Every legend hides a truth as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
On the far island of Sarpedon, a snake-haired she-monster known to inhabitants as the Soul of Stone turns people into statues. For decades, heroes from all over Greece have been trying to put an end to her evil, and for decades her collection of statues has grown, soul by soul.
When Panacea, a young Amazon warrior with a talent for potions, learns her brother has been killed by the monster, she sails to Sarpedon to seek revenge. But in the killer’s cave, Panacea makes a stunning discovery that leaves her questioning everything she believes to be true.
Torn between bravery and fear, between loyalty and treachery, Panacea must reconcile herself to the knowledge that ending a life is easy, while preserving one is hard. Vengeance is an art—but is she willing to bathe her soul in Hellfire in order to master it?
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Soul of Stone is a riveting character-centric tale of heartbreak, resolve, and vengeance, set in a world where heroes and ruffians alike seek glory by slaying monsters of legend. Michele Amitrani pens a unique retelling of Greek myth, done so in a contemporary and charming way to captivate its modern audience. He tells the legend of Panacea, renowned healer, and her journey from impulsive childhood to tenacious adulthood; each stage of her life having a common denominator: Medusa. After a short introduction, readers are immediately immersed in a poignant tale of the consequences of misconception, and the long, arduous road to acceptance. This brisk narrative is a wonderful homage to the fortitude of women, one I cannot recommend enough.
Where this novella truly shines is in its characterization, featuring mythological figures in ways we’ve never seen them before. A misguided orphan sets out to avenge the death of her brother, only to find a guiding hand. A scorned woman doomed to live forever in the shadows, wishes only to live in peace and help the unfortunate. Amitrani allows us to take a peek behind the veil and dive deep into a past filled with pain and sorrow, evoking genuine feelings of sympathy and concern. Yes, the majority shuns Medusa the monster, but she refuses to let go of the belief that there is and will forever be good in the world. Most of this yarn takes place in Medusa’s lair, peppered with serpents, healing herbs, and men of stone, so we spend plenty of time with these incredible characters he’s crafted.
For such a short, compact story, it’s astounding what the author achieves in Soul of Stone. Told as a chronicle of someone’s history, we’re seamlessly transported from the present into the past, and back again. The flow is beautiful, the language easily accessible and emotionally charged. There’s a delicious turn of events that that ties everything together, and came as a complete surprise. For fear of spoiling it all, I’ll just say this is one you definitely need to experience yourself. Fans of mythology retellings or anyone that is enjoys something familiar, but thoroughly unique, Soul of Stone is for you.
Note: A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a complementary review copy via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.
Michele Amitrani is a self-published author living in beautiful British Columbia. He has grown up writing of falling empires, space battles, mortal betrayals, monumental decisions and everything in between.
He now spends his days traveling through time and space and, more often than not, writing about impossible but necessary worlds.
He writes dark fantasy, epic fantasy, science fiction and lots of other cool stuff.
When Michele is not busy chasing dragons or mastering the Force, you can find him at MicheleAmitrani.com or hanging out on Facebook at /MicheleAmitraniAuthor.