Book Review: The Double Axe (Philip Womack)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Alma

Pages: 242

Release Date: February 26th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Dark forces are at work in the House of the Double Axe. Stephan, the thirteen-year-old son of King Minos of Crete, stumbles across a terrifying conspiracy. Is the Minotaur, a half man half bull who eats human flesh, real? Or is something even more dangerous threatening to engulf both the palace and the world?

Stephan must race to save his family from a terrible fate and find out what really lurks inside the labyrinth…

You think you know the story? Think again.


This is the first book in a new series which aims to retell classic myths from the point of view of teenage protagonists. I love the idea and think it could be a real hit with readers: it’s the kind of thing I would have loved when I was younger. I know one of my favourite books told part of Cleopatra’s story when she was a teenager and I felt more connected to her at that age than in books where she was older.

I love the myth of Theseus and the minotaur, and this was a really interesting take on it. It’s not quite what you expect if you know the story, but enjoyable all the same. The historical setting feels well researched and realistic, while the myth and magical elements are played around with a bit more as Womack puts his own spin on the events.

The sibling relationship between Stephan and Ariadne was really wonderful, and I particularly like Ari as a character – too often in re-tellings like this female characters still take a back seat, but Ari was brilliant: resourceful, brave and smart, just what I wanted her to be. Stephan, our protagonist, was really strong too, and I can imagine him being really relatable for young/teenage readers. He is young but has to deal with the responsibilities of a man, the pressures of being heir to the throne and also saving the palace from a dark conspiracy. It’s not easy being him!

This is a dark and action packed story based on a familiar myth but with its own unique twist. I’m really looking forward to the next installment!


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