Skip to main content

Dark of the Moon

The myth of the labyrinth and the minotaur has always been a favorite of mine, which is why it is embarrassing to admit that I have never read The King Must Die by Mary Renault. It is, after all, supposed to be the quintessential novelization of Theseus. I think I have built my expectations of it so high I'm afraid to read it in case it doesn't live up. I did intend to read it before I  read Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett., but then I saw Dark of the Moon sitting so enticingly on the new arrival shelf at my library and I couldn't resist it.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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 . . .

This is an excellent novelization of the minotaur myth. I loved how Barrett took the familiar and changed it just enough to give it depth and believability.  For those who are familiar with the myth, you will find all the essential elements of the original story: the tribute, the yarn, the maze, the "monster", Minos. Daedalus and Icarus are both mentioned. I enjoyed the glimpses we had of Medea as well.  All readers will find in Barrett's Krete a world fully realized and developed. A very intricate religious system governs the lives of Krete's inhabitants ruled by She-Who-Is-Goddess, the human manifestation of the moon goddess. This system involves yearly human sacrifice to ensure the harvest. Ariadne is She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, daughter of the current goddess and one of the yearly sacrifices.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints between Theseus and Ariadne. This is all Ariadne's story though. Theseus, while starting off interesting, is not well developed and seemed to only serve to further Ariadne's character. Ariadne is realistically torn about her role in Krete. She is confused and lonely. Through her interactions with Asterion we see her as loving and strong. Her loneliness makes her an easy target for those who want the ways of Krete to change and she leaves herself vulnerable in ways that cause her much distress. In this version her actions take on new meaning and understanding. She has what the Ariadne from the myth was lacking, power to determine her own actions and end. She is not the girl who has her head turned by a charming hero and betrays her people only to be abandoned by said hero to fend for herself. This Ariadne grows in strength, power and knowledge of who she is. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel for what it did with her character.

If you are a fan of mythological retellings this is definitely a must read.

Comments

Chachic said…
This one's already on my wishlist and it's good to know that you enjoyed reading it! I want to read The King Must Die firs since I already have a copy of that but I'll keep this in mind because I enjoy reading mythological retellings.
Brandy said…
I really need to read The King Must Die. I love it when an author tries to bring something different to a retelling, which this one does.
Charlotte said…
Both of you must go read The King Must Die (one of my top ten favorite books!) The Dark of the Moon was a powerful story in its own right though!
Brandy said…
One of your top 10 favorite books? I will read it soon!!!

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein