Monday, October 22, 2012

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

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.

~Print copy (from the library), 310 pages
Published: 2011 by Harcourt

This was a pretty good book, overall. Adventure, Greek mythology, complications and misunderstandings.

One of the things I disliked was that in this summary, it mentions it could "become something more." Which it doesn't. There is very little romance in this at all, and so the summary is a bit misleading. I thought I would dread this book because of that one line.

But in fact, it was pretty good. It switches POV between Ariadne, in past tense, and Theseus, in present tense. Together, they tell this story of how Ariadne's mother died and how Ariadne has to take her mother's place.

They have this ritual in Krete, where She-Who-Is-Goddess (Ariadne's mother) chooses one man, who supposedly houses the god Velchanos's body, to make love to and then have him killed, so his blood can fertilize their fields. Ariadne is She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, born to take her mother's place in this gruesome ritual.

Theseus is the illegitimate son of the Athenian king. His stepmother, the Queen, has had a child with the king already, and sees Theseus as a threat to her child's claim to the throne. When a serving girl (whose uncle is the king) suggests that they send Theseus along with the yearly tribute to Krete, everyone's happy... except Theseus.

I'm not sure what kept me from that I'm-obsessed-with-this! feeling. It just didn't catch my spark, for whatever reason. But I still think other people would love this new take on the Minotaur.

This book intertwines Theseus's adventures and Ariadne's destiny, and it was pretty well-written to boot. I would recommend this to any one who likes a good adventure/destiny/mythology book. I give it a 4.

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