Book Review: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

About the Book:

Title: Stone Blind

Author: Natalie Haynes

Page Length: 384

Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2023

Publisher: Harper Collins

Synopsis: They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster.

The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge–on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.

Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .

In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman–injured by a powerful man–is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today. 

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

We are one, and we are many.

It’s fair to say I’m a bit obsessed with Greek myth retellings, especially when told from the women’s perspective. I’ve never been a big fan of Medusa (mostly because in elementary school, a kid used to call me Medusa because of my hair). However, Stone Blind completely changed my opinions on the greatly misunderstood Gorgon. With wit, beautiful narration, and unbelievable insight, Haynes crafted an unforgettable and remarkable story.

Medusa lives an idyllic life with her devoted sisters until Poseidon violates her and changes her life forever. Her story is heartbreaking, as she is punished by Athena after being raped by Poseidon and eventually meets her demise by Perseus. I always thought I knew Medusa’s story pretty well, but while reading Stone Blind, I realized I only really knew Medusa’s story as it related to Perseus, and she is so much more than that.

Something I really like about this retelling is that it’s not just a reversal of the classic stories. It’s not a story where the usual heroes are villains, and the villains are heroes. Instead, we are presented with a plethora of flawed and complex characters. And the novel doesn’t solely follow Medusa’s story. Rather, it includes the perspectives of Hera, Andromeda, Perseus, other Olympians, and more, whose stories are inextricably tied to Medusa’s. Their voices are distinct and unique, and their stories are woven together seamlessly. They’re crafted in a way that humanizes many of the characters and offers new and fresh perspectives that made me curse some and sympathize with others much more than I ever have in other readings. I found myself easily immersed and invested in so many of the characters’ stories, especially Medusa, Andromeda, and Perseus’s mother. Even Perseus’s story intrigued me, though it made me question his character and had me thinking about him in an entirely different light.

I see all those who men call monster. And I see the men who call them that. Call themselves heroes, of course. I only see them for an instant, then they’re gone. But it’s enough. Enough to know that the hero Isn’t the one who’s kind or brave or loyal. Sometimes – not always, but sometimes – he is monstrous. And the monster? Who is she? She is what happens when someone cannot be saved. This particular monster is assaulted, abused and vilified. And yet, as the story is always told, she is the one you should fear. She is the monster.

I love how this story makes you question. Throughout my reading, I wondered who the real monsters were. Were the monsters the ones who violated and murdered for their own gain? Were they the characters who used their power to influence others? Were they the ones who had the appearance of a monster? Stone Blind highlights the idea that monsters aren’t so easily defined. Take Sthenno and Euryale, for example. The immortal sisters of Medusa would be considered monsters to most solely based on what they look like. However, they prove to be caring and nurturing females who raise and love Medusa, and they prove way less monstrous than many others who are often revered as heroes. Perseus proves not so heroic because even though he is on a quest to help his mother, he does some atrocious (and unnecessarily cruel) things to undeserving victims.

The strong sisterhood between Medusa, Sthenno, and Euryale is one of my favorite parts of the story. When they first get Medusa as a baby and have no idea how to care for her, they quickly figure out how best to care for her. It’s endearing and sweet to see them so eager to care for Medusa. They learn what love is together on their little island. These idyllic years are a stark contrast to the horrors they and others endure at the hands of the gods.

Stone Blind is storytelling at its best, and it sheds an entirely different light on someone who has been vilified in literature and film. A powerful story of sisterhood, betrayal, and the manipulations of the gods, it’s the type of story I know I’ll think about for a long time to come. Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me an advanced copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The writing style.
  • The multiple perspectives.

Favorite Lines:

Is a monster always evil?

‘Who are you to decide who is worthy of love?’ said Hermes.

‘I mean, I wasn’t …’

‘And who are you to decide who is a monster?’ added the messenger god.


I would definitely recommend this to readers who like Greek mythology, retellings, and multiple POVs

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while – and now looking forward even more! I just read The Shadow of Perseus which is another retelling of the same myth, though I had missed feelings about it. This one sounds really good.

    1. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this one because i don’t love Medusa stories. But it was great! Many different perspectives and great storytelling. I hope you enjoy it!

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