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Stone Blind

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Member Reviews

Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. Stone Blind is the feminist retelling of a lot of Greek mythologies, centering around the Medusa tale. While the traditional tales have the male oriented figures as the heroes, this retelling does not sugar coat the tales. Everyone comes across kind of awful, but in really compelling ways.

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I will gobble up anything Greek mythology lately and Natalie Haynes is always my go-to. I really enjoyed Stone Blind but was slightly disappointed that a large part of the story focuses on other characters. But, that being said the story was engaging and well written.

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Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes is a modern retelling of the myth of Medusa and Perseus, but it's a meandering sort of retelling. There are a lot of characters and the chapters bounce between these characters but it mimics the Greek myths and epic poems in the meandering & huge cast of characters including gods, demi-gods, monsters, & mortals. I do like Haynes writing and have enjoyed both her fiction and non-fiction work but find I prefer the non-fiction. However, Medusa in this book is likeable if naive, the gods & goddesses are their petulant self-absorbed selves & Perseus is a malevolent twit, so true to type from the original. All around a good retelling of the myth. Thanks to NetGalley & Harper for the free e-book.

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This is the first Natalie Haynes book I've read, and I'm looking forward to now digging into her other work.

Medusa is a character I've always been fascinated with but never knew that much about. Haynes builds out her character and the world around her with so much heart (and a shocking amount of humor!) In Haynes' retelling, Medusa gets the power back that was so cruelly taken from her, and those around her learn some valuable lessons along the way.

My only gripe about this book is that I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the character names. While there is a guide at the beginning, on my Kindle it wasn't really easy to flip back and forth between. I'd recommend picking this one up in print so you can flip back and check on who everyone is!

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This is the second book I've read by Natalie Haynes, and although I did not enjoy it quite as much as "A Thousand Ships", I still liked it! Medusa is the central character in Stone Blind, but again, it is more of a tale of related characters and stories that eventually tell Medusa's tale. You do not get a viewpoint from one character - but several. Like A Thousand Ships there is an ending, and the you do realize how everyone fits together - but you need to keep track. I listened to this one, and the narrator (the author) did an excellent job.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.

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Medusa is a character that I love reading fresh takes on. Haynes takes that assignment and does wonders with it. You get to see that the gods were unfair and perhaps not worthy of worship. Medusa is a tragic character but Haynes gives her that power back. So sad!

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Natalie Haynes has a true voice for merging classic Greek myths into a modern lens that doesn't feel gimmicky or tries too hard. This entire book from start to finish was entirely captivating, filled with humor and tragedy alike. The portrayal of the Gods as so imperfect, flighty, temperamental, and vicious was utterly compelling, and I especially enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek analyses of Perseus as a whole.

This book set a standard for me for any newer mythology interpretations, and it's going to be a tough act to follow. I think there's a big push right now to give figures like Medusa, Penelope, and Hera their own voice and sense of agency, which can be tricky to do without completely forcing a Western perspective upon them. I think Haynes perfectly balances that in Stone Blind, creating a rich and vast world that not only makes sense, but allows the characters within it to seem almost...human.

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If you are loving the resurgence of all of these mythological retellings, you will likely also very much enjoy Stone Blind. I couldn't wait to pick up the book that was described as telling Medusa's story in a similar vein as Madeline Miller's Circe. For me, Circe was a near perfect book I absolutely loved how Miller told Circe's through Circe's perspective and how she processed the trauma that she was put through. Unfortunately, Stone Blind didn't inspire those same feelings for me.

Stone Blind starts off brutally. That shouldn't be a huge surprise if you know anything about Medusa's origin story but if you just have a surface-level understanding - Medusa > Snakes > Men turn to Stone. You might be a bit shocked so trigger warnings for SA before proceeding.

Medusa actually comes off as a secondary character in this retelling, which I was saddened by but Athene is the main character throughout. Unfortunately, Medusa is not given the Circe treatment or much agency or perspective at all - and if I'm going to read a book that is about a scorned woman dealing with intense trauma at the hands of mostly men - I want a feminist revenge story not this very slow burn retelling of certain events. I had high expectations going in, I'm sure that others will love this retelling as much as the next mythological retelling.

I adored Natalie Hayne's other retelling of the Trojan War (and there are a LOT to pick from) A Thousand Ships.

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This book doesn't have nearly enough Medusa for a book that has been so heavily promoted as a new take on Medusa's story. It does present her as more of a victim, but her voice is definitely lacking with almost every other character getting more time and development. That said, I still mostly liked the book. I thought Haynes' style, much less formal than most people write Greek mythology, was pretty fun and some of the exchanges between the gods - who are just so casually awful and petulant - really made me laugh. I hate that there are so many POVs when I just wanted more Medusa, but they flow together well and Haynes threads a lot of different mythological stories together in a way that makes sense and creates a good, overarching narrative.

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I enjoyed this retelling of Medusa's story. Listened to it on audio as well as read it, and that made my reading experience 10 times better.
We are taken on a journey that involves not just Medusa, but also everyone who is ultimately affected when Perseus decides that he will take up the gauntlet thrown and bring back the head of Medusa.
We see the relationships that are created and destroyed due to the meddling of the gods and their selfish desires.
A really good read if you are a fan of Greek mythology and retelling.

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What a WILD ride! This retelling is gorgeous and exactly what it needed to be. Will be ordering for our library!

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Haynes’s story reconsiders the life of Medusa, a woman assaulted by a man and turned into a weapon. The feminist perspective reads very #MeTooGreekMythology and I loved looking at the story through that lens. I loved the writing—she has a light touch and brought a dark humor to the story. This was a page turner for me but I was slowed down in a few spots. The chapters alternated perspectives and there were a few narrated by strange creatures (crows?) that took me out of the story. Despite that, I still loved it. If you liked Circe, I think you’ll enjoy this!

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I know I know - this one falls into one of my niche interests. And I’ve read almost all of Haynes novels -and they never disappoint. Again we have a retelling that takes the traditional myth we though we knew and sets it in the points of view of the women involved. Personally, this version of Athena and forms of Medusa resonated with my understanding of the characters and felt almost more accurate than other depictions I have seen. The righteous rage is also a fantastic element, that I almost wish we saw more of in this other narratives. 4.5/5
Thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins for sending the book for review consideration. All opinions are my own!

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This novel was purchased by my library based on my recommendation, in order to lend to college students. It is generally too dry to make it much of interest to non-academic borrowers, however one of our professors is using it in his classroom and we are looking forward to hearing student feedback on this text.

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I have read many Greek retellings but I can honestly say that Stone Blind is probably my favorite one I ever read. Natalie Haynes did such a wonderful job not just telling the story of Medusa, but telling the interwoven stories of all who was involved. I learned so much more Greek Mythology then I knew and I was really impressed how Haynes was able to put everything together so beautifully. I highly recommend Stone Blind and I can't wait to read more from this author!

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★★★☆☆

rated r for adults due to: rape, murder

Not so much of a retelling as it is a modern novelization of the Medusa story. I really enjoyed Natalie Haynes writing style but it didn't hit me in the feels as I was expecting or go as deep into the analysis of who is the real monster here.

Breaking of the fourth wall and a plethora of characters made this confusing to read as an ebook/physical book but would make an AMAZING full cast audiobook.

Definitely want to read more from this author, but this book was just aight donuts.

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Stone Blind
If you like books featuring…
Feminist myth retellings
Strong sister bonds
Comedic writing in literary fiction

Great for fans of…
Circe by Madeline Miller
Troy (Prime Video)
Ithaca by Claire North

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This thought provoking feminist fantasy tells a very different story of the mythical Medusa.

Medusa, youngest of the Gorgon sisters, grows up fascinated by humans. After she visits a temple of Athene's and is assaulted there by sea god Poseidon, Athene blames her and transforms her to look monstrous and turn anything she looks at to stone.

Another mistreated young woman gives birth to Perseus, who seeks the head of a Gorgon. He does manage it (with help from several gods) but the story doesn't end there ... it continues down through the ages.

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I loved this book. It was such a beautiful retelling. I always enjoy when Greek mythology is done correctly and I was especially excited to read about Medusa. This is a must read for any Medusa fan and for every female!

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