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Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

In Arch-Conspirator, Veronica Roth turns the story of Antigone on its head. In doing so, she makes it accessible to a new generation of readers. By changing the setting from ancient Greece to post-apocalyptic Greece, alongside a few other vital tweaks, it also becomes a much more plausible story that is sure to make this ancient tale last even longer.

A month after finishing Arch-Conspirator, I am in awe of what Ms. Roth accomplished in 128 pages. Not only does she tell the main story, but she also builds a brand new Greece, post-apocalyptic and very different. In addition, she has to explain the genetic Archive, its importance to society, and the ramifications behind the characters’ actions or inactions.

Most importantly, she gets us to care about Antigone and her siblings. We understand her rage and sorrow. We detest her uncle as much as she does. And we applaud her efforts to remain autonomous and defiant. The depth of character is astonishing because you don’t expect it in a novella. Yet, we know so much more about Antigone than I ever expected. It is a testament to Ms. Roth’s writing ability that she establishes a genuine connection to these characters within a few short pages.

In Arch-Conspirator, Ms. Roth morphs the ickier elements of the original story into something that makes more sense to modern readers while maintaining the societal impact Oedipus’ marriage has on Antigone and the rest of her family. Such modernization of the Antigone tragedy is what makes Arch-Conspirator so impressive. From the world-building to the character development to staying faithful to the original story speaks volumes about the strength of writing Ms. Roth puts forth. Make sure you add it to your TBR list!

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