Thursday, July 12, 2012
Dark of the Moon Review
Book talk: Ever since Ariadne became She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess her friends have been afraid to touch her, or even talk to her. It is a great honor, but also a great burden. Ariadne will never be able to leave the island to see the native lands of the foreigners who arrive by ship. She will never be able to fall in love and get married. Her only companion left is her brother, who was born deformed and with so much strength and so little control that he is kept locked below the palace. And yet she sneaks out to see the ships come in with the tributes and dream of life in lands she will never see. She knows she shouldn't, but she does anyway, and that is where she first sees Theseus.
Rocks my socks: This book was like a cross between Mary Renault and Marion Zimmer Bradley, so I naturally enjoyed it. It takes a myth and sets it in the context of historical fiction instead of fantasy and tries to find ways of explaining how the events of the famous story could have actually happened and then later be stretched into myth with the retelling. The story also contains a strong sympathy for old priestess-centered religions that are dying out as the story is being told. I loved the parts of the story focused on Ariadne and I found her a sympathetic character as she tried her best to fulfill her role even as she struggled with it.
Rocks in my socks: I was not as big of a fan of the Theseus storyline. Theseus is a total jerk in the original myth, but at least he's determined and proactive. In this version though, by making his various jerk moves unintended consequences instead of informed choices he came off as a weaker and less interesting character. This may just be my personal bias against him though.
Every book its reader: I'd recommend it to fans of greek mythology and strong female characters. It's for a slightly older set than the Percy Jackson books. The characters are older and there's a few references to the ceremony where she-who-is-goddess marries the king and consummates the marriage before the king is sacrificed. The story has a generally dark tone as well with the old religion dying out, the tragic character of the Minotaur, and the harsh realities of the sacrificial system. There's nothing explicit in it though so it should be fine for tweens.
Visit the author's website for more information about the book: http://www.tracybarrett.com/dark_of_the_moon_107682.htm
For those unfamiliar with the myth this brief animation provides a great overview and may pique the interest of students.
Even those who think they are unfamiliar with the story might be familiar with allusions to it. Older teens may recognize Ariadne as the character from Inception.
If all of that isn't enough to get your students' attention you can trot out this little factoid: Suzanne Collins cites the story of Theseus as inspiring The Hunger Games. Finding connections between the two stories could be a fun exercise.
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Buy it or check it out today!
Source: school library