Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Dark of the Moon

Synopsis: Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.

Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .

My Review: We’ve seen fairytales and classics being retold for modern day audiences in the past few years, but retelling Greek myths has never been done.  This fact alone was enough to make me want to read this.  It was just such a brilliant idea.  The idea that the tale of the Theseus and the Minotaur was one huge overblown story was great.  Plus I’m a huge Greek mythology fan and love ancient Greece in general so this was doubly appealing for me.  

Though I’m a huge Greece nut, there was so many things that I was clueless about.  For instance I had no idea that in different parts of Greece they called the gods by different names.  I mean, logically it makes sense, but no one ever tells you that! And I had no idea that Artemis was also the goddess of childbirth.  The way the Kretian’s worshiped her was so similar to Hathor in Egypt I was flabbergasted.  The cows head and the horns, it just kinda shocked me.  Had no idea.  Now it totally makes sense with Wiccans and the Goddess and the connection to the moon.  Perfect example of religious evolution. Yes, I’m geeking out, but I can’t help it.  It’s so cool! 

The whole island of Krete and the city Knossos was so well researched.  Historians barely know anything about Knossos because of the huge catastrophe that devastated the whole island.  The few mosaics and wall paintings that remain depict the famous bull dancer/leapers.  I really don’t know how much was true historical facts, and how much was just filled in with well educated guesses, but the islands culture and practices were flawlessly done. I felt like I had been transported through time. 

I absolutely loved Ariadne  (Inception! Haha) and Theseus.  Ariadne’s character was very intriguing.  Though she longs to travel and wishes that people wouldn’t treat her differently because she is She-Who-Will-Become-Goddess (it’s a mouthful I know), she still believes full heartedly that she will become divine and become one with the Goddess.  For a modern audience it’s hard to grasp that someone would think that they were actually a Goddess, but I still greatly enjoyed her story.  She was caring and loving young woman who would do anything to keep her people safe.  I really liked Theseus as well.  I absolutely loved how his “heroic deeds” were just stories he told to impress his father, the King of Athens, because he didn’t want to seem like a boring country boy.  What’s so funny is that’s probably exactly what happened.  He was an honest and noble character, yet he wasn’t the fantastic hero that stories make him out to be.  Still loved him though.  

Asterion (aka the Minotaur) was a very interesting twist as well.  The fact that he was just horribly deformed and had a child’s mind, and not some horrible man eating monster was a very cool change.  Though he is abnormally strong, he’s still relatively harmless and even sweet.  I felt horrible for him because he was stuck underneath the palace all alone.  Ariadne visited him almost daily and even Theseus sort of made friends with him, but it was clear that he was still very lonely.  

I think it’s pretty clear that I really loved this book.  The fact that Ariadne and Theseus didn’t end up having a romantic relationship gained it extra points in my book as well.  Dark of the Moon will transport you through time to when Gods walked among mortals and old myths become reality.  Amazingly innovative and a wonderful retelling of a famous Greecian story, Dark of the Moon is a can’t miss read.  


LoriStrongin said...

Good review! I hadn't come across this book before and, like you, I'm a huge greek myth fan. It's interesting that Tracy Barrett explored the fact that the Greeks often used different names for their gods and goddesses.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with, "but retelling Greek myths has never been done." C.S. Lewis, Meg Cabot, Jennifer Estep, and Rick Riordan, just to name a few, have published books based on greek myths in recent years, so Barrett wasn't the first.