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.

Love mythology? I recommend this book.Hate mythology? I recommend this book.Don’t care about mythology? I recommend this bookNeed a new book to read? I recommend this book.Anyways, this is such a fantastic standalone – possibly my favorite book for May! Although this story revolves around Greek mythology I would classify this book as both fantasy and contemporary – if you took away the mythology aspect, this story would read as any other contemporary romance and for me that was a plus  The author styled the book in a way where both mythology lovers and readers not familiar and/or don’t like mythology would be able to relate to characters and not feel lost. The important thing to remember is this is not a book where you get a lesson on the family tree of Greek gods and goddesses – at the heart of the story is an epic romance between a wronged woman and a noble, kind-hearted deity who has always been there for her.

For me, this book was both enlightening and enjoyable. Growing up, I was taught and instructed about certain ways of the gods & goddesses – deities that the old myths and textual content deemed to be “good” or “bad.” While I read this book, all the prior bias I had towards certain deities vanished. The author constructed these characters that broke down that bias – Athena isn’t the usual high & mighty wise goddess, Poseidon, though a powerful god of the seas, isn’t so well-respected, Hades isn’t a dark, gloomy god of death, etc…Does the author twist around Greek mythology? Yes, but in a way that’s completely believable and specific to the purposes of this story. It’s a fine line for readers – you’re either going to love it or think the author butchered it, but the one thing we can all agree on no matter how different our interpretations are is that Heather Lyons was able to create and mold these characters that genuinely reflected her vision for the story, not just go by what history and mythology dictated was accurate.

Medusa is like any other simple girl except for one thing – she’s extraordinarily beautiful. She catches the attention of Poseidon, god of the sea, and thinking she loves him and vice versa, she doesn’t count on him raping her. On top of which, after losing her virginity the goddess she previously served Athena curses her and turns her into the hideous Gorgon Medusa and anyone who looks her in the eye will be turned to stone.What I love so much about Medusa is how well-rounded her character is: she’s understandably hurt and weak from suffering her punishment for 2000 years, yet she’s never once let what happened to her change her kind heart and diminish her inner strength. Because of her ability to turn the living into stone, she rejects any contact from the outside world, save a old blind man and the deity Hermes.

Hermes is a wise, outspoken, and noble deity – he is the nephew of Poseidon and Athena’s brother so I was expecting Medusa to hate him. But as time goes by, Hermes shows Medusa little by little that there are good gods in Olympus and that he’s on her side, truly believing that what his uncle and sister did to Medusa was unjust and he sets off to right this wrong.The BEST part about this book was having the characters prove me and my previous biases wrong again and again – the author portrayed these gods and goddesses in a way you just wouldn’t expect in Greek mythology textbooks. So Hades, god of the underworld, isn’t a shady & gloomy god – who would’ve thought that? I can’t emphasize this enough – at the heart of the book is a romance story, not another adaptation of Greek mythology. The romance isn’t shallow or unbelievable; in fact I could really relate to her, despite this all taking place in Olympus. The setting is in modern times so there is wifi, shopping malls, etc…and for me that made it all the more easier to put the story and romance into perspective.Of course, the book wasn’t perfect and I had intended to give this book 6 stars as it hit all the right buttons. However, there are a number of grammatical/editing errors, nothing too serious but noticeable enough. Another thing was – Medusa on her own was a weak character BUT I could see why for the first 50%. After all this is a woman who’s lived in isolation for 2000 years and pretty much lost sense of how the world works. But together with Hermes, they are such a strong team; in fact they shined and I don’t think anyone can resist that kind of love or power, certainly not me. So for the author to give me such a unique and different story and for portraying that kind of epic love that made me teary-eyed every so often, I can’t give this book less than 5 stars – my heart won’t allow it.