Medusa, written by Jessie Burton and illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, at only 207 pages, is a quick and stimulating read for lovers of Greek mythology seeking a contemporary twist on a classic and well-known tale. With beautiful and wonderfully detailed drawings, Medusa is also ideal for readers who enjoy artwork similar to the paintings you might see in a gallery. Get ready to dive into a world chock-full of excitement, wonder, love, loneliness, betrayal, and the feeling of no longer having to hide.
Medusa has lived on an island for four years, hidden from prying eyes, with the sole company of her sisters Stheno and Euryale, her dog Argenthus, and the infamous snakes with which Athena cursed her. One day, a young man and his dog arrive in a boat. Medusa is intrigued and filled with a burning longing for human company other than her sisters’. She engages the young man in conversation while concealing herself behind a boulder, and she finds that his name is Perseus. They bond over the wrongs done to them, and soon become friends with what they think is an unbreakable union. Perseus reveals he has fallen in love with Medusa, and Medusa finds she is in love with Perseus, too. But they are both keeping secrets that may tear them apart. Will Perseus and Medusa fix their friendship? Will they rip each other to shreds? Will one half of this iconic duo hunt down and kill the other half? Or will a strange, unprecedented ending for this story expose the true nature of this timeless myth, and leave one of its protagonists at peace and finally satisfied? Read Medusa by Jessie Burton to find out!
This book includes some difficult themes, including the nature of freedom and consent and the objectification of girls. As I am 10 years old, I would recommend Medusa for ten-year-olds and up.
Disclaimer: Medusa came out on January 11, 2022. My review is from an Advanced Reader Copy, which only contains a couple of fully colored illustrations as examples. Still, the black and white drawings in my copy are amazing, so I plan to buy the published version as soon as I can so that I can marvel at Olivia Lomenech Gill’s art in all its colorful glory.
Medusa by Jessie Burton and illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Bloomsbury YA, 2022. Buy the book here and help support Stone Soup in the process!