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Medusa

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A dazzling, feminist retelling of Greek myth from the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist, stunningly illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely A dazzling, feminist retelling of Greek myth from the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist, stunningly illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . and destiny itself. Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation.


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A dazzling, feminist retelling of Greek myth from the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist, stunningly illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely A dazzling, feminist retelling of Greek myth from the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist, stunningly illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . and destiny itself. Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation.

30 review for Medusa

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Vigilant Jessie Burton’s retelling of the Medusa story turns several of the recognised elements about Medusa on its head. This book asserts the tale of a woman as fascinating as anyone in Greek mythology and certainly one of the most tragic. Burton’s interpretation of Medusa is not the stereotypical fixation of a monster deployed as an opponent in a hero’s golden quest. She is a vividly drawn young woman, fearful, lonely, unsure of her future, and searching for answers. The novel advocates a woman Vigilant Jessie Burton’s retelling of the Medusa story turns several of the recognised elements about Medusa on its head. This book asserts the tale of a woman as fascinating as anyone in Greek mythology and certainly one of the most tragic. Burton’s interpretation of Medusa is not the stereotypical fixation of a monster deployed as an opponent in a hero’s golden quest. She is a vividly drawn young woman, fearful, lonely, unsure of her future, and searching for answers. The novel advocates a woman’s position, a woman wronged, and a journey to discover herself and find acceptance for what she has become. At one level, this can be interpreted as a feminist opportunity to illustrate the power of women and the deceit of men. Still, I instead wanted to see this through the lens of a dazzling tragedy of humanity. Medusa was a beautiful young woman pursued by Poseidon until he raped her in Athena’s temple. Athena’s retribution was to punish Medusa and her two sisters by turning them into Gorgons. Stheno and Euryale became immortal winged beings, while Medusa, the mortal sister, with hair replaced by snakes, received a further cruel warning. “ ‘Medusa, listen well. Woe betide any man fool enough to look upon you now!’ ‘What do you mean?’ I whispered, barely able to speak, but Athena saw no need to give me an answer.” Medusa’s happy fishing life with her sisters is replaced with an isolated existence on a deserted island. While her sisters can fly off, Medusa is confined to the rocky landscape with only her dog as company. One day a young man lands on the island as if blown off course, but armed with his sword, shield and winged sandals all kept covered on his boat. Medusa directs him to the edge of her cave but warns him not to come in or look at her. He says his name is Perseus, while Medusa claims her name is Merina. As they spend their days talking, they realise the growing intimacy and the sense of companionship. They discuss many things and seem to be open and revealing about themselves. Although both still hide a secret. What is Perseus’s true mission, and why won’t Medusa give her real name. Could this be love, and will it survive if they tell each other their hidden secrets? The book is a sensitive view of Medusa that we don’t usually have the opportunity to consider. Her fate designated at the hands of a God and Goddess feels cruel, how through no fault of her own has she been so horribly damned. As the story progresses, her sense of worth and hope grows. Perhaps she has overimagined or misunderstood Athena’s curse – “Woe betide any man fool enough to look upon you now!” Perhaps Perseus can help! The book is an illustrated version, with remarkable drawings from Olivia Lomenech Gill, that fit perfectly with the theme of Greek mythology and ancient history. I would recommend this book, and I want to thank Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ARC in return for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Update: we have a cover now and MY BODY IS READY!!! A retelling of Medusa, with a focus on gender politics, such as sexual harassment??? WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?!!! I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Update: we have a cover now and MY BODY IS READY!!! A retelling of Medusa, with a focus on gender politics, such as sexual harassment??? WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    omg all i have ever wanted in life is a book about Medusa where she is not the villain. praise bless 2020 is going to be a good year

  4. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    A Medusa retelling that actually focuses on the shitty things men did to her?! What a time to be alive ♥

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This book was described as "a dazzling, feminist retelling of a Greek myth," which is a perfect fit for my daughter's reading pile. However, I bought it for myself & thoroughly enjoyed it. Although based on a Greek myth author Jessie Burton grounds the story in strong, truly believable characters & it works brilliantly. The story is enhanced by some superb illustrations by Olivia Lomench Gill. Now I can prove to my daughter that I do read outside my comfort zone & as an added bonus she gets to ke This book was described as "a dazzling, feminist retelling of a Greek myth," which is a perfect fit for my daughter's reading pile. However, I bought it for myself & thoroughly enjoyed it. Although based on a Greek myth author Jessie Burton grounds the story in strong, truly believable characters & it works brilliantly. The story is enhanced by some superb illustrations by Olivia Lomench Gill. Now I can prove to my daughter that I do read outside my comfort zone & as an added bonus she gets to keep this book as well. Don't suppose she'd like something from my huge pile of crime novels ? Probably not. She prefers more literary fare than the pulp fiction I usually read. No wonder I'm so proud of her.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    4.5**** Wow this book is another in a Medusa mythology retelling and it was needed! This tells Medusa’s story and gives her a voice which very few mythology tellings give notice to. Her Medusa has been on an isolated island, with her two sisters and her dog as company, since she was cursed by Athena to have snakes for hair. She has been on this island for 4 years isolated and lonely from others her age. When one day an intriguing boy arrives on the island called Perseus, he might be able to allev 4.5**** Wow this book is another in a Medusa mythology retelling and it was needed! This tells Medusa’s story and gives her a voice which very few mythology tellings give notice to. Her Medusa has been on an isolated island, with her two sisters and her dog as company, since she was cursed by Athena to have snakes for hair. She has been on this island for 4 years isolated and lonely from others her age. When one day an intriguing boy arrives on the island called Perseus, he might be able to alleviate this desolation which will leas to trust, love and betrayal. This book had so many good things covering Medusa’s story. It shows her before Poseidon and Athena: how she was a sailor with her two sisters as divers. This book also shows a strong sisterhood between Stheno, Euyale and Medusa and I absolutely loved the relationship between Stheno and Medusa especially. This book also delved into rape culture, victim blaming and slut shaming- even by other women, acting as an agent for the patriarchy. Most importantly this book looks at self acceptance, accepting and owning who you are despite very dark periods and your mistakes. This made me love Medusa even more and was just so wholesome and happy to read these parts. The illustrations to this book are absolutely stunning and beautiful. Some of the illustrations are so powerful as well, you could feel the emotions emanating off the page. I will be buying a copy of this book once it comes out (I have been reading this on my tiny phone screen). This is the Medusa myth that should be told to everyone. Thank you to NetGalley for giving me a e-Arc to read of this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "So often [Medusa’s] robbed of agency, turned into a monster, and used as a stepping stone for heroes. The myth of Medusa is a tale of objectification and toxic masculinity, and the meaning of consent. Given the continuing revelations about men like Weinstein and (US president Donald) Trump, and others we have each encountered on our way through life, Medusa's myth is ripe for the retelling." Medusa's story is one that has long captivated me and I implicitly trusted Jess Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "So often [Medusa’s] robbed of agency, turned into a monster, and used as a stepping stone for heroes. The myth of Medusa is a tale of objectification and toxic masculinity, and the meaning of consent. Given the continuing revelations about men like Weinstein and (US president Donald) Trump, and others we have each encountered on our way through life, Medusa's myth is ripe for the retelling." Medusa's story is one that has long captivated me and I implicitly trusted Jessie Burton to deliver her story with the sensitivity and depth of emotion her character deserved, and with an empowering spin and full female autonomy that all women deserve. This is exactly what occurred. The entire story was just so tragically beautiful. Medusa was painted as the victim in her own story and not the vengeful killer or the objective to be slain, that she has often been made out to be. She was, instead, viewed here an ordinary girl wishing to live a quiet and solitary existence and with no desires for the power from or notice of the gods. Olivia Lomenech Gill's artwork was the perfect match for the subtleness of emotion exhibited throughout the tale and also the melancholy that exuded from it at the end. A muted colour palette consisting of mostly earthy tones was used for each of the gorgeous images and I would happily display every single one of them on my walls. They were harrowing yet alluring, exactly like the story surrounding them. In the synopsis it is stated that Burton's aim with was to "reclaim Medusa's story" and that is exactly what she did! None who read this can relate to owning sentient hair but many can relate to being punished by society, paying for the mistakes of powerful others, being subjected to the whims of those in authority, and being viewed as one of few accepted binaries. Burton allows us to see and to believe that we contain multitudes, and that we can be the hero of our own story. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Jessie Burton, the illustrator, Olivia Lomenech Gill, and the publisher, Bloomsbury YA, for this opportunity.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Neale

    Even if you are not a lover of Greek Mythology the chances are extremely high that you will at least have heard of the infamous Gorgon named Medusa. Jessie Burton has followed down the path taken by writers such as Pat Barker, Madeline Miller, and Natalie Haynes. And that path is retelling these ancient myths from the perspective of, not minor characters, but characters who do not shine in the spotlight. In particular the female voice rarely heard in many of these tales. With this novel Burton tel Even if you are not a lover of Greek Mythology the chances are extremely high that you will at least have heard of the infamous Gorgon named Medusa. Jessie Burton has followed down the path taken by writers such as Pat Barker, Madeline Miller, and Natalie Haynes. And that path is retelling these ancient myths from the perspective of, not minor characters, but characters who do not shine in the spotlight. In particular the female voice rarely heard in many of these tales. With this novel Burton tells the story of Medusa and Perseus from Medusa’s perspective. Giving her a very human side. Burton’s Medusa is a young woman trapped in her own body. Her body transformed into the monster by Athena that is now her prison. She is unbearably lonely, horrified by what she has become. Indelibly she is slowly dying inside. As with many of the Greek Myths, mortals should always be careful what they promise, and what they wish for from the gods. The Greek gods all seem to have a wicked sense of humor and take pleasure in twisting a mortal’s wish simply to take pleasure in the results. So, when Poseidon takes an interest in Medusa while she fishes in her little skiff, there is very little she can do to repel his unwanted advances. Even when she stops taking to the waters to fish, Poseidon punishes her village with floods and storms. Medusa’s sisters, who are both immortal, think that the only way to stop a god is to ask another god for help. They ask Athena to help. Athena gives Medusa refuge in her temple, and for a short time it appears that everything is fine. But Poseidon, enraged, leaves the sea and rapes Medusa, destroying Athena’s temple in the process. When Athena finds out what has happened, she blames Medusa for desecrating her temple and sanctuary. Just as enraged as Poseidon, Athena turns each and every strand of Medusa’s beautiful hair into a snake. She then declares, “Woe betide any man fool enough to look upon you”. I do believe that every reader of this book knows what she means, but Medusa is puzzled. Is it a warning? When the novel opens Medusa has been living in a cave on a remote island for four years. When Perseus washes up on her island, she helplessly cannot resist talking to him. She makes Perseus stay on the outside of the cave wall while they converse and ultimately get closer to each other. With each day affection grows on both sides, with Perseus declaring that he thinks he loves Medusa, Medusa realizes that she feels the same. “I marvelled that we could fall for each other without meeting face to face, that the mortal mind was capable of such gymnastics when it wanted.” They promise to tell each other their story. Medusa, what she now is, and how she became this way, and Perseus why he is truly on the island. It seems he has not just washed up randomly at all. King Polydectes has charged Perseus with the task of cutting of Medusa’s head. Both Medusa and Perseus just youngsters, who were falling in love. Both forced to change, to be something they’re not. Medusa forced by the gods. Perseus forced by King Polydectes. We all know what happens, but I will stop there, leaving you dear reader in Burton’s capable hands as she ends her marvelous retelling of this tale with a climactic ending. I must give recognition to Olivia Lomenech Gill for the many wondrous, beautiful illustrations. They add so much to the story. Simply brilliant!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

    YA retelling of medusa omg why isn't anyone talking about this??? and it will be dealing with toxic masculinity and consent !!!!! YA retelling of medusa omg why isn't anyone talking about this??? and it will be dealing with toxic masculinity and consent !!!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    bee ʚïɞ

    i am 100% here for this retelling of medusa ♡ MEDUSA IS NOT A MONSTER

  11. 5 out of 5

    India McLeod Kay

    Oh how I loved this book. I'm a huge fan of greek mythology and Medusa has always been one of my favourites but this beautiful retelling is unlike nothing I have read of her before. The feminist spin on the myth is absolutely incredible, with every possible problematic thought being challenged directly. I cannot wait to own a physical copy of this book so that I can annotate and highlight all of the beautiful and empowering quotes. Not only is the writing so wonderfully feminist, it is also beaut Oh how I loved this book. I'm a huge fan of greek mythology and Medusa has always been one of my favourites but this beautiful retelling is unlike nothing I have read of her before. The feminist spin on the myth is absolutely incredible, with every possible problematic thought being challenged directly. I cannot wait to own a physical copy of this book so that I can annotate and highlight all of the beautiful and empowering quotes. Not only is the writing so wonderfully feminist, it is also beautiful. Jessie Burton writes Medusa in such a heartbreaking and (finally) humanising way so that I wanted to weep for this young girl of 18 who had only ever been treated horrendously and subject to misogynistic thinking. I loved Medusa more than I have loved any character in a book for a long time, I am still in awe of how Burton brought her to life so well and made my heart break for her. Finally, how could I not mention the absolutely stunning artwork throughout this book? Where Burton brings life to the characters with her words, Olivia Lomenech Gill's brushstrokes do just as perfect a job. I had to pause multiple times just to admire those beautiful illustrations. Basically, I adored this book and it is 100% a new favourite.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bookphenomena (Micky)

    Headlines: Feminist retelling Underlying relevance for today Illustrations that will blow your mind with their beauty My first thought on finishing is that I need this in a hard copy, so I would say that if possible, savour this in the flesh rather than ebook. The illustrations are utterly eye-catching, inspired and beautiful. This retelling was YA but it’s not without dark and difficult themes. I have placed some trigger warnings at the bottom of this review. While this was a Medusa tale with some f Headlines: Feminist retelling Underlying relevance for today Illustrations that will blow your mind with their beauty My first thought on finishing is that I need this in a hard copy, so I would say that if possible, savour this in the flesh rather than ebook. The illustrations are utterly eye-catching, inspired and beautiful. This retelling was YA but it’s not without dark and difficult themes. I have placed some trigger warnings at the bottom of this review. While this was a Medusa tale with some familiarity, it really portrayed her perspective, what life was like for her. I particularly thought for the first time what life would be like with snakes on your head, the loss of her hair and how that affected her with the same hopes and desires as any young woman. Her narrative alongside Perseus’ was bittersweet and yet still something to delight in. There were so many moments in this historical retelling that will resonate with women in the now, be they young and older. Here’s a flavour of what hit me: power and powerlessness, victim shaming, body image, empowerment and finding your identity. Medusa sure had a lot to tell us. People think your beauty is their possession. As if it’s there for their pleasure, as if they’ve got something invested in it. They think you owe them for their admiration. I think it’s obvious I adored this book and that it would be a lovely gift for yourself or others. Thank you to Bloomsbury for the early review copy. TW: rape, sexual assault, victim shaming, stalking, body image Find this review at A Take From Two Cities Blog.

  13. 4 out of 5

    kaitlyn

    rtc closer to publication date

  14. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    This was such a fast read which isn't something you hear a lot with Greek retellings so if nothing else I would probably recommend it for that. It also somehow finds a middle ground between a true retelling and a modern-day one but in respect to the latter it's only in the sense of tone, some dialogue, and the emphasis on changing the angle of the narrative and putting the focus on the women and women's bodies and the choices made for women without their true and honest consent (ie, when no opti This was such a fast read which isn't something you hear a lot with Greek retellings so if nothing else I would probably recommend it for that. It also somehow finds a middle ground between a true retelling and a modern-day one but in respect to the latter it's only in the sense of tone, some dialogue, and the emphasis on changing the angle of the narrative and putting the focus on the women and women's bodies and the choices made for women without their true and honest consent (ie, when no option is a good option but one takes the road of lesser evil). I loved Medusa, I'm glad you-know-who (just incase it's a spoiler..) was turned to stone, and I was utterly bewitched by the illustrations. If Burton has more retellings up her sleeves, I'll absolutely be reading them. 3.5

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Jefferson

    Wow what a book! I finished it within a day i just had to keep reading, it had me spellbound. Such a heartbreaking read of Medusa’s sad story. I get that this Medusa and Perseus story is set in an alternative universe where Medusa survives and isn’t the ‘gorgon’ we all know. However her back story and origin of how she became a gorgon is the same and just as heartbreaking. Also what a beautiful looking book and i love the illustrations

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charli

    "Outrageous reality: I’d never known a change that wasn’t monstrous." I flew through this beautiful book in few hours, it was incredible. In Jessie’s story Medusa and Perseus meet on her island where she lives with her two sisters, and her dog Argentus. Perseus is unaware of where he is, and who she really is but is quickly intrigued by this mystery girl who refuses to let him see her. She calls herself Merina. Of course she can’t help but fall for Perseus, with his impressive physique and lo "Outrageous reality: I’d never known a change that wasn’t monstrous." I flew through this beautiful book in few hours, it was incredible. In Jessie’s story Medusa and Perseus meet on her island where she lives with her two sisters, and her dog Argentus. Perseus is unaware of where he is, and who she really is but is quickly intrigued by this mystery girl who refuses to let him see her. She calls herself Merina. Of course she can’t help but fall for Perseus, with his impressive physique and loving nature, it was always bound to happen. "His chest was a drum on which the world beat a rhythm, and his mouth the music to dance above it." Medusa and Perseus start out with wary small talk but as the days go by they tell each other their story, because they promised to tell each other the truth, and what a shock it was to him to find out the monster he had been sent to kill was actually the girl he was falling in love with. "I’m a woman whose head hisses: quite the conversation starter, if there was anyone around to have a conversation." I loved that Jessie took the time to name Medusa’s snakes, and gave them their own personalities. I think Echo is my favourite one, but I really loved the play fighting that was going on between Daphne and Callisto. "Your life to come’s a sum for which you do not know the answer." I loved the ending to this book, it’s a unique twist on such a well known myth, and without giving up any spoilers for this gorgeous book, Medusa does not lose her head. I’ll leave it like that, but you all need this book in your life. Jessie Burton has written an incredible story and the artwork by Olivia Lomenech Gill is STUNNING. Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the arc in exchange for my review. I can’t wait for my physical copy to arrive when it’s released!

  17. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    this has so much potential for good or worse??? ah, dear readers, that is the question!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    “You will not find me in my deeds,nor in poems written by long-dead men. But you will find me when you need me, when the wind hears a woman’s cry and fills my sails forward.” Exceptionally powerful and unapologetically feminist, this stunning retelling of one of Greek Myth’s most misunderstood women is absolutely phenomenal! Never before has Medusa been more extraordinarily compelling than she is, here—revealing herself as not a victim nor a monster, but a woman taking back her story. Exiled to a “You will not find me in my deeds,nor in poems written by long-dead men. But you will find me when you need me, when the wind hears a woman’s cry and fills my sails forward.” Exceptionally powerful and unapologetically feminist, this stunning retelling of one of Greek Myth’s most misunderstood women is absolutely phenomenal! Never before has Medusa been more extraordinarily compelling than she is, here—revealing herself as not a victim nor a monster, but a woman taking back her story. Exiled to a far-flung island at the whims of Gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes she has for hair—until a beautiful and charming boy, Perseus arrives on the island and Medusa’s alone no longer. Disrupting her loneliness with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire,love and betrayal.... I absolutely loved everything about this, Medusa has long been written about but, rarely (if ever) do we get to see Medusa’s Perpective. I loved that here, in her own words, she gets to be more than just a cautionary tale or a monster to be slayed. Here she gets to be her unapologetically true self; fraught with insecurities, relishing her new found freedom (and power) or angry at the injustices she has endured—for she is a woman and will most certainly want you to hear her roar. Jessie’s inclusion of personalities for Medusa’s snakes of Echo, Daphne, Callisto (her most prominent snakes) was utterly ingenious and absolutely refreshing;but of all her snakes I’d have to say sweet little Echo was my favourite. I cannot praise the exceptionally written narrative and beautifully lyrical prose without mentioning the stunning illustrations by Olivia Lomenech-Gill. They truly bring Medusa and her story to life, I was honestly mesmerised by how hauntingly beautiful they were. This unflinchingly honest tale of objectification,toxic masculinity, and the meaning of consent is a breathtaking masterpiece that cannot be missed. Also, a massive thank you to Bloomsbury UK and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    This book not coming out until October makes me very sad, it sounds amazing!

  20. 5 out of 5

    birdie

    medusa is my favourite greek myth and i’ve been craving a feminist retelling of it for SO LONG, but this was…a bit of a let down. while the illustrations are gorgeous and there are some parts i liked — for example: it was a really quick read — it definitely disappointed me in most places. perhaps my expectations were just really high, but i craved more. it all felt so surface-levelled, especially the characters. it’s literally a retelling of the myth as in everything is kinda just…told to you. the medusa is my favourite greek myth and i’ve been craving a feminist retelling of it for SO LONG, but this was…a bit of a let down. while the illustrations are gorgeous and there are some parts i liked — for example: it was a really quick read — it definitely disappointed me in most places. perhaps my expectations were just really high, but i craved more. it all felt so surface-levelled, especially the characters. it’s literally a retelling of the myth as in everything is kinda just…told to you. there’s not a lot of showing and, this is definitely due to my expectations, i was disappointed to find out it was just the myth as we know it but with feminism. as a medusa lover, i really wished there were some more twists from the myth but for people who don’t know a lot about this story, i can recommend it! it explains most things in a great way from a slightly feminist point of view!

  21. 4 out of 5

    emily

    such a powerful story! this has really important messages about believing in your own strength and i loved it. the writing and art were both soo beautiful!! medusa’s story was so special & i really enjoyed reading it. highly recommend, especially for fans of circe. thank you bloomsbury for sending me an arc!

  22. 5 out of 5

    jay ☽

    A Medusa retelling where she's not the villain, takes down crappy guys who ooze toxic masculinity, and do shitty things?? Not to be dramatic or anything, but where has this book been all my life??? A Medusa retelling where she's not the villain, takes down crappy guys who ooze toxic masculinity, and do shitty things?? Not to be dramatic or anything, but where has this book been all my life???

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Michelle

    This book is beautiful. Seriously. Such a feat of exemplary writing. It is a gorgeous piece of literary art and within the first page, you are drawn into Medusa’s lonely world and through her eyes, you get to see how she navigates her banished existence. Written in first person, you really get a feel for Medusa’s perspective and reading her thought processes makes this so personal and intimate. I can’t stress how beautifully written it is, and with the absolutely outstanding artwork and drawings This book is beautiful. Seriously. Such a feat of exemplary writing. It is a gorgeous piece of literary art and within the first page, you are drawn into Medusa’s lonely world and through her eyes, you get to see how she navigates her banished existence. Written in first person, you really get a feel for Medusa’s perspective and reading her thought processes makes this so personal and intimate. I can’t stress how beautifully written it is, and with the absolutely outstanding artwork and drawings that accompany the main writing, really makes for a wonderful reading experience. Medusa, a character that is often villainised and misunderstood, it was great to read her portrayed in a different way and the author really brought her to life. She is a character you can sympathise with, understand and feel almost in harmony with, with overarching feelings I think we all experience. She’s such a human character and it was so nice to read her in this way. Right from the beginning, I loved the story. It set itself up so well, and I knew it would be one I was drawn into and wouldn’t be able to put down. It’s so immersive and an overall utter joy to read. It was lyrical and poetic and an incredibly powerful story. It’s one of those books that you read and then take it with you when you’ve finished the final page. I read it in one sitting and it’s a book you definitely need on your shelf. I read this as an ebook and now I definitely need a hard copy too. 10 out of 5 stars for sure. Thank you to the author and publishers via NetGalley for this book in return for my honest thoughts and review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Antipodean Bookclub

    “The sunlight loved his head, making diamonds in the water to crown it. His chest was a drum on which the world beat a rhythm, and his mouth the music to dance above it” . . . The moment Perseus steps onto Medusa’s island she is captivated by him. It has been four years since she and her sisters fled to their small rocky outcropping away from the unwanted attentions of the god Poseidon and the cruelty of the goddess Athena Punished for her beauty, Medusa’s head is covered in snakes, some of whom she “The sunlight loved his head, making diamonds in the water to crown it. His chest was a drum on which the world beat a rhythm, and his mouth the music to dance above it” . . . The moment Perseus steps onto Medusa’s island she is captivated by him. It has been four years since she and her sisters fled to their small rocky outcropping away from the unwanted attentions of the god Poseidon and the cruelty of the goddess Athena Punished for her beauty, Medusa’s head is covered in snakes, some of whom she names, and they reflect her moods and her fears “I’m a woman whose head hisses: quite the conversation starter if there was anyone around to have a conversation” Medusa is lonely and vulnerable. Unwilling to show herself to Perseus and heeding Athena’s warning “woe betide any man who looks on you now,” she and Perseus talk from either side of a rock getting too know each other’s stories and starting to fall in love. Until that is, in another cruel twist of fate, it seems that to save his mother, Perseus must return hone with the head of the Medusa This feminist retelling of Medusa’s myth not only lays blame at the feet of capricious gods, but also the people of Medusa’s village who suggested; that she was flaunting herself, that she should just give in, that it’s an honour to catch the attention of a god like Poseidon. As she tells her story, we see and grow to love the girl as well as the Gorgon, but it’s only when Medusa starts to embrace the Gorgon part of her that she finds some semblance of peace Beautiful both in terms of prose from Jessie Burton and illustrations from olivia lomenech gill this is an absolute must for all mythology lovers 💫 Medusa has pride of place on my shelf, thank you so much to the publisher for my gifted copy

  25. 4 out of 5

    sarahreads

    gods, immortal/mortal men do not deserve rights i repeat they do noT. i love how this was not a story of medusa being the villain. she deserves all the love. this was such a great feminist greek myth retelling. it was easy to read, heartfelt and heartbreaking to see what she actually went through. its crazy how twisted it is to think that she was the one at fault in stories, but i guess thats how a patriarchal society usually are like anyway in the real world sadly. overall, a fuuun read! some qu gods, immortal/mortal men do not deserve rights i repeat they do noT. i love how this was not a story of medusa being the villain. she deserves all the love. this was such a great feminist greek myth retelling. it was easy to read, heartfelt and heartbreaking to see what she actually went through. its crazy how twisted it is to think that she was the one at fault in stories, but i guess thats how a patriarchal society usually are like anyway in the real world sadly. overall, a fuuun read! some quotes i like: "I thought of what it might mean to have a boy admire you, not for how you looked, but for who you were. For your thoughts and your deeds, your fears and your dreams. Was such a miracle to be my inheritance?" "Perseus, when you're a girl, people think your beauty is their possession. As if it's there for their pleasure, as if they've got something invested in it. They think you owe them for their admiration." "I did want to be seen. I did want love - on my terms, as the person I truly was, snakes and all. And she had also reminded me that it was not weak to admit wanting such a thing."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Giles

    4.5 stars Everything about this book was so beautiful and I mean everything - it is hands down the prettiest under-the-dust-jacket book I own and the illustrations in this are top tier More than this though, the writing in itself was also a work of art. Beautiful and moving and feminist and it took you on a real journey alongside Medusa All in all a brilliant piece of work that I’m very proud to add to my Greek mythology retelling collection

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna Kimbro

    I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I read this book in one sitting - in 1.5 hours, to be exact. And I’ve been wrestling with how to review it in a way that doesn’t give to much away but does justice to the beautiful story. This representation of the Medusa myth, told by Medusa herself, casts her story in a whole new light. It’s both the myth I’m familiar with and something so much more. It’s a story of trauma, recovery, self-discovery, of a girl wrestling with the hand fate (o I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I read this book in one sitting - in 1.5 hours, to be exact. And I’ve been wrestling with how to review it in a way that doesn’t give to much away but does justice to the beautiful story. This representation of the Medusa myth, told by Medusa herself, casts her story in a whole new light. It’s both the myth I’m familiar with and something so much more. It’s a story of trauma, recovery, self-discovery, of a girl wrestling with the hand fate (or rather, the gods) has dealt her and pushing back against what others decided for her. While short, this story isn’t light. It deals with SA (implied but not described) and the resulting trauma. Medusa’s myth is not a happy one, but the beautiful, often poetic prose sweeps the reader along as Medusa discovers love - in its many forms. I’ll end by simply saying this is a book I wish I could read again for the first time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    It's the hardest thing in the world to explain yourself, to tell your story clearly. We are all of us such complicated creatures, whether we have snakes for hair or not. This is the 2nd book out this year (I think) that focuses solely on Medusa giving her the voice she deserves .. I couldn't be happier! Just like I knew I would, I loved this one! I Literally flew through it in a matter of hours and then immediately sat and read it again with my 11 year old daughter who also loved it! It took a diff It's the hardest thing in the world to explain yourself, to tell your story clearly. We are all of us such complicated creatures, whether we have snakes for hair or not. This is the 2nd book out this year (I think) that focuses solely on Medusa giving her the voice she deserves .. I couldn't be happier! Just like I knew I would, I loved this one! I Literally flew through it in a matter of hours and then immediately sat and read it again with my 11 year old daughter who also loved it! It took a different take on Medusa's story from the one that I knew but I really enjoyed the changes Jessie Burton made - a brilliant 'twist' to the end. I also really loved that Medusa's snakes were given names and their own personalities - my daughter especially loved the snakes .. Daphne and Callisto being her favourites. It was not a plot heavy read and the tone was quite light compared some retellings, (I'm guessing this is due to it being aimed at a wider audience age) but yet the story still felt as impactful, empowering and thought provoking. The double page illustrations throughout were just absolutely stunning and made just the most beautiful additions to the book. A brilliant and truly delightful read ... A must read!! Thank you so much to the publisher for granting my wish on netgalley for this incredible book!! I already had my copy preordered and now my daughter would like her own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I can remember as a kid being stuck in front of the tv on a Sunday afternoon watching old reruns of those epic Hollywood retelling of the Greek myths. Complete with slightly wonky animated skeletons. To my childish mind, they were amazing and I lapped them up each time they were on. It was only as I got older that I started to realize that in its way Hollywood had changed these tales to make them much more one side. The hero, more obvious, and the whole tale, a little more Judeo Christian than I can remember as a kid being stuck in front of the tv on a Sunday afternoon watching old reruns of those epic Hollywood retelling of the Greek myths. Complete with slightly wonky animated skeletons. To my childish mind, they were amazing and I lapped them up each time they were on. It was only as I got older that I started to realize that in its way Hollywood had changed these tales to make them much more one side. The hero, more obvious, and the whole tale, a little more Judeo Christian than that which was really necessary. When you read the originals as best you can you start to realize just how messy these ancient gods and goddesses really were to them. Mortal to often being there at the expense of the god's things to be played with for their satisfaction and entertainment. Let's be honest to say they were problematic is putting in mildly. So when I came across Medusa at the book store I was curious to see how a modern author would tackle the subject. After all whilst Medusa in our modern minds is painted as this horrible monster to be slain. From the perspective of the past she was most definitely the victim of a deranged god who couldn't understand the word no. There is something to be said for the way Burton has tackled this legend and her hero. Instead of bringing us the head of a monster, we are introduced to a girl traumatised and scared living on an island far from her home. Medusa is a girl torn apart by the fickle whims of gods and thrown aside due to lust and jealousy. The author showed me a girl just wanting to understand how she came to be who she was and yurning to be who she was before all this happened. She has done an astounding job in such a short text of showing the aftermath of sexual assault told through the guise of the legends of old. This questioning of what you did wrong and waves of self-loathing and hatred. It is a powerful thing to witness as we see her open up to us about what took place. This is amplified all the more as Medusa is talking directly to us the read the whole way through. She wants us to understand everything that has taken part in her life. Maybe in part, this is to help her come to terms with what took place, to understand that which is an act of pure violence against aginst her. And to try and find her way back to even a fraction of regaining herself. And then we have Perseus The man of the hour the defending champion and the slayer of beasts. But then again maybe not because here to Burton has woven a new stand into the story. Gone is the cocky strutting hero of old replaced with a boy too young to be out fighting the battles of others. Scared and alone sent on a mission to fight another man's war. It's interesting to see how the author has changed these twos narrative to make them better reflect each other. Caught at the whims of others and bound together in ways they could not have imagined. It's an amazing work of fiction and you find yourself all too easily caught up in their tragic love affair all be it one of words and unfulfilled heartache. It's a curious thing to see how Medusa's ability to turn those who look upon her face in stone works as a metaphor for how our past traumas go on to hurt and destroy future relationships be it romantic or otherwise. And whilst you may find yourself wanting more for these to we must always remember that greek myths aren't really in the business of complete happy ending even in more modern versions. Whilst I have talked a great deal about the words Burton has brought to this book it would be to go amiss on my part not to talk about Olivia Lomenech Gill's beautiful illustrations. Her works act like frescoes bring the story that little bit more to life as we weave our way through this tale. Each one capture not only and images from the text but brings the feel and mood of it into color. For me, it is hard to imagine one without the other and these two have worked so well together in bringing the whole thing to life. This is a book that you could if you wished get through quite quickly, but for me, that would be ashamed, there is a lot to take in here and the topics that Burton brings to the forefront of this legend are hefty and take a lot to deal with. In telling the tale of Medusa she brings a no holds barred take on what these legends mean to a modern audience using a language both so very old and ideas that have echoes reaching right up to the present day.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Bassett

    Exiled to an isolated, forgotten island at the end of the world by the fickle whims of the very beings who use mortals as mere playthings, Medusa has to deal with accepting what she has become all of which is the result of the capricious gods she found herself at the mercy of due to simply promising one of them they could have anything as long as they would spare her life. However, The gods are indeed incredibly petty and jealous, and when it comes to light that she has been taken advantage of, Exiled to an isolated, forgotten island at the end of the world by the fickle whims of the very beings who use mortals as mere playthings, Medusa has to deal with accepting what she has become all of which is the result of the capricious gods she found herself at the mercy of due to simply promising one of them they could have anything as long as they would spare her life. However, The gods are indeed incredibly petty and jealous, and when it comes to light that she has been taken advantage of, Medusa learns that the blame rests firmly with her despite her arguments of trying to fend off the very being that defiled her. Now used to island life with nothing but her sisters and faithful dog to keep her company, a mysterious man appears on the island: Perseus. Within a heartbeat her life is rearranged once again as the pair grow closer with revealing more of how they have both suffered at the hands of both man and the gods themselves, however Medusa is wise and remains shielded from his ever-growing curiosity to see the person she truly is which becomes harder and harder when it seems like he is the only one to understand her plight as their lives seem to mirror each other’s in unexpected ways. Will Medusa be able to hide this stranger from her sisters, and could Perseus ever really trust this voice which refuses to show the face behind it? Illuminating, emotional, and highlighting the feelings of one of Greek mythology’s most misunderstood characters, this truly is a glorious read paired with outstanding artwork.

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