Book Review: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
Title: The Deep End of the Sea
By: Heather Lyons
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: New Adult
Genre Type: Retelling, Greek Myth
Publication Date: February 5th 2014
Pages: Paperback, 288 page
Publisher: by Cerulean Books
What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?
Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.
But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.
I am a monster. The worst kind of monster.
I am the Gorgon Medusa. And my eyes can turn anything to stone.
A tale of Medusa like you have never heard before. Heather Lyons takes readers back to the beginning of this well-known Greek tale, and gives us, the readers an inside look at what happened that fateful day in Athena's temple. This is the story about a beautiful maiden who has not only had her beauty taken away, but her innocence and humanity.
I've always wondered if there's more to this story than tradition tells, and with The Deep End of the Sea, Medusa and the Greek gods are brought to life with all their beauty, pettiness, magic and power. Heather Lyons takes the story of Medusa and changes it into something new, unique and beautiful. If you remember your Greek mythology, Medusa, handmaiden to the goddess Athena, is the young girl whose beauty was said to have been her curse. Visited by the watery god Poseidon, she is raped in Athena's temple and cursed into the hideous form of a Gorgon. She is wrongly blamed by the jealous goddess Athena and accused of being promiscuous. The Deep End of the Sea takes this horrible, traumatic act, and unfair judgement and puts an empowering reinterpretation and modern setting to it. This is a wonderful retelling. It is a heroines journey. One of healing, reclaiming one's identity, the healing power of friendship, and the beauty of first love.
The story begins on a magical isle in the Aegean Sea where Medusa has lived in isolation since her curse. In this story, Medusa is heartbroken each and every time someone dares to venture to her secluded island to see if the legends of her a true, and those who accidentally gaze upon her and are turned to stone. Her only friends are an adorable, older fishermen who is blind and cannot be harmed by Medusa's deadly gaze, and the Greek god Hermes. As the messenger for the mighty Zeus, he also ferries the souls of the dead for his uncle Hades. Hermes begins to visit Medusa, bringing her thoughtful gifts. Very slowly, Medusa begins to trust him and a friendship is born. When Hermes can no longer stand by while his friend continues to suffer her punishment he petitions the gods to break the curse put upon Medusa and free her. What follows is a story of Medusa coming to terms with what happened to her long ago in Athena's temple, and her breaking free.
There are so many wonderful aspects of this story that I enjoyed. From the wonderful setting in Medusa's Aegean island to the underworld where she visits Hades and Persephone to the Mountains of Olympus, I was thrilled. The gods and goddesses have a slightly otherworldly feel, yet they're contemporary and have adapted to all the fun gadgets and modern tech in today's world.
I loved the interaction that Medusa has with Hades, Persephone and even Aphrodite, who act as guardians over Medusa. Hades is not the dark lord of the underworld, but a loving husband to Persephone and ruler. Athena and Poseidon are definitely the villains in this story. There's an underlying mystery woven into the story beyond Medusa's punishment that I really liked and was totally surprised by.
The relationship that develops between Hermes and Medusa was really beautiful. Growing from tentative trust, and sweet friendship to something warm and passionate. The portrayal of their slow blooming love and romance was perfect. Hermes won my heart over with his sweet friendship and ability to look beyond Medusa's outer shell and see her inner beauty. He never falters and puts her first, earning her trust, friendship and eventually love.
Medusa goes through so much in this story, and her fight and growth had me cheering her on. She is so easy to connect with, and I felt all the lows and highs with her. Her tears, loneliness, longing that eventually turns to happiness, love and strength. These two brought out the best in each other, and their romance was almost fairy tale quality, a perfect couple.
The Deep End of the Sea is a beautifully written, poignant story filled with a new and empowering reinterpretation of the Medusa story. Filled with Greek mythology, consuming romance and a surprising mystery it brings all the "feels" for its readers. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars. I really like it!