Medusa – Jessie Burton

Published By: Bloomsbury
Pages: 224
Released On: 28/10/2021

Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal – and destiny itself.

*****

I wanted to read this from the minute I saw it announced. I lost Burton’s previous work and just had a gut feeling this would be as good.

The illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill are so special. Usually illustrations are just there to accompany a story, and whilst that is still true, they have a narrative a power of their own. So simple (but by no means easily-drawn) but so beautiful.

It’s a story we all know but with added heart and humanity. It has a familiarity about it, and honesty, a relateability – which is odd to say about a God’s daughter with snakes for hair, I grant you.

There’s a strong feminist narrative flowing through this book but it’s not forced, it just…is. This girl is not the monster feared, but the goddess she always was.

What I like about this adaptation is Medusa is depicted as a young woman who just so happens to have snakes for hairy rather than the full-blown monster we’ve grown up to expect.

There are definitely some more grown-up themes, but I think this would be a great adaptation to introduce older children to the Greek myths, even if it isn’t a 100% word-for-word retelling.

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