechdel test over and over again (yay) and the romance parts are very secondary to the bigger plot. I was pleasantly surprised at how little romance there was, actually.
The story is told from Ariadne’s POV (first person, past tense) and Theseus’s POV (first person, present tense), which sometimes threw me off but it wasn’t awful. Ariadne is strong and fierce, while still being kind and scared of her destiny. She gives me hope that there are plenty of young women characters out there to love.
5/5 GR stars. I’m very happy to have a signed copy of this book.