[A quick note: Please check the trigger warning at the bottom. This was the September selection for my Fantasy Book Club. I hadn’t even considered it for my TBR before hand. My experience with Greek mythology didn’t span past high school. It’s not something that I seek out. However, after this book, I actually have a new appreciation for it, and kinda still in the mood for more. So I might read Circe pretty soon here.]
“𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐅𝐞𝐚𝐫. 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞.” —Lauren J.A. Bear
Let me preface this by saying I cried…TWICE. I don’t often cry in books, but after getting attached to the three Gorgon sisters, it was hard not to when they were faced with some pretty heartbreaking situations. TBH, I didn’t think I’d like this book. While it is technically fantasy, it’s not the type of fantasy I’d reach for. I don’t usually go for Greek mythology type books. I picked it up for my local book club. It caught me by COMPLETE surprise and I ended up looooving it. It was just so beautiful. Not only that, I found myself thinking about it for days afterward. I was sad when it was over because I missed being able to fall into it in the evenings.
We’ve all heard stories about Medusa, but what about her other two sisters: Euryale and Stheno?? This book is told from their POVs, alternating. I loved getting this take on Medusa and her sisters. I don’t know much about the Gorgons from Greek mythology, so it was enlightening. You could tell the author did a great deal of research. While the beginning was a bit dry and info heavy, it only took a few chapters before I was completely immersed in the world.
What I loved most was the sister bond between the three sisters. Each sister is so very different, and seeing them interact on page was beautiful. Their characters felt so REAL and multifaceted. It’s easy to immerse yourself in a story that offers such raw vulnerability. This was a “retelling” of their lives, of how they were cursed and came to be. Kind of like a “making of the villain” except there was never anything villainous about them, as told from this perspective. It also did a great job to highlight that Stheno and Euryale always felt like they were living in Medusa’s shadow, despite her being the “mortal sister.” One is jealous of this, the other simply lives to make her youngest sister happy.
Both sisters, Euryale and Stheno have a fantastic character arc. We see them mature and change over time. I especially loved Euryale’s arc. Seeing her interact with Poseidon and how she bested him at the end was SO FREAKING SATISFYING. But her story was also heartbreaking and part of why I cried so hard at the end of the book.
If you love Greek mythology, sweeping epics, and sister bonds, this is a fantastic book that checks all those boxes. It might take you by surprise, just like it did me. While I can see this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, give it a chance! 𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝚰𝐍𝐆: 5/5⭐️
TW note: There is a rape scene in this book. It happens in real time, observed from one of the sister’s POV. While it was not overly detailed, those more sensitive readers beware.