I adored this book. Heather Lyons took a character from Greek Mythology and humanized her, weaving a tale of a girl who was made to suffer thousands of years as a monster because of the pettiness of a God. It was unique, wonderful and a story I will undoubtedly read again and again.
For those that may not know the story of Medusa, she was assaulted in Athena's temple by Poseidon. Athena became enraged and punished Medusa by turning her into the monster with a snake body, snake hair and who's stare turns anyone to stone. The new twist for this story is Medusa spending the next two thousand years riddled with guilt over the deaths she has caused. Even her snakes feel guilty in their part. She putters around her island developing new hybrid flowers and waiting until one of her two friends: a blind elderly man who stumbled upon her island and the messenger God Hermes. She wishes things were different, but after this long she resigned to the fact that this is how she is going to live for eternity. But that all changes when Hermes finally gets Medusa to reluctantly agree to petition Olympus about her punishment.
Medusa is one of those characters that you want to befriend, protect and find some way to ensure she's happy. I was hurt and angry for her at what she'd suffer because Poseidon couldn't take no for an answer. I wanted her to grab onto what Hermes was offering when he begged her to let him petition Olympus about her punishment, but also understood why she was terrified of what could happen should something go wrong. She had not only suffered at the hands of Poseidon, she was used as a pawn in petty jealousy of a God whom she worshipped. And we saw those fears become realty for Medusa as she was forced away from her new home and everything she loved because of the two Gods who ruined her life to begin with.
Hermes was the perfect hero. He befriended Medusa early in her days as "the monster", but he never saw her that way. For two thousand years, he was her best friend, but he wanted more for Medusa. I loved how he fought for her freedom and then to protect her from the Gods that still wished to harm her, even at a detriment to his own happiness. He was able to prove to Medusa, even when she started doubting him a bit, that he truly did love her and everything he did for her was because of that love.
The secondary characters to this story were fabulous. I loved Persephone and Hades. They were perfect as the staunch supporters of Hermes and Medusa. They, along with Hermes, show Medusa how a loving family should act and it does a lot to Medusa let go of all her hurt.
This was my first Heather Lyons book, but I will definitely be looking for more from this author. She weaves a story that is mesmerizing and creates characters that you dread to leave when you get to the last page of the book.