Book Reviews

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne was on my list of Top 10 Books I Can’t Wait For in 2021, so I was absolutely ecstatic to be approved for an ARC on NetGalley. Lyrical, bittersweet, and thematically rich, it did not disappoint.

Ariadne is the centrepiece of this retelling, but swirled into it are stories of many other women from Greek mythology who have suffered the consequences of men’s misdeeds. The narrative is split between Ariadne and her sister Phaedra, probing into how their traumatic childhood shapes the women they become. I loved the contrast between their very individual voices, and became especially drawn to Phaedra and her stubborn, determined character.

One of my favourite things about this book was the nuanced exploration of both the mortal and divine experience. Mortals may be at the mercy of the deities, but there’s just as much room for human manipulation when people (not naming any names!) evade responsibility for their actions by blaming the gods. I really enjoyed Jennifer Saint’s interpretation of Dionysus and Ariadne’s relationship and how she illustrated the pain that comes with the melding of human and divine.

Ariadne is a retelling you won’t want to miss. Intertwining both ancient and current issues, Jennifer Saint has created a story that reaches the hearts of modern as well as mythological women.

Book Reviews

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Other Black Girl for months. It’s been all over social media and it was on my own can’t-wait-to-read-in-2021 list, so I nearly died of excitement when I got approved for it on NetGalley. It lived up to the hype. It was very topical: a searing, honest look into the issues within the publishing industry. It was also an incredibly unique thriller with a sinister spin on its social commentary.  

Zakiya Dalila Harris’ candidly illustrated Nella’s experience of being a Black woman in the very white publishing industry. Both the overarching issues and the details were perfectly executed. The book demonstrated just how difficult it can be for Black employees to voice issues with racism in the workplace for fear of how it might affect their careers. How can a company claim to promote diversity if their Black and marginalised employees face backlash for speaking out? It’s easy to see how someone starting their career might feel they have to stay silent.

The Other Black Girl explored some very relevant themes while pulling the reader through its dark plot at the speed of light. There were so many twists and turns; I stayed up reading late into the night. Without giving too much away, the ending was a shock. This book is going to provoke even more much-needed discussion after its release, and I can’t wait for it!

Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the ARC!