HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Medusa (2020)

by Jessie Burton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
288890,315 (4.07)1
Exiled to a far-flung island, Medusa has little company except for the snakes adorning her head instead of hair until a beautiful boy named Perseus arrives, distrupting her lonely existence and unleashing desire, love, and betrayal.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I've dedicated a significant portion of my recent days to reading, immersing myself in a variety of genres, from horror and thrillers to romance. Being an avid enthusiast of Greek Mythology and its retellings, I found my perfect literary storm in this latest discovery. Always on the lookout for a fresh perspective on the Medusa myth, I was captivated by this rendition.

Unlike the conventional portrayals of Medusa as a monstrous Gorgon, this retelling delves deep into her story, revealing her life before encounters with Poseidon and Athena. In this narrative, she emerges as more than just a monster—she is a misunderstood victim. Having previously enjoyed "Medusa’s Sisters," I found this rendition even more compelling.

What sets this retelling apart is its comprehensive exploration of various elements in Medusa's life. The narrative unfolds her existence before the pivotal moments with Poseidon and Athena, showcasing her as a sailor alongside her sisters who were divers. The strong sisterhood between Stheno, Euyale, and Medusa is portrayed vividly. The first-person narrative provides an intimate glimpse into Medusa's perspective, making her thoughts and experiences feel personal.

In my quest for Medusa retellings, this one stands out as the best. I wholeheartedly recommend it to those seeking a fresh and nuanced take on her myth. In the era of feminist mythological retellings, Burton's contribution is a remarkable addition. The prose is beautifully crafted, with a lyrical and flowery style that makes it both enchanting and easy to read in one sitting. Although a quick read, its impact lingers, promising to stay with me.

This has undoubtedly been the most satisfying Medusa retelling I've encountered so far, and I eagerly anticipate more from the author in the future. I would eagerly snatch up any future works from her. For now, all I can do is urge you to grab this book, which I devoured in a single sitting—it's a literary gem that shouldn't be missed. ( )
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
I came in with low expectations and they were met.

The only reason I picked this up was for A) research for my own story about Medusa and B) it was short.

It’s really just two people sitting on opposite sides of a cave telling each other their origin stories. Nothing really happens. There’s a lot of thinking–I might almost call it stream-of-consciousness. I think making a story out of the Medusa myth is difficult unless you’re willing to make some bold choices. There isn’t much to the original myth. Hero enters a cave, fights a boss monster.

The originating material doesn’t give her much of a personality nor much of a chance. It’s an interesting myth but doesn’t make for a novel. Especially if you take the side of Medusa, because her story starts in tragedy and ends in tragedy. It’s not an uplifting tale if you’re the monster.

The lesson learned from her is a bad lesson. It says if you’re beautiful, people are going to get jealous, men will rape you, and then you get punished for that. Then they send someone in to kill you after your punishment.

I think the author did as best she could with what she was given, but there just isn’t enough here. I don’t think she wanted to deviate enough to fit the story to modern values, so it ends up being not enough from either side. ( )
  theWallflower | Nov 16, 2023 |
“If I told you that I’d killed a man with a glance, would you wait to hear the rest? The why, the how, what happened next? Or would you run from me, this mottled mirror, this body of unusual flesh?”

In this fascinating reimagining of the myth of Medusa, author Jessie Burton presents us with a novel feminist twist to a character and story that has, for the most part, featured as one of Perseus’s heroic exploits. Simply put, Perseus has always been the hero and Medusa the vanquished. But Jessie Burton’s Medusa is much more than that. Cursed by the Goddess Athena and transformed into a Gorgon with snakes in place of her once beautiful hair, the once beautiful Medusa now lives on a deserted island with her sisters, Stheno and Euryale,and her dog Argentus. Her transgression? Being raped by Poseidon within the premises of the Temple of Athena.

“Woe betide any man fool enough to look upon you now!”

Four years into her exile, when Perseus moors his boat on the shores of the island, he catches Medusa’s eye. Medusa longs for his company and companionship. However, she is uncertain of how Perseus would react to her appearance (at this point she is unaware of the full weight of Athena’s curse) and speaks to him only from behind the shelter of rocks at the entrance of her cave while her sisters are away during the daytime. Perseus and “Merina” (the name she uses with Perseus) share their stories and initially, Medusa is unaware of Perseus’s real intentions behind his journey to her island just as he is unaware of her true identity. As the story unfolds and secrets are revealed Perseus and Medusa must make choices that will irrevocably change their lives forever.

“No woman is an island—unless she’s been forced there by a bunch of strangers.”

Medusa, in this version, is a lonely young girl , the victim of a horrific act of rape, exiled to a “half-life”, disfigured and insecure, fearful for her future, loved and protected by her sisters but seething with rage within. She experiences the full spectrum of human emotions - love, sorrow, pain, jealousy and rage. Though unhappy with her appearance, she shares an interesting relationship with her snakes who each have names and moods that need to be tended. Medusa’s story also sheds a light on complex issues such as sexual abuse and victim shaming along with the psychological effects of insecurity and isolation resulting from the same. Jessie Burton gives Medusa a voice to tell her story and an opportunity to chart her own destiny. She is much more than a monster whose head is a coveted prize for Perseus and the King who sent him on his quest.

“My name was Medusa, and I was a girl. Perseus had made me sound like a mythical beast. I didn’t want to be a myth. I wanted to be me.”

The prose is beautiful and unambiguous in keeping with the author’s intention to make this story accessible to a younger audience. Therefore, this might not read as comprehensive or complex as similar retellings featuring strong female protagonists from the Greek myths. Both young and older readers will find this a captivating read, not overly long but deeply thought-provoking.The full-color illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill are stunning and I could spend hours just poring over them. This is a beautiful edition that I’m happy to be adding to my personal collection.

“Some people think that we’re born with our destiny mapped in our blood. But mapped by whom? By the gods? By fate, a mysterious mix of birth and starlight? We were all planned out, we just didn’t know it. We tread a fully formed path, and those who stray from it will crash and die. Then there are others who believe we’re born blank. Clean as spring water, we become the creators of our own hurricanes. I think it’s both. I had a map, I had a star, but I also made some hurricanes.” ( )
  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
Woe betide any man fool enough to look upon you now!

Medusa.

While mythology portrays her as an ugly woman with snakes for hair, a gaze that would petrify any who looked upon her face, and a serpentine body, she was mainly used to further the story of Perseus, a naive boy with no great deeds to his name like Hercules, a demi-god known for his strength, and the legendary hero, Achilles, who was said to be precise with his arrows. His mother had been locked away because his own grandfather had learned any child descended from his line could threaten his hold on the throne. A divine father whose lecherous eyes laid upon his mother and created Perseus. When his grandfather found out about the child, he would lock them away in chests and throw them into the water, but in a heroic story, he and his mother were saved. When his mother drew the attention of King Polydectes, the king gave him one of the most impossible tasks - find Medusa, cut off her head, and bring it before him. Perseus sets out on the task, believing that he could be the one to bring back her head.

But what about Medusa? Her world had been taken from her, destroyed by the lecherous gaze of the sea god, and transformed into this hideous creature with a stare so deadly that any who looked upon her were petrified. Her only companions are her sister and her faithful wolfhound. That is until Perseus arrives and Medusa, scared of him seeing her, only invites him to the mouth of her cave to have a conversation and dinner. It had been the most Medusa had in companionship. The two talked. Enjoyed company.

That is until the two realize their shared fates.

Medusa's tale has always meant to invoke fear among the readers. They are made to believe that this creature harassed and killed many of those who sought her head and deserved a fate worse than death. This is why we don't get much of a backstory. What is told is how a lecherous sea god, Poisedon, had turned his gaze toward her and made advances that would change Medusa into the creature she would be known today.

Imagine the fear. The loneliness. All of this she must be going through. Medusa must have craved something she knew she could never have and when Perseus arrived, she thought that her dream had come true...that someone had come to break her loneliness and give her the companionship she wanted. She may have it with Perseus but she knew it only be fleeting. Maybe she had an inkling why he had come and knew her fate would be sealed.

I felt sorry for her because regardless of the outcome, I would have loved to see her story tweaked just a bit.

And this book does it. It offers a unique outcome to the events of Medusa and Perseus. A change was needed in order to tell Medusa's story from her perspective and offer Medusa's own thoughts on the fate she knew could come. While the mythology of Medusa tends to change depending upon the told mythology or how her story is weaved into movies and books, Medusa's story is still a sad tale from beginning to end. A tale of a young woman who catches the eye of a sea god, whose advances she refused, and whose life was changed by the Goddess Athena. Medusa remains an enigmatic creature both meant to invoke fear and revilement.

Final Thought:

Overall, this book was a beautiful and poignant retelling of Medusa's story. It offered a unique perspective on mythology, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves these kinds of stories. ( )
  Revengelyne | Aug 19, 2023 |
This story, this retelling from Medusa's point of view is everything. It's everything I never thought of and never knew I needed to read until now and I can't stop thinking about it since I read it a little while ago now. Right after I finished reading it, I wanted to read it again.
It's a Greek Myth retelling from Medusa's point of view like I mentioned above, but it's from a perspective I never thought of with Medusa and Perseus having a connection, a deep connection, and Medusa falling in love with Perseus. The truth of what happened with Medusa to put her in her current situation and what happened with Perseus that put him there on the island with her. The two of them in this story are two lonely, lost, and cursed souls, doomed from their beginnings through no fault of their own and they end up together talking and connecting on this island, Medusa's island. If ever there was a doomed, cursed, sad, and star-crossed lovers tale this one, this retelling takes the cake, it wins over them all. It broke my heart when I read this one.
If you love Greek Mythology or any Mythology and retellings then make sure to pick this up and check it out. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for letting me have the chance to read and review this amazing and unique Greek Myth retelling. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ( )
  Kiaya40 | Jun 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Exiled to a far-flung island, Medusa has little company except for the snakes adorning her head instead of hair until a beautiful boy named Perseus arrives, distrupting her lonely existence and unleashing desire, love, and betrayal.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.07)
0.5
1
1.5
2 2
2.5
3 4
3.5 3
4 8
4.5 1
5 11

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 202,114,090 books! | Top bar: Always visible