Dark of the Moon

Young Adult - Action
320 Pages
Reviewed on 11/06/2011
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning biographical novel, Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte, 1999). Her most recent publications are two young-adult novels, Dark of the Moon (Harcourt, 2011) and King of Ithaka (Henry Holt, 2010), and the four books in the middle-grade series The Sherlock Files (Henry Holt). Her retelling of the story of Cinderella, The Stepsister's Tale, will be published by Harlequin Teen in 2014. Nonfiction includes The Ancient Greek World and The Ancient Chinese World (The World in Ancient Times, Oxford University Press).

Tracy was the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Regional Advisor for the Midsouth from 1999 to 2009 and is now SCBWI’s Regional Advisor Coordinator. She was awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005 and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1994. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN, where until recently she taught at Vanderbilt University.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite

"Dark of the Moon" by Tracy Barrett plumbs the depth of Greek Mythology, re-spinning the story of the Minotaur into a tale for today’s teens. Fifteen-year-old Ariadne is Krete’s moon goddess in training. Sixteen-year-old Theseus, a misfit in the small village of Troizena, discovers that his father is king of Athens. Their fates entwine when Athens sends Theseus to Krete as a royal sacrifice to Ariadne’s brother, the Minotaur. Theseus arrives shortly before the spring Planting Festival, a total stranger to the religious rites observed by the Kretans and the role he is chosen to play.

The story unfolds through the voice of Ariadne in the past tense intermingled with the voice of Theseus in the present tense and concludes with the voice of Ariadne in the present tense. Together Ariadne and Theseus confront the familiar and foreign religion and politics of the ancient western world and find a way to prevail despite their individual destinies.

The book is more than a simple retelling of the classic myth. Teenagers will relate to the loneliness and questioning Ariadne and Theseus experience as they discover the hero’s need to embellish and the priestess’s aspiration to embody the divine. Barrett’s fiction, steeped in historical fact, vividly carries the readers back to a time when people believed in gods that required animal and even human sacrifice. Barrett’s rendition exposes the “good” side of “evil” and the “evil” side of “good.” Behind the story lurks a challenge to reinterpret the underpinnings of our own beliefs about good and evil. Barrett skillfully unravels the darker side of humanity revealing the universal struggle to redeem ourselves, each through our own story and in our own way.

Tracy Barrett

Thank you for the very thoughtful review! I think that's the best summary of the admittedly complex plot I've seen yet.

Tracy Barrett

The past tense of Theseus's voice was a first for me, but it came naturally. Ariadne really lived in the past and Theseus in the present and future, so it made sense to me for them to express themselves that way.