**I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review**
When the blurb of this book mentioned “Medusa retelling”, I knew I would need this in my life. Who wouldn’t love a story like that? Sadly this fell flat for me. I wanted to love it, I tried so hard to love it, but it came across as more of a sloppy mess. I get the message that was trying to be expressed but the way it was delivered left me confused.
The story is told from the POV of Milla, the girl who would grow up to become Medusa. She lived in a town where teen girls are known to become possessed by demons. Her parents treated her as if she were nothing more than a burden, always talking down to her, and never saying a kind word to her. When another teen girl, Iris, moved close to her family in the hopes of becoming engaged to her brother, things change. Iris started to show signs of being possessed so she is carted off to The Place. The Place is where girls are taken once they “show signs” but they never return. Milla knows that Iris was not possessed so she ventured out to make the journey to get her friend back.
But Milla has secrets of her own…. she can talk to animals and that includes snakes. To her great surprise, her mother discovered a snake growing out of her head while brushing her hair. Milla was thrilled because she felt safe and comforted with the snake being so close. She could sense its thoughts and feelings. Soon another snake grows from the other side of her head and she welcomed it like a long lost friend. She could not tell anyone what was going on because if she did, she would be sent away. The other big secret was that her aunt was the one who set the dreaded curse upon the village.
As you can tell, there was a lot going on… almost too much. The message I found within the pages was a good one – that no matter how hard you try everyone will have an opinion and they will tell you what it is. You absolutely cannot make everyone happy. It felt like an odd message to have buried so deep down and hidden in a fantasy novel. It took me a lot of reflection and processing of the story to figure that out.
While there was a lot going on plot wise, the delivery was also off. Milla’s character felt underdeveloped. She constantly changed her opinion on everything in her life – she liked Iris and then she didn’t then she did again; she was terrified of the demon curse but then welcomed it at the same time. There were also long (and I mean long) stretches of chapters where nothing happens. It was never truly clear what was really going on. Nothing came together until the last few chapters. While this was a quick read, it was a frustrating read. I found that I never connected with Milla or her quest to find out who the “bad guy” was. I wanted to know more about Iris, Milla’s family, and the rest of the characters but that never happened.
Overall, I struggled with this one. I was excited to read in the beginning but that fizzled quickly as I became confused and bored. I found myself skimming huge paragraphs that described nothing relevant to the overall story. The premise and concept of the book was what hooked me but the execution left so much to be desired. If you read this, read it with a small amount of reservation.