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Medusa by Rosie Hewlett - Book Review

Updated: Jun 27

Mere mortal, Medusa, is rejected by her goddess mother at birth and abandoned at the temple of Athena. A priestess at the temple raises Medusa, and they live a simple and contented life. Medusa grows into a beautiful young woman and is reunited with her long-lost sisters who cushion the blow when her beloved priestess dies.  

Medusa catches the eye of sea god, Poseidon, but when his interest is not returned, he rapes her in the temple of the goddess she worships. Medusa’s pleas to her beloved goddess go unheard, and when she finds that her temple has been defiled, Athena blames Medusa herself.

To punish Medusa, Athena takes away the beauty she supposedly employed to seduce Poseidon, turning her into a hideous, snake-headed gorgon. When Medusa’s sisters come to her defense, Athena turns them into gorgons, too.

Rather than mourn the loss of her beauty, Medusa revels in her new form. Instead of attracting the unwanted attention that left her trapped and defenseless, Medusa’s appearance strikes terror into the men who once terrorised her.

Medusa and her sisters set out on a quest to avenge all women who have suffered abuse at the hands of men. Her newly minted wings and her power to turn men to stone with a single glance serve Medusa well.

I loved Rosie Hewlett’s recent retelling of Medea, and so was inspired to read her first novel, Medusa. This self-published novel is another retelling of an ancient Greek myth, about the injustices women suffer in a male-dominated society, and that when pushed to extremes, monsters are not born but made.

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