For a decade, Ariadne, 16, has been the Keeper of the Maze in the annual fight-to-the-death reality TV show The Labyrinth Contest, in which 14 Athenians try to kill the Minotaur. This year, Theseus, the newly rediscovered Athenian prince, has decided to join the contest himself. By slaying the Minotaur, who is also Ariadne’s brother, he hopes to put an end to the death game. Complicating matters, Ariadne is attracted to Theseus, so when he asks for her help, she must decide whether to aid in the murder of her little brother or let her crush be killed. In addition, the show has been losing ratings, and with best friend Icarus’s career in the balance, fame-shy Ariadne literally and figuratively removes her mask to help make this the most exciting season yet. In her debut, Roberson expertly modernizes Greek mythology with a very Kardashian twist. Ariadne’s older sisters even have their own reality show, The Paradoxes, which follows their lives and sexual conquests as young, rich, and beautiful princesses. Newcomers to the myths may have to educate themselves to grasp all of the references, but those familiar with the characters will delight in this thoroughly contemporary soap opera’s reinvented and updated world. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (Oct.)
Roberson largely sticks to the original myth, and its more twisted aspects fit neatly into the cutthroat contemporary reality TV universe, where exploitation is the name of the game and ratings are everything. . .A fresh new twist on an enduring myth.” Kirkus Reviews
“Roberson expertly modernizes Greek mythology with a very Kardashian twist.” Publishers Weekly
“A creative and fast-paced retelling of the Minotaur myth that is both loyal to the original story and rife with thoughtful commentary on the modern phenomena of social media, celebrity culture, and surveillance. . .The concept is endlessly intriguing and its execution is dark, salacious fun. A novel mix of The Hunger Games, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Greek mythology that will draw in former Percy Jackson fans looking for a more grown-up read.” School Library Journal
“This myth with modern trappings will have no trouble hooking an eager audience.” Booklist
“Readers familiar with the myth will appreciate updated revisions to old characters and the book’s empowering twist in Ariadne’s heartbreak. . .Brings a modern, engaging humor to the ancient classic.” The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
“A reimagining that could engage a new generation of readers to appreciate Greek mythology and re engage readers familiar with the stories to appreciate the story from Ariadne’s perspective.” Tor.com
“Steamy, witty and heartbreaking, Emily Roberson has given us a fast-paced love story and family chronicle set in a world that ingeniously marries Greek Mythology with today's celebrity culture.” -Marit Weisenberg, author of Select and Select Few
“An absolute must-read...Roberson’s retold Myth is a beautiful combination of modern and classic, reinterpreting and shifting the meaning of the term ‘monster.’” Paperback Paris
Gr 10 Up—An inventive re-imagining of the myth of the Minotaur for a mature YA audience. Ariadne hates the spotlight. She's the one scowling in the background on her sisters' reality show, The Cretan Paradoxes, and mortified when she accidentally discovers much-gossiped-about film footage of her mother's bestial affair with a bull. Worst of all is her father's reality-TV franchise, The Labyrinth Contest, which sends 14 young Athenians to their televised deaths fighting the Minotaur each year. Ariadne serves as the Keeper of the Maze, an elusive masked figure who conceals her family's biggest secret—the Minotaur is no simple monster, but her half-human, half-bull brother, who suffers uncontrollable rages and profound isolation. She has never questioned her commitment to protecting him until Theseus, the prince of Athens, shows up as a contestant in this year's contest, determined to save his subjects from death in the maze. Ariadne and Theseus develop a romantic connection that feels fated, but what he asks her for is impossible—help navigating the maze, which Ariadne can only give at the cost of her brother's life. A creative and fast-paced retelling of the Minotaur myth that is both loyal to the original story and rife with thoughtful commentary on the modern phenomena of social media, celebrity culture, and surveillance. At times the juxtaposition of ancient and modern elements can feel slightly jarring, but the concept is endlessly intriguing and its execution is dark, salacious fun. VERDICT A novel mix of The Hunger Games, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Greek mythology that will draw in former Percy Jackson fans looking for a more grown-up read.—Elizabeth Giles, Lubuto Library Partners, Zambia
The Greek myth of the Minotaur collides with reality TV in Roberson's debut.
Every year in Crete, 14 of the strongest and most beautiful young Athenian men and women navigate a maze full of deadly obstacles for a chance to slay the Minotaur for fame and fortune in the wildly popular reality show The Labyrinth Contest. For 10 years, King Minos' 16-year-old daughter, Ariadne, who narrates, has taken up her ball of silver thread as the Keeper of the Maze: Only she can soothe the Minotaur during his earth-shaking rages. Unlike her glamorous sisters, Acalle and Xenodice, Ariadne shuns parties, social media, and scandal for video games and time with her best friend and showrunner, Icarus. That is, until the handsome Theseus, a prince of Athens, catches Ariadne's eye. When he asks her to help him win, ending the brutal contest once and for all, she sees a chance to be free and to claim her own destiny. When shocking secrets come to light, her unique bond with the tragic beast at the heart of the maze leaves her with a heartbreaking choice. Roberson largely sticks to the original myth, and its more twisted aspects fit neatly into the cutthroat contemporary reality TV universe, where exploitation is the name of the game and ratings are everything. Icarus is gay, and all characters assume a white default.
A fresh new twist on an enduring myth. (Fantasy. 14-18)