MEDUSA, by Jessie Burton and Olivia Lomenech Gill, Bloomsbury YA, Jan. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
Author Jessie Burton and illustrator Olivia Lomenech Gill give new life to a Greek myth in their YA novel, Medusa.
“If I told you that I’d killed a man with a glance, would you wait to hear the rest? The why, the how, what happened next?”
Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . . . and destiny itself. —Synopsis provided Bloomsbury YA
I am quickly becoming a fan of author Jessie Burton whose middle-grade novel, Restless Girls, was a fantastic feminist take on the Twelve Dancing Princesses.
That same magic is supercharged in Medusa.
This reimagining of the Greek myth centers on a vulnerable girl who is nothing but a plaything for the gods. Both Poseidon and Athena care little about the girl herself, and more about pleasing themselves.
Told in first-person, readers get a true sense of who Medusa is and what experiences have shaped her. Burton’s ability to balance Medusa’s feelings alongside the narrative is impressive. She shows incredible restraint and her pacing is impeccable.
Equally stunning is Olivia Lomenech Gill’s full-color illustrations, which take the story to the next level. Gill’s illustrations are full of movement and emotion. The portraits are especially raw, making you feel as if the characters are looking straight into your soul.
Due to some mature topics, Medusa is intended for readers ages 14 and up. It’s a thought-provoking read that will stick with readers well after completion.