I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
‘There is one question that devours me still. Why didn’t I close my eyes?’
Medusa is the only mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her sisters, she quickly realizes that she is the only one who gets older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When desire pushes a god to commit the unforgivable, Medusa’s mortal life is changed forever. Her punishment is to be turned into a Gorgon: sharp teeth, snakes for hair, and a gaze that will turn any living creature to stone. Appalled by her own reflection, Medusa can no longer look upon anything she loves without destroying it. She condemns herself to a life of solitude in the shadows to limit her murderous range.
That is, until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Like A THOUSAND SHIPS, STONE BLIND is made up of lots of different interweaving stories. They are told by different characters in different voices, some in first, some in third, some addressing the reader directly, some in past tense, some in present. It makes it seem like you’re getting many sides of a story, particularly the many women involved.
It’s a style that didn’t quite work for me personally. It felt a little too jumbled as it takes a while for the various stories to actually intersect, feeling like tangents for a long while until it’s revealed that this is the mother of Perseus, for example. It made me wonder why I was reading about these characters – not to mention all the side plots with the gods squabbling over Athens etc.
The book has contempt for pretty much everyone in the book – human and gods. Only the “monstrous” gorgons get away with a good write up, loving each other and being a family who just want to live their lives in peace. But they’re the playthings of the gods, like the humans, so are going to get dealt a bad hand.
The male and female gods get equally bad write ups. Zeus is bored so rapes women for fun (the book uses that word specifically, and I’m glad it wasn’t being glossed over as consensual.) Athene is petulant and spoilt and it feels like she invents reasons to hate Poseidon. Hera is spiteful and punishes Zeus’ victims rather than her husband – and seems to glory in holding grudges. Poseidon is another serial rapist and greedy (the scene where he assault Medusa show just how callous he is.)
The book is also very contemptuous of Perseus. He’s a pretty pathetic, useless young man who needs his hand held throughout. And then he develops a taste for blood once it becomes easy to kill without really having to do anything.
In all, this is a book that explores the various lives ruined by the gods in Greek mythology and how pitiful or hateful almost everyone in the mythology is.
Read my reviews of other books by Natalie Haynes: