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Dark of the Moon

de Tracy Barrett

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1239173,815 (3.13)4
Retells the story of the minotaur through the eyes of his fifteen-year-old sister, Ariadne, a lonely girl destined to become a goddess of the moon, and her new friend, Theseus, the son of Athens' king who was sent to Crete as a sacrifice to her misshapen brother.
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In Dark of the Moon, Barrett presents the “true” story of the Minotaur, told in alternating first person by Ariadne and Theseus.
Many years ago, a son of the Minos of Krete was murdered in Athens, and as a result, the King of Athens must now send one of his own sons to Krete to be given to the Minotaur. In Troizena, Theseus has grown up not knowing his full parentage. At the age of fifteen he discovers that he is the king's son. He leaves his mother and stepfather to meet his father, who immediately sends him to Krete. En route, Theseus discovers why he has being sent there and agrees to a plan concocted by a woman he hardly knows.
Before we learn all this, we meet the teenage Goddess-Who-Will-Be, Ariadne, and her half-wit brother, Minos-Who-Will-Be. He is kept in the palace basement for his and others' protection, and she is subjected to hours of lessons. As the next Goddess and ruler of Krete, Ariadne has much to learn. Barrett's rendering of the goddess rituals are detailed and fascinating. Ariadne's position isolates her, and she responds by craving intimacy. When a ship arrives from a foreign land, she meets some of its passengers who, unfamiliar with Kreten culture, do not fear and avoid her. Feeling freed by their behavior, Ariadne strikes up an inappropriate friendship.
Ariadne and Theseus are appealing teenage protagonists, and they narrate with honesty and emotion. Dark of the Moon is a fabulously-conceived reinvention of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. Highly recommended. ( )
  elizabethcfelt | May 15, 2017 |
Actual rating: 3.5 stars ( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
Greek myths ftw! I have always loved Greek mythology, so you're going to have to let me squee like a fangirl about the awesome job Tracy Barrett has done playing with an old familiar story. While she kept some of the basics about the myth, she changed other things, but she did so with flair and authenticity. She draws on the way that history alters truth and creates a really interesting variation on the original tale.

This myth was never my favorite (hello, where are the horses?), so I think I may actually like this variation better. At any rate, I love the postmodern re-evaluation of who was good and who was bad. Like Elpheba in Wicked, you get to see a different view of the Minotaur and an explanation for why he did some of the things he did. He totally reminds me of Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

Although I did not really grow close to any of the characters, the story held me fascinated, because I could not wait to find out what Barrett would do with the myth. Theseus, though I sympathized with him as a youth, lost my support when he took up with completely obnoxious Prokris. Ariadne was too far into her belief system for me to really want her to get things her way, which would involve blood sacrifice and all sorts of unpleasantness.

Anyone who finds Greek mythology should definitely try this awesome revisionist view of the story of the Minotaur! ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Good story for people who like mythology! This novel retells Theseus’s myth in a way that’s historically plausible, and brings the ancient world of Krete alive to do it.

Opening Sentence: It isn’t true what they say about my brother–that he ate those children.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Barrett’s novel weaves a more realistic, historically plausible tale of the Minotaur, she wrote it well and grounded everything in an ancient context. As an obsessive mythology nerd, I appreciate the accuracy. Through the book, though mostly concentrated toward the end she took the time to explain how these characters developed into those found in classical mythology. Despite this, and the interest I had when picking up the book, I was a little underwhelmed in the end.

Theseus and the Minotaur is one of the most well know classics. But things have changed rather drastically in Barrett’s version. For example, the reason Theseus is sent to Krete as a tribute is not for his heroism, but because the Minos (King of Krete) said if the Athenians included the son of their king he would not ask them for more tributes. Ariadne is She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, who’s only true friend is her mother, the current Goddess. The book is divided between Theseus and Ariadne’s perspectives, but I thought Theseus’s was way more interesting. I really didn’t find myself very invested in the Goddess subplot, so Ariadne wasn’t intriguing to me. The only other person in the palace who isn’t afraid to touch her is her half-brother–poor, deformed Asterion, who’s trapped beneath the palace because of his unintentionally violent tendencies.

That being said, it means the majority of people who want to read this book will be able to tell what happens next, even if some of the end results are different. I didn’t necessarily think of this predictability as a problem because I spent most of the book wondering how she was going to spin it. However, I do have a hard time reading a story where I know what’s going to happen, and so it took me a while to read–but someone who hasn’t studied mythology might not find this as much of a problem. The plot picks up significantly in the second half of the story–as does the violence. Unfortunately, the violence doesn’t really get any suspenseful build up, so when it occurred I didn’t really think much of it. Barrett works hard to turn Theseus into an non-hero, a regular guy (well, a prince, but otherwise a normal guy) and while that made him a more complicated character I think it robbed him of some serious potential.

My biggest peeve about this book was how confusing the perspective switches were. Barrett switches from Ariadne to Theseus every chapter–but where as Theseus is telling his myth-creation story in present tense, Ariadne is in past tense. When I did get into the story and didn’t notice the chapter break, it completely pulled me out of the action. It was a fast-paced read though, and when I could get into it I was really into the story and 50 pages flew by. I know it sounds like I don’t like Dark of the Moon, but I did. I just didn’t like it as much as I expected I would.

Notable Scene:

“You are very noble.” She leans her head against my chest.

The guilt becomes even more painful. “Perhaps not as noble as you think.”

“Oh yes. To give your life for the Kretan people, when you are an outsider, that is a noble thing.”

I try to laugh, but my throat has closed. “I don’t plan to give my life for anybody.”

She pulls back and stares at me. “But that’s what you’re here for. That’s why there’s a Chosen One at the Planting Festival. He has to die for the people.”

It’s like she’s speaking a foreign language, one where I understand only one word in three. “What do you mean, ‘Die for the people’?” It must be some way of talking that they have here, some ritual where the king’s bloodletting is seen as a kind of death.

Ariadne looks down. “The Minos will open the pathway of your blood. Your blood will go on the fields, and the harvest will be good.”

“How much of my blood?”

“All of it.”

FTC Advisory: Harcourt Children’s Books provided me with a copy of Dark of the Moon. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Feb 15, 2012 |
Before I wrote this review I looked up Minotaur mythology to compare to this book, I wanted to see if the stories were the same or if it was a re-invention of the story. From what I can tell, (and I am definitely not an expert) they are pretty close with only a few variations.
I've always found mythology confusing and hard to sort through but Dark of The Moon was easy to read and totally enjoyable. The story is told from the POV's of Ariadne, the "Minotaur's" sister and Theseus, the king of Athens' son. I got swept up in the ancient world of these characters really quickly and enjoyed it more than I thought. Dark of The Moon didn't focus so much on the Minotaur as I thought but more on Ariadne and her struggles with becoming a woman and "She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess". As well as Theseus and his coping with being sent a away as a sacrifice. It also cast a more flattering light on the Minotaur and had a much happier ending. The only thing I can complain about and it's totally minor is the constant use of "She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess" and "She-Who-Is-Goddess" in reference to Ariadne and her mother Pasiphae. As a whole the story was great, it's even got me more interested in Greek mythology, so if that's your forte then I definitely recommend. ( )
  Tristan_Bruce | Dec 28, 2011 |
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Retells the story of the minotaur through the eyes of his fifteen-year-old sister, Ariadne, a lonely girl destined to become a goddess of the moon, and her new friend, Theseus, the son of Athens' king who was sent to Crete as a sacrifice to her misshapen brother.

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