Title: Ariadne Author: Jennifer Saint Genre: Fiction Rating: 4 out of 5
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?
This is not a happy book, so if you’re looking for some light reading, maybe put this one off for a bit. Excellent writing and vivid characters, and I found the story fascinating, especially life in Crete, the “true” story of a legendary hero, and Dionysus—who was not what I expected at all. But, this was not a happy time for women, and that dragged a lot of enjoyment out of the book, realistic though it probably is/was.
Jennifer Saint was a high school English teacher. Ariadne is her debut novel.
(Galley courtesy of Flat Iron Books in exchange for an honest review.)
Hope Diaz lives in New York City. She spends her time swimming, studying, and caring for her mother, who has dementia. She doesn’t have time for parties, so when she receives a mysterious invitation to one, she doesn’t really care. It seems like every other senior in the city got one, so it can’t be all that special. Until she realizes that everyone else can only see a single sentence on the invitation…and she sees more.
Soon, Hope finds herself on Mount Olympus, a guest of the gods, as she and other challengers prepare for a competition that will grant them their greatest wish. Hope doesn’t want immortality. She just wants to go home and take care of her mother.
But leaving Olympus isn’t an option and Hope soon finds out that not everything—or everyone—is as it seems.
Olympian Challenger isn’t a completely unique concept. I’ve seen lots of comparisons to Percy Jackson and Hunger Games. Sure, there are similarities. It’s difficult to write anything that has nothing in common with any other book ever written. But Olympian Challenger is its own story.
Hope is an interesting character, and the friendships she forges on Olympus are intriguing and inspiring. I enjoyed seeing the gods and the heroes through her less-than-impressed eyes. While the plot lags in places and does skimp on details at times, the writing is solid, and I’m interested in reading the second book.
Astrid Arditi lives and writes in Brooklyn. Olympian Challenger is her newest novel.
(Galley provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.)
Hippodamia was abandoned as a baby, and would have died, were it not for Centaurus, the king of the centaurs who adopted her. Raised among the centaurs, Hippodamia thinks of them as her people, and is glad to do the one thing Centaurus asks of her: marry future king of the Lapiths, Pirithous, son of Zeus, and produce an heir to cement their peace treaty.
But not everyone wants peace. Some of the centaurs feel that the price is too high. The King of the Myrmidons wants Pirithous’s land and his wealth of horses, and is willing to go far to get them. Meanwhile, strong-willed Hippodamia and prideful Pirithous must come to terms with each other if their marriage is to succeed, and if unexpected love is to grow.
But neither of them expected their wedding day to be the start of a war.
Tamer of Horses appealed to me because I’ve always loved reading the old myths and legends, but the more well-known ones have been “done” to death. Tamer of Horses takes an obscure bit of lore and turns it into a vibrant, breathing story, with characters that dance across the page. I was more than a little disappointed when the story ended and I had to leave the magical setting behind.
The walls separating Tartarus have fallen, and now monsters from Greek mythology have escaped to the mortal world. The Sirens are part of the escapees. Bound for centuries because of their bloodlust, greed, and murders, the Sirens now run Siren Tours for tourists to Alcatraz, where they find their prey.
It’s Melody’s first time in the mortal realm, and she doesn’t want to be there. She’s different from the other Sirens: she doesn’t like blood, she has no interest in murder, and she hears specters in the water. Then she meets Dean, who becomes her assigned target, and falls in love. Can she keep Dean safe from her monstrous family, or has their love doomed them both?
So…I like P.C. and Kristin Cast. I enjoy their writing, which has a decidedly young adult slant. I’ve met them both, and they’re very bubbly and funny. I’m a fan of P.C.’s Goddess Summoning series, as well as The House of Night. I have not read either of the books in this series. I enjoyed most of this novella. The Sirens have always fascinated me, and their move in the real world is well-done. However, I really didn’t care for the ending of The Scent of Salt and Sand. At all. I intend to read Amber Smoke, but I’m pretty undecided about reading any more about the Sirens.
(Galley provided by Diversion books via NetGalley.)