Halam, Ann. Snakehead.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review

HALAM, Ann. Snakehead. Random House, Wendy Lamb. 291p. map. c2008. 978-0-375-84108-8. $16.99. JSA *

Look to the stars (or a star map) and find there the characters in this marvelous retelling of the ancient story: Perseus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, and Pegasus. Halam has been faithful to the myth, adding depth, wisdom, and humor to create a novel that will challenge YA readers and adults alike. At the heart of this story is the greater question, the mystery, of how gods and humans interact. Yes, the Greek myth may have the gods Poseidon, Zeus (Perseus's father), Hermes, and Athena, but Halam is interested in themes that encompass all divinity, even the understanding of God in modern times. How does God use us for His purposes? is a question still pondered. What is fate? is not an unknown modern puzzle. Even the veil that separates the mystery of the divine from the human (as Andromeda expresses it) is another metaphor like "through a glass darkly."

As for the story itself: Perseus and Andromeda meet on a small island in the Cyclades and fall in love, but their fates appear to be dictated by the gods, and they believe there is no escape. Andromeda is a princess from Phoenicia, a brilliant young woman who knows about an alphabet linking the sounds of words (not a picture) to their meaning, which is...

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