Book Review: Medusa

You kill and are deemed a hero, celebrated by all, rewarded by the Gods… When I kill I am immediately branded a monster, disgusting, wretched.

Rosie Hewlett ~ Medusa

Synopsis

Within the depths of the Underworld the formidable snake-haired Gorgon has finally had enough. Tired of being eternally and unjustly brandished a villain, Medusa has found the courage to face her tragic past and speak out.

Determined to expose the centuries of lies surrounding her name, Medusa gives unparalleled insight into her cursed life, from her earliest memories and abandonment at birth, right through to her tragic and untimely death at the hands of the hero Perseus. Through telling her story, Medusa finally reveals the lost truth behind antiquity’s most infamous monster.

Review

Medusa is renowned as a fierce monster who kills men without thinking. Yet what if she was just misunderstood?

One of my favourite mythological creatures, I was excited to read Medusa’s point of view to see where it all went wrong. However, this retelling really didn’t live up to expectations.

While it was interesting to hear her story, the narrative was quite long and drawn out. It also felt very bland – I would have liked Medusa to be passionate and fiery when sharing her version of events, but she was merely lacklustre. I didn’t love the modern voice either, although it didn’t detract from the story. The timeline was also a bit shorter than expected, as she and her sisters didn’t really have much time to grow into legendary monsters before Medusa finds out that she’s pregnant.

What really let the book down for me was the interaction between Perseus and Medusa. I guessed that the author would have them ‘make a deal’ so that we still saw Perseus in a good light and she could be martyred to save his mother. What a letdown.

If everyone is good and has a tragic backstory, then the world of fiction becomes boring. While I am in agreement that women have been badly treated throughout history, it doesn’t make for an exciting story. In my opinion, it would have been more interesting to have a new perception of Perseus, so that he became the villain and murdered her savagely despite recognising that the monster was really just a woman. And a pregnant one at that.

Sometimes people are just evil and in fiction that’s OK; in all honesty, I find a villain much more interesting.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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