Set In Stone: The Life & Death of Medusa by R. C. Berry provides a highly creative backstory to the life of Medusa before she becomes a monster. We meet Medusa as a young, highly impressionable and naive teen. She is beautiful inside and out and adored by her "cousins" the Charities. She is invited by the Charities to a celebratory festival on Mount Olympus for the goddess Athena. While there she becomes enamored with not only Athena but Aphrodite. This sparks a tug-of-war between the two goddesses to see which one can win the love of Medusa.
Over the course of the following year Medusa begins to worship both goddesses and leave small tokens of her love and devotion, but it is only Athena that appears to her as a reward for her prayers. Upon her return to Mount Olympus, this time for a celebratory festival for Aphrodite, she is sad and angry over the treatment of Aphrodite and lets her know why. Things get rather complicated and interesting at this point because Athena feels she has won the love and devotion of Medusa yet Aphrodite seduces her. The "war" truly heats up between the two goddesses with Medusa caught in the middle as nothing more than a plaything. It appears that Aphrodite may care for Medusa and she does go out of her way to protect her after she is attacked by Poseidon and cursed by Athena. But the result is that Medusa has become hard and cold on the inside as a result of the gods and goddesses machinations.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Set in Stone but I was pleasantly surprised. This highly creative backstory is believable although it does stretch the imagination at times. Ms. Berry has provided a twist to the mythology behind the legend. The only drawback is that this is the first in a trilogy and one presumes no resolution to the story will be had until the end of the third book. This doesn't detract from the pleasure obtained in reading this story but it does mean more reading ahead.
DISCLOSURE: I received this book free from the author/publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading
"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor
“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen
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