All Medousa wanted was a life of love and acceptance but one fateful night it changed. While she’s alone in the Temple of Athene tending to the sacred fire, Poseidon pays a visit. No human can stop an immortal from taking what they want.
[Full disclosure: As a thank you for reviewing her four previous short stories, Luciana Cavallaro sent me the paperback Accursed Women as a thank you. I was not expected to review Cursed by Treachery and as always this review is honest.]
The thing I like most about all of Luciana Cavallaro’s short stories is the level of detail she goes into. She doesn’t just rehash the common re-tellings of myths that we’ve all heard here in the Western hemisphere. She actually goes to different source material and tells quite a refreshing version of famous Greek myths. In this story, for example, Medousa is the daughter of Titans. That’s not a detail you find in the more common version of this myth.
All of the short stories in the Accursed Women anthology are unique in the way they’re told. In Cursed by Treachery we see things from Perseus’ viewpoint and that’s interrupted by flashes of Medousa’s life as a Gorgon and her old life as a priestess in Athena’s temple. It’s a fascinating way to tell Medousa’s tragic story and you would think it would be confusing but it isn’t. We slowly learn how Medousa came to be a priestess in Athena’s temple and the horrible events that led to Athena cursing her for something that was hardly her fault.
Was Medousa’s tale my absolute favourite story in the whole anthology? Not really. But it’s a testament to the strength of Luciana Cavallaro’s writing that I still enjoyed it while learning something new. It’s a well-written short story with interesting subject matter and a very interesting ending. What more can you ask for?
I give this short story 5/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
She was created by the gods as a gift to humanity. Then there was the urn.
Pandora, the first woman on Earth, was endowed with many gifts: beauty, intelligence, domesticity, and curiosity. She was at once lover, sympathiser and nurturer. Zeus presented an urn as her wedding dowry. Neither she nor her husband, Epimethos knew what it contained inside, and Hermes, the Messenger, warned them never to open it.
So the story goes… according to Grandpa.
Two precocious children visit their grandfather and beg him to tell a story. It wasn’t ‘on a dark and stormy night’ or ‘once upon a time’ type of story either.
[Full disclosure: Luciana Cavallaro sent me a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.]
Unlike the other two stories about famous Greek women that I’ve read by Luciana Cavallaro, we don’t get to hear Pandora’s story from her own lips. That’s why I was initially a little apprehensive about reading her newest short story, but I was worried over absolutely nothing. Despite hearing a second hand account of her life, Pandora came across as yet another strong woman who was given the short end of the stick in later stories.
Although I’m an avid fan of Greek mythology and have been for many years, I actually learned a lot from Boxed in a Curse. The Pandora myth was never very detailed and I love how Luciana Cavallaro researched for more details as well as added in her own believable ones. Instead of accepting the ‘she was just really curious’ version of events, she delved deeper into the myth and peeled away the theme of ‘women are evil’ that’s found quite a bit in Greek myths. No, Pandora is not evil or just curious. She was a complex woman who really didn’t know how to act in a world full of men but was still intelligent and strong.
Told through the eyes of a grandfather telling his grandchildren the story, we’re really transported back to that ancient time when humanity was new. It doesn’t really feel like we’re being told what’s happening, but rather it’s described very well and the narrator allows us to draw our own conclusions about the ‘moral’ of the story and about Pandora’s character. Does all of the blame for humanity’s ills lie squarely at her feet? Of course not! I don’t want to give too much away, but after reading Boxed in a Curse you’ll definitely have more sympathy for the first woman.
I give this short story 5/5 stars.