Thursday, August 17, 2023

New Release Spotlight: Medusa's Sisters by Lauren J.A. Bear

Today, I'm particularly thrilled to be sharing a new release spotlight for Medusa's Sisters by Lauren J.A. Bear, an enchanting tale of myth, gods, and sisterhood. Below you'll find some information about the book and author, as well as a short review with some of my thoughts about this book! This is a Greek myth retelling that I promise you don't want to skip. 

Author:  Lauren J.A. Bear - Website
Pub. Date: August 8th, 2023
Publisher: Ace
Pages: 368

Find it: Amazon |  

A vivid and moving reimagining of the myth of Medusa and the sisters who loved her.

The end of the story is only the beginning…

Even before they were transformed into Gorgons, Medusa and her sisters, Stheno and Euryale, were unique among immortals. Curious about mortals and their lives, Medusa and her sisters entered the human world in search of a place to belong, yet quickly found themselves at the perilous center of a dangerous Olympian rivalry and learned—too late—that a god's love is a violent one.

Forgotten by history and diminished by poets, the other two Gorgons have never been more than horrifying hags, damned and doomed. But they were sisters first, and their journey from sea-born origins to the outskirts of the Parthenon is a journey that rests, hidden, underneath their scales.

Monsters, but not monstrous, Stheno and Euryale will step into the light for the first time to tell the story of how all three sisters lived and were changed by each other, as they struggle against the inherent conflict between sisterhood and individuality, myth and truth, vengeance and peace.

[Content Warning: MEDUSA’S SISTERS includes sensitive subject matter including sexual abuse]"

 Medusa's Sisters is a stunning story that highlights some fascinating figures that I don't often see in many modern day retellings. Most everyone knows at least something about Medusa and her gaze and popular imagery of snakes for hair, but who spends much time considering Medusa's family–and, in particular, her and her sisters? 

Medusa actually has a number of siblings, but in Medusa's Sisters we mainly follow Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, the three Gorgons born from Phorcys and Ceto. Upon birth, these three are thrust into the harsh world of the gods where they often struggle to find their place or even demand any respect they feel they deserve, especially since they are considered rather unremarkable to look at since they have no odd traits or qualities. I thought Medusa's Sisters did an excellent job of portraying the cutthroat world and nature of the gods, from the Titans to the Olympians and everything in between, as well as their general perception and treatment of humans. 

I absolutely loved this book and finished it in just a couple days (which is actually quite the feat given all the reading slumps I've been battling lately!). I've read a lot of Greek myth retellings and also just a lot of myth stories in general (although surprisingly, for studying Classics for both my BA and MA, I didn't spend as much time directly reading myth stories as one might think... but they are still very important!) and this is definitely one of the highlights in the Greek myth retelling genre. Bear has an eloquent prose that feels both accessible and timeless in how she narrates the actions and lives of these three sisters. And as previously mentioned, I feel like Bear really did tremendous work in capturing the way the gods interact and the sort of callous nature that exists within a world a of immortal beings with various abilities. Her writing completely transported me to the Greek world and subsequently transcended my expectations of this book. 

Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa were all wonderfully complex and I found myself captivated by their stories. The story is told from Stheno and Euryale's POVs, Stheno's in first person and Euryale's in third. I enjoyed the different narrative choice for each character because it helped to not only easily differentiate them, but also provided different perspectives to better understand the world and characters within it. I felt like this alternating perspective also worked well with the pacing and helped maintain this book's steady pacing. It's a slightly slower paced story that is very much focused on characters, but not too slow to where it was boring; it never felt dry or dragged on, and I found myself captivated by each page. 

I will certainly be keeping my eye out for any future books from Lauren J.A. Bear, as I cannot wait to see what else she can do. If you are at all interested in Greek myth or simply an excellently told tale full of drama, family, tragedy, finding oneself, and so much more, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Medusa's Sisters.

About the Author:
(bio from author's website)

Lauren was born in Boston and raised in Long Beach, CA. After studying English at UCLA and Education at LMU, she taught middle-school Humanities for over a decade — and survived! She is a teaching fellow for the Holocaust Center for Humanity, and lives in Seattle with her husband and three young children. She likes crossword puzzles and being on or near the water without getting wet.

Lauren is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

1 comment: