Friday, September 25, 2015

The Deep End of the Sea

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM

Age: Young Adult / Adult
Category: Romance, fantasy
Rating: 3 stars

Rosie Thinks: This is the story of Medusa, like you've never heard it told before. To me, Medusa's always been evil and horrible, deserving of her punishment. The backstory is the same as the legend: Medusa was brutally raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple, then the goddess cursed her and exiled her to live for eternity alone. But Medusa herself is completely different: she has the gentlest of hearts, kind and caring and always despairing when someone unwittingly stumbles upon her and she turns them to stone. The only bright points in her life is Mikkos, the old, blind sailor who visits her, and Hermes, son of Zeus, who has slowly wormed his way into Medusa's heart.

From the summary, I thought this story would be quite static: staying in the same place on Medusa's island as she throws a pity party or a hundred. But it wasn't like this at all - the plot moved fast, and I never got overly frustrated with Medusa. Despite having so many things happen to her, she still retained her inner sanity and goodness. To be fair, she did cry a lot, but it was valid. Her character growth was impressive to see and real. She started off as a shut-in, hurt by the world and not ready to trust easily again. Indeed, it took Hermes over a thousand years to break through her shell. But slowly, she discovers who she really is and what it means to stand up for herself. Most importantly, the incredibly sensitive issue of sexual assault was dealt with properly and very, very well. There are so many books where rape is used as a plot device and given no real exploration of the depth of trauma it causes, but Heather Lyons handled it so perfectly.

The romance between Hermes and Medusa was beautiful. It's one of the healthiest relationships I've ever read about: Hermes doesn't ever push Medusa, knowing her history, and loves her for her, as opposed to her appearance. The other minor characters are lovely as well, and I loved the way they interacted with Medusa and helped her grow. I only wish that the gods and goddesses weren't so black and white: some were good, some were bad. I prefer the grey area, where the villains aren't truly evil and the good people aren't all light.

This is a great book for anyone interested in Greek mythology, but it takes a modern twist on it that I found intriguing. For me, this lies in the grey area between young adult and new adult - it reads like a YA novel, but there are some scenes that are a bit too explicit for YA. Either way, it is an amazing romance that has a solid plot that carried the rest of the novel, and great characters.


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