Author: Michele Amitrani
Every legend hides a truth as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
On the far island of Sarpedon, a snake-haired she-monster known to inhabitants as the Soul of Stone turns people into statues. For decades, heroes from all over Greece have been trying to put an end to her evil, and for decades her collection of statues has grown, soul by soul.
When Panacea, a young Amazon warrior with a talent for potions, learns her brother has been killed by the monster, she sails to Sarpedon to seek revenge. But in the killer’s cave, Panacea makes a stunning discovery that leaves her questioning everything she believes to be true.
Torn between bravery and fear, between loyalty and treachery, Panacea must reconcile herself to the knowledge that ending a life is easy, while preserving one is hard. Vengeance is an art—but is she willing to bathe her soul in Hellfire in order to master it?
Mythology retellings are always fascinating and it fun to read a nice novella that featured that well-known Medusa and gave a new spin on her story. This novella is an extremely quick read as I was finished before I knew it. The ending works extremely well for the story and is something that I would not expect based on how the story started. I was surprised that a novella could pull off a nice twist that gave it an interesting edge. It gave a great introduction to mythology for those who are curious to read about the topic without going straight into a full novel.
Our story surrounds an Amazon healer named Panacea. She has been summoned to the palace by the queen as the king has mysteriously fallen ill and the other healers have been unsuccessful in helping him. As Panacea is known as the best healer around, she is given full access to the king and full power over his care. She gives the king a potion and while they are waiting for it to take effect, the king asks her how she became a healer. Panacea reminisces and recites the story about how she first learned to heal.
The story goes back twenty five years to Panacea’s childhood as she is on a journey to find her brother that has been killed. She believes that it was Medusa’s doing and journeys to her cave in order to seek revenge. Panacea finds Medusa, but she is not somebody that Panacea expected. Instead, Medusa is a kind, yet rude, healer that assists those in need. Panacea must now figure out if the kinder healer is the real Medusa or if she is the monster people believe her to be. Panacea ends up injuring herself and comes to the conclusion that Medusa is a better person than the stories made her believe and decides to befriend her. Over time, Panacea wants to become a healer like Medusa and becomes her student. The majority of the story goes into Panacea’s journey to becoming a healer under her tutor, Medusa, until Medusa meets her ultimate demise when she is killed by a son of Zeus.
The overall story was well written and easy to understand as the wording choices were simple yet fit the overall setting. I loved reading about Panacea’s journey and it was great to learn a different refreshing take on Medusa. I wish that there was more backstory for Panacea as I feel she seemed more like a secondary character in her own story as the focus is mainly on Medusa’s life. It was hard to understand everything about Panacea without the details of the backstory. If you add those pieces in, then this would make a fantastic novel as it is entertaining and captivating enough that a reader would not might reading more.
Overall, this was a fascinating take on Medusa by introducing her to her enemy turned pupil, Panacea. It is a very short book, but you are interested to read it and are not tempted to put it down. This is a fantastic novella for those that are fans of mythology and for those that want to give these types of stories a try. Based on the flow of the story and the ease of reading, I would be tempted to read more by this author and, if there are more mythology stories, than it is even more reason to add them all to my TBR list! A great short story that gave a very entertaining take on Medusa!
**I give a special thank you to publisher and the author for the review copy to read. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**