by Jessie Burton
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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 05 Dec 2023
Bloomsbury USA, Bloomsbury Publishing
"A beautiful and profound retelling." - Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe
"Gives the serpent-headed monster of myth a powerful and haunting humanity."- Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne and Elektra
From New York Times bestselling author Jessie Burton, a dazzling retelling of the Greek myth of Medusa, illuminating the woman behind the legend.
Exiled to a far-flung island after being abused by powerful Gods, Medusa has little company other than the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. Haunted by the memories of a life before everything was stolen from her, she has no choice but to make peace with her present: she is Medusa the Monster. But when the charmed and beautiful Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is blown open, unleashing desire, love--and betrayal.
For readers of Circe and Ariadne, Medusa is an astonishing reinvention that brings to vivid life a heroine history has set in stone.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 83 members
This book is heart wrenching. Filled with angst, sorrow and hatred for men. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Medusa has always been my favorite to read about and her strength is admirable. I know I know I know, she’s a monster- but she’s not. Not really.
Thank you for showing her side.
This book is stunning, heartbreaking, and the story we needed about Medusa. My only complaint is I wish it had been longer.
Loved this! It's more than a retelling of an old Greek myth. This is Everyman if it was written by a woman and Medusa is Everywoman. She is every single one of us who has ever been the recipient of unwanted sexual advances or attention. This is vindication if you felt that this particular myth made a monster out of the wrong person, as my child self did. Until recently, history & literature has been written by men and they decided who were the heroes but that tide is turning. As Medusa wisely cautions, "You should be careful who tells your story." Words to live by for all women. This is being rereleased with this stunning cover on 12/4/23 and I am buying copies for my daughters & granddaughter!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the digital ARC. All opinions & the review are my own.
An imaginative Medusa re-telling with a unique ending.
Before I discuss how beautifully the book is written, the fascinating way Medusa and Perseus grow their relationship or how much I loved the ending (spoiler free) - you must know that you get to meet Medusa's snakes! They have names and personalities. I'd never thought about them before as their own unique, conscious beings, but they absolutely are and Jessie Burton makes creative and impactful use of them.
"Let them spill themselves out to each other, their story older than time itself. Let them reveal themselves until they reveal too much." Page 1, this is how the story starts. With gorgeous prose, Jessie Burton sets up the meeting of Medusa and Perseus. A majority of the book is the two of them, separated by a stone wall, sitting back to back talking to each other. Each meeting they reveal a little more about who they are, and we understand how their past has shaped their present day actions.
If you've read Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes or The Shadow of Perseus by Claire Haywood, you may think you know how this story will end. But you don't here, and that's the best part. With Greek mythology we typically already know how the story will end, it's a 3000+ year old spoiler; however as more authors re-tell and re-claim characters, I am pleasantly surprised with how they make each story uniquely their own.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for this advanced reader copy.
This book is best read on a boat in the middle of the sea while your siblings fish. If you see something dark and scary in the water, don't worry, because you are Medusa and you have power.
Jessie Burton did such a great job with their take on the classic myth of Medusa. We usually see her as the evil women who kills men, but she was so much more and I loved this version! Highly recommend!
4.5 Stars. I’m a huge fan of Greek Mythology retellings from the female perspective and this book did not disappoint! Was a quick and easy read, with so many fantastic quotes, and a justified ending that I absolutely adored. Medusa will always be my favourite.
"You should be careful who tells your story." If Jessie Burton is telling my story, I'm in great hands! Burton writes with a poetic and magical tone. Any one of us would be lucky to have her tell our story! This was a beautiful, quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed!
I am always searching for a new Medusa re-telling. She is always depicted in these horrific ways – a true monster, the Gorgon. The myth of Medusa ignores that none of this is her fault. She does nothing wrong, and she is punished by the gods anyway. To me, she has always been a misunderstood victim.
What makes this re-telling so great is that it delves into so many elements covering Medusa’s story. She’s no longer the monster so many feel they know. Instead, it shows her before Poseidon and Athena: how she was a sailor with her two sisters as divers. It offers a strong sisterhood between Stheno, Euyale, and Medusa. Written in first person, I truly got a feel for Medusa’s perspective, and reading her thought processes made it so much more personal and intimate.
So far, this has been the best Medusa retelling I’ve read, and I highly recommend it to those wanting a fresh take on her myth. There’s a new trend of feminist mythological re-tellings, and Burton’s rendition is another fabulous addition to the stack. It’s so beautifully written with lyrical and flowery prose. It’s also so easy to read in one sitting, but I know it will stay with me. I do hope she plans to write more of them in the future. I’d pick them up in a heartbeat.
This was such a great concept as a Greek mythology retelling and one of my favorite takes on Medusa. It was strongly written and I really enjoyed the way Medusa was written in this. Jessie Burton has a great writing style and it worked perfectly with the Greek mythology elements.
"Medusa" is a breathtaking and audacious reinvention of a timeless myth that left me utterly captivated. The author's skillful storytelling breathes new life into the tragic figure of Medusa, a woman exiled and cursed by the powerful Gods. Through exquisite prose, we are transported to her secluded island, where her loneliness and pain are palpable. When Perseus enters her world, the story takes an electrifying turn, blending desire, love, and betrayal in a way that is both mesmerizing and heart-wrenching. For fans of "Circe" and "Ariadne," this novel is an absolute must-read, offering a fresh and unforgettable perspective on a heroine history had cast in stone. "Medusa" is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit, making it a true literary masterpiece.
This is Medusa like you’ve never seen her before! Jessie Burton’s masterful retelling of the snake-headed Gorgon deftly reveals the woman behind the monster.
After being mistreated by Poseidon and cursed by Athena, Medusa has been living in isolation on an island with her two sisters. Until the day Perseus lands his boat at her shores, sparking an attraction she never thought she’d feel. As the two sit on either side of a stone arch, their stories are revealed, and the Medusa myth you thought you knew turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Medusa as a fully-realized character is sympathetic and nuanced, a young woman mostly at peace with her fate but dazzled by the possibility of romantic love. Burton’s prose is lush and vivid, and I adored her imagining of Medusa’s snakes as colorful characters with their own names and personalities. And that ending – wow!! No spoilers here, but it was total perfection!
If you loved Medusa’s portrayal in Claire Heywood’s “The Shadow of Perseus” (as I did), you will love her even more here! Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me an advance copy of this book.
This story gets 5 stars because that ending WOW! The strength of Medusa is to be admired! Her story has always fascinated me. This retelling gave me so much insight into Medusas plight and the courage and growth she showed by the end has me in awe of her and her sisters.
Hearing the story of Medusa was tough. Oh goodness the gods were so evil and their stories are so tough to hear but this story is one that hit me in the heart and seeing in the end take her life back has me cheering for this beautiful “monster”
"A myth finds a way to remember itself. It makes a new shape, rising out of a shallow grave in glory."
Thank you NetGalley for granting me access to a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Especially because this is the story Medusa has always deserved. I was enchanted and enthralled the entire time. I don't think there was a single second of this book I didn't want to devour. I can't wait to buy myself a physical copy during the holiday season.
We all know the story of Medusa, but what makes this retelling so good is the way it was written. The perspective it was written from. The life this story was given. It wasn't the side of the monster we've always heard, but instead that of the victim. The voice of the story that should have always existed.
The only reason Medusa has been classified a monster for as long as she has is because of the complete misunderstanding an un-reliable narrator has driven into humanity for centuries. A myth she may be, but that doesn't mean her story hasn't been told a thousand different ways and misunderstood in a thousand more. Think of how little cadence a woman's story has always held in the media.
This story is no less. This story has always deserved so much more.
I hope you'll pick this up to find the voice Medusa has always deserved. For that alone this will be one of my favorite books of the year. In her own words she gets to be so much more than a cautionary tale told to children. To those who "need" punishing. We get to see all the injustice she received, understand it, and endure it beside her rather than watch her go through it alone.
She never deserved to be alone. I love that because she never deserved that, her snakes received personalities. It gave so much more to this long told story that I really expected. The shock and excitement of it made this experience so entirely new and exciting.
For those who never heard her voice in the way you believe she deserved, know that this is worth the time you'll spend in a sad story. In a heartbreaking, unending, constant story told among the world and never loud enough to be heard. This could be the start of finally being heard.
This book was a truly beautiful piece of work to read. It was so well crafted and so well thought out on the author's part. The way Burton takes her time in creating this story makes the reader fall more and more in love with Medusa and her heartbreakingly beautiful story.
Medusa solidified my love for this myth and story, this was a fantastic was to showcase Medusa in a new light, and I am wholeheartedly obsessed with this book.
Thank you NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Medusa is a retelling of an old Greek myth and it really hits the mark. I found it heartbreaking but also uplifting. Finding our worth can be a long road for many people and Medusa has had an extra long road, being abused and villified. She is an amazingly strong and thoughtful character. I really loved her head of colorful snakes, each with their own little personality. The story is an incredibly quick read and kept my interest the whole time. I look forward to reading more by this author.
An imaginative retelling of Ovid's story of Medusa and how she became the mythical monster, instead of born of monsters. A beautiful and heart wrenching tale of womanhood and the unwanted attentions of men. It was a quick and simple read, but full of fantastical mythical context. This will leave your eyes full of tears from sadness and recognition as a woman, but also feminine rage we as women all have/or will eventually feel from pressures of patriarchal society.