Medusa’s Sisters

Ace: Berkley. Aug. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780593547762. $27. FANTASY
DEBUT Bear’s feminist reimagining of Greek myth allows Medusa’s forgotten fellow Gorgon sisters, Stheno and Euryale, to powerfully reclaim their voices and individuality. The combination of the sisters’ story with other familiar mythological figures, as well as new faces and tales, coalesces into a unique, rich whole. Journeying from the depths of the ocean to the palace of Cadmus, each sister bears witness in the story but also comes into her own. Medusa, a survivor of rape who is punished and demonized after assault by a powerful man, will feel regrettably relatable to modern readers. Both sisters try and fail to protect the mortal Medusa, whose beheading by Perseus is foreshadowed repeatedly. Told in alternate chapters between Stheno and Euryale, the narrative is made simultaneously gripping and heartbreaking by its strong voices, foreshadowing, poetry, and asides. Through faith and love, music and motherhood, sex and art, all three sisters find their own ways to join the world, tell their stories, and leave their mark.
VERDICT A must-read for Greek mythology fans seeking new depth in their tales and those who enjoyed Madeline Miller’s Circe or Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls.
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