Medusa’s Sisters by Lauren J. A. Bear: Enthralling and Complex

The end of the story is only the beginning…

Even before they were transformed into Gorgons, Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale were unique among their immortal family. 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 lowly sea-born origins to the outskirts of the pantheon 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.

Medusa’s Sisters by Lauren J.A. Bear is enthralling and complex, focusing on a unique perspective, the sisters of Medusa and creating a story that is distinct and moving reimagining of the myth of Medusa. One of the reasons that Lauren J. A. Bear’s tale is so fantastic is the creative use of Medusa’s sisters to tell a story that we think we know but Bear creates a new perspective by telling the story from the viewpoints of Stheno and Euryale. Not only does she bring to light their voices, their hopes and dreams but she creates an emotionally compelling new viewpoint on Medusa herself. It is creative, complex and gives a voice to the female voice that is so often kept silent. 

One of the other ways that Bear creates a new viewpoint is in spinning the tale of how Medusa is changed is by exploring a new aspect to the myth using LGBTQ themes to add depth and layer to the tale. We also get a beautiful and authentic exploration of early civilization in Greece, especially music and women’s roles in society. I love how we get to know Stheno and Euryale and their impact on Medusa as well as her impact on them both living and dead. The retelling adds unexpected twists and turns to the story and I love both the different perspective and an unexpected outcome. Even though we know Medusa’s ending, we may not know the full truth and I especially love the outcome of her sisters. 

If you love Greek mythology, history and unique voices, this is the story to read. The story is enthralling and complex, emotional and compelling and the unique perspective of the female voice is worth hearing. You will find unexpected truths and depth in this fantastic retelling of the Gorgon myth. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 statues.

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