Book Review | Dark of the Moon
Title: Dark of the Moon
Author: Tracey Barrett
Dark of the Moon by Tracey Barrett is an engaging retelling of the Greek mythology of the Minotaur. Barrett alternates between the viewpoint, of Ariadne and Theseus. Both are teenagers, coming of age in a world, in which they feel like outsiders. Ariadne is She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, and her mother is She- Who-Is-Goddess and priestess of Krete. Ariadne must prepare to someday, become the vessel of the Goddess, just as her mother is currently. She is dedicated to her religion and her place within her people, but she also has bouts of loneliness. In Krete, She-Who-Will -Be-Goddess and She-Who-Is- Goddess, are wrongly feared by the people. Therefore, Ariadne exists in a lonely world, at times longing for the days of her youth, in which she was not feared, but was considered a friend. On the other side of the coin, there is Theseus. He is a young man, who is ostracized by the other children in his hometown, not to mention that he has a mother who’s a bit immature. He’s different from the other kids, and he soon finds out why. He is actually, the son of the King of Athens. Theseus goes on a journey to find his father, it’s a rather boring journey, but he makes it to Athens and comes face to face with his father. Feeling the need to impress his stepmother, who by the way is the infamous Medea, and his father, he embellishes his story just a bit. So much so, that they believe that he is the answer which they seek. He soon finds himself on the tribute ship to Krete. He believes that it is there which he will come face to face with the beast of legends, the Minotaur and face impending death.
The beast is actually Ariadne’s dear brother, Asterion, the only person in the world whom she can truly talk to, even if he doesn’t understand her words. There is a mutual love between the two. Ariadne’s brother was born with a deformity and he happens to be mentally slow. Though he is known as a deadly monster, his kills are actually the result of rough play. Theseus eventually discovers the truth that the Minotaur is virtually harmless and that he won’t be given to him as some meal, but he is soon swept up in a plot to overthrow the rule in Krete, which could affect his budding friendship with Ariadne. Theseus doesn’t realize it, but Ariadne is intrigued by him because he doesn’t treat her the way so many others treat her. He isn’t afraid to look at her, speak to her or touch her. She feels “normal” around him. Aside from her friendship, Ariadne is faced with heart wrenching challenges due to unexpected circumstances which shatter what youthfulness she had remaining. She must, for the sake of her people and her religion, find a new strength.
Barrett is an excellent storyteller. She writes with a fluidity which brings substance to each and every word. It is difficult to find one flaw; however, I do have one small objection. My one concern with Dark of the Moon is in regards to the relationship between Theseus and Ariadne. I expected a buildup of the friendship, but it never quite happened. In fact, I was surprised by the lack of scenes that the two shared together. Ariadne only seemed to speak of the friendship, but only in passing. Theseus seemed a bit disconnected from Ariadne. Despite my one gripe, I did enjoy the complexities of both characters. Ariadne and Theseus are both examples of teen years, despite existing in a mythical world. Modern teens will be able to relate to their struggles. Dark of The Moon is one of the better YA novels I have read this year and I look forward to reading more work from Barrett.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*