Written by Coreena McBurnie
Before reading a word of Prophecy – (Antigone: The True Story, I had trepidations about first-time author Coreena McBurnie’s retelling of the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex through the eyes and voice of Antigone, King Oedipus’ teenage daughter.
After all, Oedipus Rex is a classic. It’s a foundational work of Western civilization and gives us moderns insight into the ancient Greeks. Rewriting a tragedy of this proportion in the context of a YA novel might be overstepping decorum if not sanity.
I needn’t have worried. McBurnie possesses a great respect for the original story and
holds faithfully to all elements of plot, character and setting of the classic tale. However, she adds a few wrinkles to make it enticing for not just a YA market but all readers. It works superbly.
Those dusty Theban values, laws and beliefs are made understandable and credible told through Antigone’s experiences, feelings and sense of betrayal. It also opens the door for more books in the series.
I don’t feel compelled to hold back on any spoilers from the original work. McBurnie lays out Sophocle’s story in a note to readers at the beginning. Let’s face it, one way or another you’ve heard about the Oedipus complex and know the basics of this story, unless you’ve been buried in a pit your entire life.
Confession. I’m a fanatic when it comes to Greek mythology. I’ve read a few books in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and find them amusing but light on the connectivity with the Bullfinch myths and Homeric tales I know and love. Not a criticism of the series but just not what I’m looking for. Riordan would probably note that I’m not part of his demographic anyway.
The genius of Prophecy (Antigone: The True Story) is McBurnie’s understanding that this is an amazing tale. No one has to tart it up to improve it. If YA readers thrive on teenage angst, how can any character suffer more than seeing her life, family, and kingdom torn apart by revelations of incest, parental murder, the suicide of her mother and her father plunging sharp things in his eyes.
Sort of makes losing a boyfriend or the theft of a lightning bolt kind of a yawner.
Where McBurnie takes license and makes the story her own is the detective work and revelations that Antigone can tap timeless powers that even the gods fear.
Antigone leaves Thebes with her disgraced and blinded father for what can only be a life without hope. Or is it? The gods, who she revered and now despises, destroyed everything Antigone loved as if it were a game.
Does Antigone have the ability and moxie to take on the gods? I can’t wait for the next in the series to find out.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Prophecy in exchange for an honest review.