Book review: Dion: His Life and Mine

praises this fast-paced, thought-provoking modern retelling of part of the well-known Greek myth of Dionysius

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Dion: His Life and Mine recounts the myths of the Greek god Dionysius from his wife, Ariadne’s, point of view. Whilst placing this story in a modern context, for instance making Dion lead singer of the band Libertia, Anstey successfully retains many of the traditional elements of the Greek myth which has survived through the ages. This makes the novel more appealing to the younger generation of readers it is aimed at, whilst still endearing itself to lovers of the original myth.

Anstey’s use of Ariadne’s voice engages the reader from the very first page. The tone is almost conversational and the reader is drawn into Ariadne and Dion’s world. This allows the reader to engage with the story and easily follow the clear structure laid out through Ariadne’s narration, as they experience the same happiness and pain, success and heartbreak.

The role of the media is a key theme explored in this novel, as Anstey questions the power of the media to distort fact and fiction. This is perhaps slightly ironic in that myths themselves are a complex mix of fact and fiction. Nevertheless, it relates to much wider issues and urges the reader to consider the myth of celebrity and the impact of the media on this in culture today.

To this end, the novel is accompanied by a corresponding website. Here can be found a number of press releases which are mentioned, with links provided, within the novel. This interactivity is clear and highly appealing to the younger audience the novel is targeted at. They can be perused at the reader’s own leisure and all help to truly consider the wider meaning of the issues of the novel.

The only slight criticism of this novel would be that its interactivity can be a double-edged sword. The novel is currently only released on a kindle platform meaning that its audience is limited. Whilst its interactivity allows a further exploration of the story beyond the novel, it is restricted in access.

Despite being aimed primarily at young adult readers, Anstey has successfully modernised the myth to make it appealing to all ages. Equally, although a prior knowledge of Greek myths may be desirable, this is not essential for enjoyment of the story. Anstey weaves a powerful story that can be understood and appreciated by all, one of the true marks of a successful author, and this novel is a prime example of why so many adult readers are delving into the young and new adult spheres of fiction.

Ultimately this is a powerful, thrilling read that successfully brings the centuries-old myth into a more modern context and to a wider audience.

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