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Ariadne cover art

Ariadne

By: Jennifer Saint
Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
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Summary

The mesmerising retelling from the woman at the heart of one of Ancient Greece's most famous myths.

Ariadne, Princess of Crete and daughter of the fearsome King Minos, grows up hearing stories of gods and heroes. But beneath the golden palace something else stirs, the hoofbeats and bellows echoing from the Labyrinth below. Every year its captive, the Minotaur—Ariadne's brother—demands blood.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne sees in him her chance to escape. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that drawing the attention of the mercurial gods may cost her everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to risk everything for love ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this exceptional debut novel is perfect for fans of Circe, A Song of Achilles, and The Silence of The Girls.

©2021 Jennifer Saint (P)2021 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"Exquisitely written and exceptionally moving, this is a mythical retelling to savour." (Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den)

"A lyrical, insightful re-telling." (Daily Mail)

"If you like Madeline Miller's Circe and Song of Achilles, you will eat up Ariadne.... Saint makes it a page-turner." (Glamour)

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not very good.

if being a book written by a woman about a woman makes something feminist. then this is a feminist book. however in my opinion it is simply a Mills and boon style rewriting of the myth of Ariadne. beautiful told by the narrator however it is as if somebody had copied Madeline Millers homework. if you enjoyed the nuance and beauty of Madeline Miller circe then this book will likely irritate you.

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16 people found this helpful

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Ancient Greek Chiton Ripper

Where to start? Whilst the reader did her level best with the material this absolute mess of a book is basically a bizarre Mills & Boon set in mythological Greece. Saying that, the author plays fast and loose with the actual myths in order to present a devilishly caddish Theseus, all rippling muscles and ‘icy green eyes’, and our eponymous heroine, the fragrant and patently English middle class Ariadne who in modern life would drive a Chelsea Tractor and wear Hunters with her print frock. Her later romance with the god Dionysus - yes - descends into inadvertently hilarious domestic farce quite quickly and like so many contemporary writers ‘doing’ Ancient Greek Myths she has no concept of symbolism, religious faith or indeed, mythology. If you want the genuine article, listen to Mary Renault’s The Mask Of Apollo. If you want bulging thews and fluttering hearts give this a go and the best of luck.

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10 people found this helpful

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  • 26-06-21

A wonderful listen!

God, Theseus is such a coward isn’t he? Also, Phaedra was as annoying as I thought she was from the very start. Was a pity though.. because she was a smart girl. I really enjoyed this listen and thought that it was narrated very well.

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3 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking - in every way brilliant

Such a gut wrenchingly sad story. Written and performed with such beauty and tenderness. Outstanding

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2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story

I couldn't put this book down, or more accurately stop listening to it. The narrator is fantastic, she even carries off male voices with no problem and had me crying in certain parts, the emotions felt so raw.

The mythology behind this is sound and it's absolutely fantastic that a previously generally ignored figure from the time of gods and monsters has been given her place in fictional history.

Honestly, if you want to lose yourself to a beautifully crafted story, this is for you.

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2 people found this helpful

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amazing

Amazing book, the way it is written is beautiful, and the words flow off the page perfectly. Multiple stories all meet in a mutual telling of loss, tragedy, love, despair, hatred, and worship. The escapism that reading this book provides is undeniable. I was hooked from the first page and I can't fault anything I read.

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1 person found this helpful

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amazing narrator, fantastic story

oh my gosh the narrator is SO GOOD. I cried at the end and I'm sure it was because she was so amazing as well as the story.

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Eh

(Spoilers ahead)
This ending is unforgivable, mostly because it doesn't make any goddamn sense.

The book was pretty "meh" in the beginning, then turned relatively good around 40% of it (when Dionysos steps in), but then, oh boy, did the text fell into a dark pit of mess again. Jennifer Saint, attempting to truly write a feminist retelling, tries to antagonise every male character in this story (except, mabye, Hyppolitus). Dunno if she knows, and there are ofc many variants of the story, but Dionysos has no "secret dark side" concealed from his wife. Ariadne participated in the dionysias, countless classical murials will show you so. So she shrinking away from her husband, finding the rites revolting, doesn't make much sense to me...

Not to mention, in the myths Dionysos immortalises Ariadne just like he did his mother. Ariadne, frantically running up to Perseus (who should be long dead by the time Thesus' and Ariadne's even born, since Heracles is his offspring) just to look into Medusa's eyes... Come on.

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Wonderful dramatic narration

I haven’t been able to get the book yet but hope to read it soon. This is a good dramatic audible for long distance runners and car journeys. The plot is women centred and the dual narration works well. It’s not scholarly like Natalie Haynes but very accessible to a modern audience.

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!! MINOR SPOILERS !!

I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed the readers portrayal of the voices too. Only Criticism of this book is that: it is not a “feminist” retelling, quite frankly it makes the main protagonist, Ariadne, quite submissive and later in the book her role me nothing more than a mother, when she sees Theseus again it’s nothings more than “wow I can’t believe u did that to me” and then the story continues.

As this is a Greek mythology retelling women never played a major role, unless they themselves were a Goddess, so I understand where the author may struggle to find “feminism” in its characters.

i enjoyed the relationship between Ariadne and her sister Phaedra, and i felt like she held more of the "feminist" traits rather than Ariadne.

i believed the middle of the book was slow, i cant really remember much of it in all honesty, but the beginning and the description of the minotaur i found very enticing. the way the author describes the minotaur and its relationship with Ariadne and Phaedra i thought was an amazing portrayal of how he was a monster, but also came from the same womb.

overall, the beginning and the end were the only remarkable parts of the book for me, i enjoyed the book though-roughly but felt the middle was lacking and just was Ariadne describing how terrible her life was and how sad she was.

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