Medusa by Jessie Burton with illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill

“If I told you that I’d killed a man with a glance, would you wait to hear the rest?”  That is the opening line of this amazing young adult novel, and if one does indeed stick around to hear the rest, an amazing journey ensues.  Someone you have thought of as monstrous transforms before your eyes into someone heartbreakingly human, with a past so painful and tragic that you want to weep for her.  That is the magic of this feminist retelling of the story of Medusa. 

The story is strong enough on its own to pull one in, but the stunning illustrations sprinkled throughout add another layer of brilliance.  The slightly oversize book along with the images gives one the feeling that it is part picture book, and part graphic novel.  If you are a fan of mythological retellings such as Circe by Madeline Miller, then this is for you.  I had not previously been particularly interested in mythology, but this book really pulled me in, mainly by revealing that a story I thought I understood. Perhaps I did not understand at all. 

Reviewed by Bryan Latimer, Zauel Library