50+ Best Greek Mythology Books of All Time [Ranked for 2024]

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Greek mythology is one of the most captivating and influential collections of stories ever to emerge from human history.

It’s where immortal deities and daring heroes take center stage, creating tales that have traveled from ancient campfires to our modern-day bookshelves.

For those who are new to these myths or those longing to revisit the adventures of characters like Odysseus, Athena, and Persephone, the quest for the Best Greek Mythology Books can lead you through an exciting labyrinth of tales and triumphs.

Table of Contents

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

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03/08/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology, Fiction, Greek Mythology

Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, Percy’s life has been a rollercoaster of unexplainable events and school expulsions. But his life takes a fantastic turn when he discovers he’s no ordinary boy—he’s the son of a Greek god, which makes him a demigod.

This revelation thrusts Percy into a world filled with surprises. At Camp Half-Blood, a haven for demigods, he meets other demigods, and together, they embark on a quest to prevent catastrophic war and events.

The story adapts Greek mythology to a contemporary setting, making it educational and entertaining. Percy’s struggles with his identity and challenges as a demigod resonate with the trials every reader faces in their journey of self-discovery.

The book cleverly addresses family, friendship, and loyalty themes, making it a relevant and empowering read for readers.

Humans see what they want to see.

What you might love:

  • The story explores complex family relationships, especially between Percy and his parents.
  • The novel emphasizes the importance of friends and teamwork as Percy embarks on his journey with close companions.
  • Percy Jackson’s character is known for his sharp wit and humor, adding light-hearted and enjoyable elements to the story.

What might not be for everyone:

  • People with strong religious beliefs could disagree with how the series shows gods and myths.
  • The series makes mythological villains more likable, which might bother fans of the original myths.
  • It takes a humorous approach sometimes, possibly weakening the seriousness of some scenes for certain readers.

2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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03/08/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology, LGBT

“The Song of Achilles” is a retelling of the Trojan War, seen through the eyes of Patroclus, a young Greek prince. Patroclus, deemed mediocre by his father, finds his life tangled with Achilles, the son of a sea nymph and a king.

Their bond deepens against the backdrop of the impending Trojan War, with a prophecy looming over Achilles’ heroic destiny and tragic fate. The novel beautifully explores themes of love, destiny, and the human condition, resonating deeply with readers.

What sets this book apart is its focus on the often-overlooked character of Patroclus and its exploration of the Achilles-Patroclus relationship as a deeply intimate and romantic one.

This reinterpretation offers a fresh and emotionally rich perspective on a well-known legend, making it a must-read for those interested in Greek mythology and epic tales of love and war.

He smiled, and his face was like the sun.

What you might love:

  • The book’s poetic language vividly paints the Greek myths.
  • The novel carries readers into a realm of gods and epic heroes with its vivid details.
  • Though set in olden times, the novel’s focus on identity, honor, and human experiences speaks to today’s readers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may view the characters’ bond as too clingy, which can dominate the story.
  • The intense focus on Achilles and Patroclus’s love affair in the novel might overshadow other parts.
  • Miller’s Patroclus differs from “The Iliad,” with less emphasis on fighting skill, which might let down fans of the classic.

3. Circe by Madeline Miller

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03/07/2024 03:45 am GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Greek Mythology, Retellings

Traditionally portrayed as a villainous figure, Circe is portrayed here as a complex and sympathetic character. This novel is a story about finding one’s identity, challenging societal norms, and the enduring power of love and motherhood.

Born into a powerful but unloving family as the daughter of the sun god Helios and a nymph, Circe is scorned and isolated due to her lack of apparent divine qualities. Her journey begins in earnest when she falls in love with a mortal fisherman, Glaucos.

“Circe” is a must-read for anyone interested in Greek mythology and those who enjoy stories of growth and empowerment. It’s a unique blend of myth and reality, making the ancient world accessible and relevant to today’s readers.

He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.

What you might love:

  • Miller’s poetic style paints an immersive, mythical Greek world.
  • The novel tracks Circe’s progress, showing her flaws and power and making her a believable main character.
  • “Circe” examines power and ethics among gods, Titans, and humans, providing deep reflections on these ideas.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The many mythological characters might confuse those new to Greek myths.
  • The book’s old-fashioned language might make it tough for some to follow the story.
  • The novel’s long and complex themes may overwhelm rather than entertain some readers.

4. The Odyssey by Homer

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03/08/2024 05:25 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Fiction, Poetry, Mythology, Fantasy, School Literature

This epic poetry narrates the journey of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, as he strives to return home after the Trojan War. Despite the ten-year war, his journey home takes another decade, filled with various challenges that test his cunning and endurance.

During his absence, Odysseus is presumed dead, and back in Ithaca, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus struggle against a group of unruly suitors vying for Penelope’s hand in marriage.

The action of the poem, although spanning over twenty years, focuses primarily on the final six weeks of Odysseus’s journey. His adventures bring him face-to-face with mythical creatures and divine entities.

What sets “The Odyssey” apart is how it tackles themes like loyalty, perseverance, and the complexities of human nature. It delves into the idea of homecoming, the concept of guest-friendship, and the pivotal role of omens and the gods in the lives of mortals.

A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.

What you might love:

  • The story digs into deep themes like devotion, grit, and fairness, enriching the thrilling plot.
  • “The Odyssey” presents the gods as complex, showing ancient Greek perspectives on the divine and human worlds.
  • It raises thoughts on destiny against choice, divine influence on people, and moral values, adding philosophical richness.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some may find the epic’s violent moments unsettling.
  • The story’s strong male-dominated and sexist setting may trouble readers concerned with gender equality.
  • The idea that gods decide human destiny in the story may clash with contemporary beliefs in personal freedom.

5. Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe — Lore Olympus #1

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03/08/2024 05:26 pm GMT

Genres: Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Comics, Retellings, Fiction

“Lore Olympus” begins at the Panathenaea party in Olympus, where Hades, feeling lonely as the only unmarried one among his brothers, encounters Persephone and immediately catches his attention.

The setting blends the ancient and the contemporary, with characters using mobile phones and driving fast cars. The story navigates themes of love, consent, and relationships with a depth that resonates with a modern audience.

Whether you’re a fan of Greek mythology or just looking for a beautifully illustrated and well-told story, “Lore Olympus” offers a captivating experience. Its portrayal of divine characters with human emotions and problems makes it relatable and engaging.

Hades, all the fine suits in the world won’t change the fact that you stink of death.

What you might love:

  • The story presents deep, flawed gods and goddesses, enriching the tale.
  • It places the Greek gods in today’s world, using cars, phones, and modern talk to make them relatable.
  • The novel reworks the classic Hades and Persephone story with a modern twist, mixing old myths with present-day details.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Mixing modern speech and actions with Greek myth may seem off or fake to some.
  • The story changes the original Persephone and Hades myth, and those who like traditional Greek tales may not enjoy these updates.
  • The comic covers issues like sexual assault, bad relationships, and gaslighting, which, despite careful treatment, could upset some readers.

6. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

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03/08/2024 05:35 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Greek Mythology, Adventure

This book retells Greek mythology from the perspective of Percy Jackson, the beloved demigod son of Poseidon. It offers a fresh and humorous twist on the classic myths, making it an excellent choice for young readers and fans of the series.

In this book, Percy Jackson takes you on a journey through Greek mythology, introducing the major gods and goddesses and their fascinating stories. The book covers many tales, from the gods’ origins to the Olympians’ individual stories.

The story is marked by Percy’s signature sarcastic and irreverent tone, transforming ancient Greek mythology into something modern young readers can enjoy and relate to, making the ancient myths more accessible and entertaining.

“You're already married!" Hera protested. "To me!"
"Curses!" said Zeus. "Er, I mean, of course, dear.”

What you might love:

  • The book dives into Greek mythology, touching on popular gods and obscure tales.
  • Percy Jackson, known for his sharp and funny style, narrates the book, bringing humor and a fresh angle to the Greek myths.
  • Riordan sticks closely to the original myths, making the book a fun and informative read for those interested in Greek mythology.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s emphasis on action and laughs might downplay the original myths’ depth and ethics.
  • Snappy, funny chapter titles like “Hera Gets a Little Cuckoo” and “Zeus Kills Everyone” may feel too casual for the topic.
  • Percy’s casual, often sarcastic storytelling might not suit those who favor a more respectful treatment of the classics.

7. Mythos by Stephen Fry — Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1

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03/08/2024 05:26 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Classics, Historical, Retellings, Short Stories, Greece

The book begins with the universe’s birth, telling tales of original deities like Chaos, Gaia, and Nyx, then advancing to Titans and Olympians, featuring famous and lesser-known Greek mythology characters.

Fry revitalizes these myths with fresh wit, maintaining their classic spirit while making them more enjoyable for today’s readers through lively storytelling.

“Mythos” by Stephen Fry is a must for fans of Greek mythology or anyone wanting a gripping tale. It offers a charming, witty take on these ancient stories, making it a key read for mythology enthusiasts​​.

Gaia visited her daughter Mnemosyne, who was busy being unpronounceable.

What you might love:

  • Fry mixes storytelling with facts, creating a fun and informative read.
  • With his smart wit, Fry delivers an enticing and enjoyable new look at old myths.
  • The book spans Greek myths from the cosmos’s birth to tales of Olympian gods and renowned heroes.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s casual language might clash with what readers wanting formality expect.
  • “Mythos” doesn’t include all well-known myths, which may let down those looking for a complete anthology.
  • Some might find Fry’s handling of sensitive themes like abduction and rape lacking, as he doesn’t always discuss their effects on victims.

8. Heroes by Stephen Fry — Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #2

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03/08/2024 05:26 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, History, Greek Mythology, Classics, Historical

“Heroes” delves into the lives and adventures of iconic figures like Perseus, Hercules, Bellerophon, Orpheus, Jason, Atalanta, Oedipus, and Theseus. The book breathes new life into them, making them relevant and relatable to the modern reader.

But it’s not just about their triumphs; The book also explores the personal struggles and tragedies that shape these characters, highlighting their humanity amidst their legendary status.

What sets “Heroes” apart is its focus on the familiar and lesser-known aspects of these myths and the author’s unique voice. His writing is infused with wit, humor, and a deep understanding of simplifying these myths without losing their essence.

This book is a perfect introduction for those new to Greek mythology while offering fresh insights for those who are already fans.

In a fight, do not do what you want to do, but what you judge your enemy least wants you to.

What you might love:

  • The book doubles as a fun way to learn about Greek myths, mixing knowledge with pleasure.
  • Fry uses epic stories to show different sides of human nature, connecting the reader to the characters’ lives.
  • He offers unique takes on each hero, showing their special qualities and adventures, enriching well-known stories.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Fry’s modern dialogue and current jokes may not suit fans of old-fashioned storytelling.
  • Though the footnotes are packed with details, they might disrupt the story’s rhythm for some.
  • Focusing on individual heroes instead of a straight timeline could confuse those who like straightforward storytelling.

9. Mythology by Edith Hamilton

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Non-fiction, History, Reference, Greek Mythology, Religion

“Mythology” introduces readers to Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology stories. The author explains how the world began according to Greek and Roman beliefs, introducing the main gods like Zeus and Hera and how humans came into being.

The book is divided into parts that cover different types of myths—from the early gods and heroes like Hercules and Perseus to the famous Trojan War with Achilles and Odysseus.

The book combines different stories from old texts to make a complete picture of these myths. It’s great for anyone who wants to learn about classic myths that have influenced Western culture and shaped our world.

The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat.

What you might love:

  • The book shows how myths evolved from ancient times to reflect shifting social values.
  • Hamilton combines scholarly detail with compelling stories, balancing expertise with narrative.
  • The book celebrates mythology’s literary heritage, sparking the imagination and teaching about humanity.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Hamilton briefly covers Norse myths, which may leave those wanting depth a bit wanting.
  • The book sometimes idealizes Greek culture, missing out on its irrational and dark sides essential for a full picture.
  • Hamilton edits out the more violent or sexual content to suit young readers, which might seem like a softening of the myths’ raw power and intricacy.

10. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Children, Fiction, Fantasy, Picture Books, Greek Mythology

“D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths” covers many mythological characters, including gods, goddesses, nymphs, satyrs, centaurs, and demigods, each depicted with moving, laughing faces that captivate the reader’s imagination.

The stories are rich in detail, covering themes of love and war, murder and revenge, and the complex relationships between mortals and gods.

What sets this book apart is its approach to storytelling. The d’Aulaires infused the retellings of the story with a sense of fun and excitement. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Greek mythology, especially young readers beginning their journey.

What you might love:

  • The book has inspired readers to explore writing and art for generations.
  • Its clear language and style make Greek mythology approachable for young readers.
  • The d’Aulaires’ vivid art breathes life into the myths, enchanting with its visual appeal.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The complex family relationships of the gods can be challenging to follow.
  • Simplifying myths for children might disappoint those wanting detailed exploration.
  • The focus is primarily on major myths, potentially omitting lesser-known but equally intriguing stories.

11. Troy by Stephen Fry — Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #3

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: History, Greek Mythology, Non-fiction, Classics, Historical

“Troy” begins with the kidnapping of Helen, celebrated for her beauty, which leads to the Greeks launching a thousand ships against Troy. The war, instigated by a decision made by the Trojan prince Paris under the guidance of Zeus, unfolds over ten years.

The book’s retelling reveals the human passions and monstrous actions that mark this ancient war, highlighting themes of heroism, hatred, revenge, and despair.

The story is about the larger-than-life characters like Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, and Helen and the human emotions and motivations that drive them.

Whether you are a fan of Greek myths or new to these stories, “Troy” is a captivating read that brings the epic tale to life in a way that resonates with contemporary audiences.

You may be gold, and we poor ordinary men may be of bronze, but ask any soldier out there which metal they'd rather have for a sword blae or a spearpoint.

What you might love:

  • It explores human cruelty, prompting deep reflection.
  • The book provides notes, appendices, a character list, and a map to help readers understand Greek mythology.
  • Fry presents a fresh version of the Trojan War that stays faithful to the classic, drawing in novices and fans alike.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Dark jokes in a serious tale might seem inappropriate to some.
  • The book’s footnotes and glossaries may distract those who prefer a direct story.
  • The author’s mix of modern talk and old settings may not suit all tastes, as the clash of tones can seem uneven.

12. The Iliad by Homer

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Poetry, Fiction, Mythology, Literature, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The Iliad recounts the pivotal moments of the Trojan War beginning in the ninth year of the war, sparked by Paris of Troy’s abduction of Helen, the wife of the Achaean king Menelaus.

Central to the narrative is a dispute between Agamemnon, and his best warrior, Achilles. The poem vividly portrays the brutality and heroism of war, with the Achaeans struggling against the Trojans, led by their prince Hector.

The Iliad delves into the themes of the glory of war, the impermanence of human life, and the influence of fate. Its detailed descriptions of battle tactics, the roles of gods, and the portrayal of human emotions make it a foundational text in culture and literature.

…There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible—magic to make the sanest man go mad.

What you might love:

  • Vivid combat fills “The Iliad,” capturing the thrills of ancient battles.
  • The story examines honor, bravery, and human nature, echoing through time.
  • Achilles, Hector, and Agamemnon are richly portrayed, blending valor and imperfections.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Gods often meddle in the plot, which could clash with the taste for realism.
  • Achilles shows intense feelings and strict honor in ways modern readers might find over the top.
  • Women in “The Iliad” play minor parts, often as rewards or symbols, which might displease a modern audience.

13. Theogony, Works and Days by Hesiod

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Poetry, History, Philosophy, Ancient, Classics, Greek Mythology

Theogony delves into the Greek gods’ genealogy, tracing the universe’s origins from the primordial beings to the rise of Zeus as the supreme deity. The poem begins with Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses, who inspire him to tell the story of the gods.

Works and Days, however, focuses on the human experience and the hard truths of life. Hesiod uses the framework of a dispute with his brother Perses over inheritance to dispense advice on farming, justice, and personal conduct.

These works blend cosmic mythology with practical wisdom. Theogony offers a foundational understanding of Greek mythological cosmogony and theology, while Works and Days provides a glimpse into the daily lives and moral outlook of ancient Greeks.

These texts are indispensable for any enthusiast of Greek mythology or anyone interested in ancient Greece’s cultural and philosophical underpinnings. They provide a window into the mindset of an ancient civilization, making them timeless classics.

But he who neither thinks for himself nor learns from others, is a failure as a man.

What you might love:

  • “Works and Days” offers justice, diligence, and virtue advice.
  • The texts offer insight into ancient Greek beliefs about the world’s start and the divine.
  • “Theogony” charts the cosmos’s birth and the lineage of gods and mythical creatures, essential for Greek myth knowledge.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It delves deeply into Greek farming life, a topic that might not captivate everyone.
  • The texts’ ancient Greek values, especially on gender and society, could appear old-fashioned or troubling to contemporary readers.
  • “Works and Days” resembles a manual with tips on farming, sailing, and society, which may not entertain those wanting a story or poetry.

14. Greek Mythology by Liv Albert

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Greek Mythology, History, Adult, Reference

This book condenses the complicated web of Greek mythological tales into an easily digestible format. The author handpicks standout stories for over 60 characters from the Greek mythological pantheon.

It includes stories from the well-known Olympians and other significant figures such as Heracles and Perseus, as well as lesser-known characters like Atalanta and Phaethon. This variety ensures that both popular and obscure myths receive their due attention.

One of the book’s unique features is its focus on contextualizing these ancient stories for modern audiences. Albert does not shy away from the more problematic aspects of these myths, such as misogyny and sexual assault, often glossed over in earlier interpretations.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in Greek mythology, whether they are newcomers or seasoned enthusiasts, offering a blend of entertainment, insight, and a touch of humor.

The gods had some very strange ways of making mortals immortal or invulnerable.

What you might love:

  • Its organization by character types simplifies searching for particular tales or figures.
  • Albert examines various takes on these myths, revealing the characters’ diverse facets.
  • The book is a handy tool for anyone studying Greek mythology, academically or casually.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The author mixes modern views with myths, which may not please traditionalists.
  • The book’s division into gods, deities, and heroes may not suit readers who prefer other content structures.
  • Some may find the book’s treatment of Greek myths’ darker themes, like sexism and assault, lacking depth or sensitivity.

15. The Greek Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides

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03/08/2024 05:36 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Plays, Fiction, Greek Mythology, Drama, Literature

“The Greek Plays” is an anthology that brings together sixteen masterpieces of Greek drama by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. This collection features new translations that make these ancient texts accessible to a modern audience.

The plays included are some of the most celebrated in the Greek canon, such as “Agamemnon,” “Prometheus Bound,” “Bacchae,” “Electra,” “Medea,” “Antigone,” and “Oedipus the King.”

This anthology is a must-read because it revives the original spirit of these timeless plays and demonstrates their enduring influence on literature and culture. The translations breathed new life into the texts, making this an invaluable read.

Old age that’s quick to learn is always young.

What you might love:

  • Introductions and notes explain and give background to each play.
  • The plays have deeply shaped Western culture, showing their long-standing influence.
  • They explore themes like human behavior, ethics, and life’s realities, enduring through time.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The complex language of Greek plays may deter some modern readers.
  • Greek tragedies center on suffering, destiny, and divine anger, potentially overwhelming some.
  • Their ancient settings can make it hard for today’s audience to relate to the stories and characters.

16. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker — Women of Troy #1

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03/08/2024 05:45 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Fantasy, Historical, Retellings

The story follows Briseis, who was given to Achilles as a war prize, forcing her into a life of servitude and sexual exploitation as she navigates her complex relationship with him and the other Greek warriors, including Patroclus and Agamemnon.

The book depicts the harsh realities of war and its impact on women, challenging the glorified narratives often associated with the Iliad.

It presents the Trojan War not as a heroic endeavor but as a violent conflict driven by the egos and reputations of powerful men, with devastating effects on the lives of women and the innocent—making it a powerful narrative that gives voice to the silenced.

Decades after the last man who fought at Troy is dead, their sons will remember the songs their Trojan mothers sang to them. We’ll be in their dreams–and in their worst nightmares too.

What you might love:

  • It gives a detailed view of ancient cultures and practices through vivid descriptions.
  • The book examines how war affects women, highlighting the themes of grief, endurance, and strength.
  • Figures like Briseis are depicted with richness and detail, offering insight into their feelings and experiences.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Graphic scenes of violence and sex in the book could upset some readers.
  • Some might think characters, such as Achilles, need more depth.
  • Despite focusing on Trojan War women, the novel might still place female characters behind the men for some readers.

17. Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis

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03/08/2024 05:45 pm GMT

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Classics, Christian, Religion, Christianity, Mythology

“Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold” offers a retelling of the ancient myth of Cupid and Psyche. Unlike traditional adaptations, this novel is narrated from the perspective of Orual, Psyche’s often-overlooked, ugly older sister.

Her evolution throughout the novel reflects a journey towards self-understanding and acknowledging her flaws. This path to self-realization culminates in a series of visions, leading Orual to a deeper understanding of the gods and herself.

This novel is a must-read for those interested in a deeper, more introspective take on classical myths and an exploration of human nature, love, and the divine.

“Are the gods not just?"
"Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?”

What you might love:

  • Orual’s growth from bitterness to insight is key to the story.
  • The novel explores love in its giving and greedy forms and the sacrifices it requires.
  • The book prompts deep thought on godliness, human pain, and the search for truth.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its focus on character psychology and self-examination might not suit action-lovers.
  • The book’s intense examination of love, treachery, and godliness could be too much for some.
  • The novel’s Christian symbolism may not attract those who favor non-religious or classic fantasy tales.

18. Metamorphoses by Ovid

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03/08/2024 05:46 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Poetry, Mythology, Fiction, Literature, Fantasy, Ancient

“Metamorphoses” retold a series of Greek and Roman mythology narratives, highlighting the theme of transformation. It’s a collection rich in myths and legends; each story revolves around the concept of metamorphosis, a change in form or nature.

The narrative begins with the world’s creation, emerging from a state of chaos into an ordered existence. Ovid recounts over 250 myths, each presenting a unique transformation.

It is a masterpiece that has inspired countless works of art, literature, and even modern media. Its themes of transformation resonate deeply with human experiences, making the book timeless and relevant across ages.

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
(everything changes, nothing perishes.)

What you might love:

  • The story collection offers romance, adventure, or tragedy for every type of reader.
  • Transformation, driven by love or desire, turns characters into new forms at the core of these tales.
  • The poem dissects control, rebellion, affection, and mistreatment, revealing their impact on life.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Graphic scenes of violence and change in the poem may unsettle some.
  • Its mix of genres and styles could puzzle those expecting a typical narrative.
  • The poem’s depiction of women and power might clash with today’s views, mirroring past norms.

19. Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast — Goddess Summoning #2

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03/08/2024 05:46 pm GMT

Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal, Magic

The protagonist, Lina, struggles to keep her bakery in Tulsa afloat. Her discovery of an Italian Goddess cookbook seems like a stroke of luck, leading her to summon a goddess to save her business.

However, things take a fantastical turn when she finds herself in a soul exchange with Persephone, the Goddess of Spring. In Persephone’s form, Lina is tasked with bringing spring to a world of spirits.

This journey takes her to the Underworld, where she encounters the dark and brooding Lord of the Underworld, Hades. The novel explores the evolving relationship between Lina and Hades, challenging the reader’s perceptions of love and destiny in a mystical realm.

What sets “Goddess of Spring” apart is its clever subversion of the traditional Persephone myth. It reimagines this classic tale with a matriarchal slant, offering a fresh and empowering perspective showcasing the strength of its female characters.

Ultimately, the body is just a shell; it is the soul which defines the man or woman, god or goddess.

What you might love:

  • The story highlights women’s empowerment, with Lina finding her power as a goddess.
  • “Goddess of Spring” is part of a series but stands alone, welcoming new readers without requiring sequence reading.
  • The character of Lina, a 43-year-old baker, is relatable and inspiring, particularly for her independence and determination.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s take on Greek myths may differ from what fans of the originals expect.
  • Its modern version of the Persephone and Hades tale may not please fans of classic myth tellings.
  • While many value the deep character development, others may see it lacking depth or authenticity.

20. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Retellings

“A Thousand Ships” is a reimagining of the Trojan War, told through the eyes of its women. This novel retells the legendary war exploring the experiences and impacts of the conflict on mortal and immortal women.

Framed by Calliope, the story unfolds as a series of vignettes narrating the lives and struggles of various women connected to the Trojan War. It features characters like Creusa, Penelope, and Laodamia—Greek women who were left behind.

Its focus on the female characters brings them to the forefront, giving voice to their stories and experiences. It beautifully balances the personal and the epic, offering a fresh lens on a familiar story.

When a war was ended, the men lost their lives. But the women lost everything else.

What you might love:

  • It explores themes of strength, resilience, and empowerment in the face of adversity.
  • The book features various women, from goddesses to average figures, each with their own tale.
  • Set in the past, the novel covers timeless topics like conflict, grief, effort, and sisterly bonds, connecting with today’s readers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The many briefly mentioned characters could perplex or daunt those not well-versed in Greek myths.
  • Knowing Greek epics can make the book more pleasing; some readers might be confused without it.
  • Readers who know modern Greek myth retellings might compare them, influencing their view of this book.

21. Treasure Of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli

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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Greek Mythology, Folklore, History, Classics, Reference

In this book, you’ll journey through the ancient Greek pantheon, meeting deities and demigods whose stories have shaped Western culture. From Zeus to Hera, and from the 12 labors of Hercules to the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The book also delves into the stories of legendary heroes and mythical monsters—tales of bravery, betrayal, love, and loss that have been passed down through generations.

The stories featured are also meticulously researched, ensuring that while the stories are accessible, they stay true to their roots. You’ll gain insights into these myths’ cultural and historical context, adding depth to your understanding.

What you might love:

  • The novel presents classic myths from a women-focused viewpoint.
  • It examines war’s impact, especially on women, covering aspects such as bravery, treachery, and revenge.
  • Despite its ancient setting, “A Thousand Ships” reflects current issues, thus relevant for the modern reader.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It may lack sufficient historical and cultural context about ancient Greece for those seeking deeper insight.
  • Due to its young target audience, the book might simplify or soften darker, complex themes in Greek mythology.
  • For readers already well-versed in Greek mythology, the stories in this book might feel repetitive or overly familiar.

22. Helen of Troy by Bettany Hughes

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03/08/2024 07:26 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Mythology, Biography, Ancient History

Often labeled the face that launched a thousand ships, Hughes delves deep into the life and legend of Helen, presenting her not just as a mythical figure but as a real woman whose story resonates through history.

From her divine origins to her abduction and the famous incident that sparked the Trojan War. The book details historical, archaeological, and literary evidence to reconstruct the life of a woman who has often been reduced to a mere symbol of beauty and desire.

The book delves into the societal and cultural conditions of ancient Greece, offering insights into the roles and perceptions of women at the time, ensuring that Helen’s story isn’t just remembered but deeply understood.

What you might love:

  • It studies Helen’s lasting influence on artists and writers across history, underlining her continued impact on literature and art.
  • Thanks to its vibrant and engaging narrative, the book immerses readers in ancient Greece, North Africa, and Asia Minor realms.
  • Hughes uses her broad knowledge, referencing sources like Homer, Euripides, and modern poets, to delve deeply into Helen’s story.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s questioning of Helen’s reality could divide readers with firm views.
  • It proposes Helen might have been a historical figure, possibly conflicting with the views of those considering her purely mythical.
  • Despite commendable control and narrative flow, managing complex content may still be tough for readers without historical context understanding.

23. Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes

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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Greek Mythology, History, Feminism, Retellings

In “Pandora’s Jar,” you’ll find the tales of Medea, Jocasta, Helen, and Pandora, among others, presented in a new light.

This book focuses on understanding these women as complex characters, each with motivations, strengths, and vulnerabilities, rather than mere footnotes or moral lessons in the sagas of heroes and gods.

For anyone who loves Greek mythology or is interested in the representation of women in literature, “Pandora’s Jar” is a book you shouldn’t miss. It’s a thought-provoking, enlightening read that offers a fresh take on some of the most famous stories ever told.

And if history has taught us anything, it is that women making a noise—whether speaking or shouting—tend to be viewed as intrinsically disruptive.

What you might love:

  • It questions standard interpretations of Greek myths, prompting readers to rethink their knowledge of these tales and women’s roles.
  • The book attempts to restore and empower Greek mythological women, showcasing them as key figures with unique stories and influence.
  • The book, merging in-depth research and an engaging writing style, is a reliable academic reference and a pleasant read for the general public.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It explores different myth versions, including complex and opposing ones, potentially puzzling readers seeking direct narratives.
  • Its primary focus on retelling myths from women’s viewpoints might not attract readers who prefer traditional male-centric stories.
  • The book’s intensive study of linguistic nuances and translation challenges in Greek mythology might overwhelm readers uninterested in these details.

24. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Fiction, Historical, Retellings

The book follows the life of Ariadne, from her early life in Crete, under the shadow of the Minotaur, through her fateful meeting with Theseus, including her marriage to the god Dionysus, offering a comprehensive look at her trials, triumphs, and transformations.

What sets “Ariadne” apart is its focus on the female perspective, a rarity in the traditional telling of Greek myths. The book delves deep into Ariadne’s emotions and experiences and those of other women in the narrative, including her sister Phaedra.

This approach offers a refreshing and necessary female-centric view of a story that, for too long, has been dominated by the deeds and desires of male heroes.

I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make me doubt the value of myself.

What you might love:

  • Despite its deep roots in Greek mythology, the book’s accessible writing style makes it a great beginner’s guide to this genre.
  • The book intensely explores characters, especially women like Medusa and Phaedra, adding depth to these well-known figures.
  • Avoiding black-and-white morality, the book presents a more intricate understanding of the characters’ actions and motivations.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may view the novel’s reinterpretation of mythological elements as too radical or lacking respect for the original material.
  • Depending on their attachment to classic tales, readers familiar with Greek myths may find Saint’s differing narratives refreshing or disturbing.
  • The book’s emotional depth, exploring characters’ pain and suffering, could be overwhelming for readers seeking a lighter or more escapist read.

25. Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

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03/08/2024 06:10 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Fiction, Retellings, Historical

Clytemnestra, traditionally portrayed as a vengeful wife and mother, the novel presents her in a new light, from her early years to her marriage to Agamemnon, delving deep into her struggles, motivations, triumphs, and wounds inflicted upon her by war and people.

The story also portrays her complex relationship with her husband, her role as a mother, and her ultimate decision to take revenge for the sacrifice of her daughter, Iphigenia.

It’s a tale of power, betrayal, and the resilience of a woman in a world dominated by male heroes and gods. The novel invites you to empathize with Clytemnestra, understanding her not just as a figure of myth but as a real, multifaceted woman.

Kings and heroes drop like flies, but queens outlive them all.

What you might love:

  • Even though the novel is based on popular myths, its storytelling is captivating, with a driving narrative that keeps readers hooked.
  • The novel centers on female anger, depicting Clytemnestra as ambitious and resilient, using personal tragedies to grow robust and gain control.
  • It combines multiple narratives into a linear story focused on Clytemnestra, boosting her from a secondary character to the main character of her tale.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Despite enhancing the story, the numerous side characters and subplots might divert some readers from the main plot.
  • The book’s pace and structure, highlighting important moments in Clytemnestra’s life, may not suit readers preferring a straightforward narrative.
  • Substantial time jumps in the story might give the impression of off-page character development, possibly detaching readers from the plot evolution.

26. The Greek Myths by Robert Graves

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Non-fiction, History, Greek Mythology, Reference, Greece

This book catalogs many of the Greek myths, from the well-known tales of Olympus to the lesser-known stories. You’ll find detailed accounts of heroes like Hercules and Perseus, gods such as Zeus and Apollo, and many other mythical figures.

“The Greek Myths” examines the stories through the lenses of history, archaeology, and anthropology. Graves provides context and commentary, offering insights into how these myths reflected and influenced the life and thoughts of the ancient Greeks.

This book is an essential reading for anyone interested in Greek mythology, history, or literature, whether you’re a casual reader seeking to explore these timeless stories or a student looking for a comprehensive guide to the myths of ancient Greece.

Yet myths, though difficult to reconcile with chronology, are always practical: they insist on some point of tradition, however distorted the meaning may have become in the telling.

What you might love:

  • The book encompasses a range of myths, from popular to obscure tales.
  • Its imaginative and poetic recreations of myths offer a unique take on these old stories and are widely applauded.
  • The book’s varied reception during and post-Graves’s lifetime underlines differing opinions on his Greek mythology representation and is worth noting.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It may not match the latest classical research, troubling those who want current scholarly views.
  • This book could serve better as a reference for myth-knowledgeable readers than as a starter for beginners.
  • The novel’s long name lists and thorough details might overwhelm those who prefer a story-focused, lighter myth retelling.

27. The Gods and Goddesses of Greece and Rome by Philip Matyszak

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03/08/2024 06:10 pm GMT

Genres: Mythology, History, Non-fiction

In this book, you’ll meet various gods and goddesses, each with unique stories, powers, and personalities. From Zeus to Athena and Roman Jupiter to Demeter, the book brings these characters to life with vivid descriptions and intriguing details.

The book also delves into how these myths have influenced art, culture, and religion throughout history, providing a broader understanding of their lasting impact. You’ll learn how their stories have shaped human thought and expression over millennia.

“The Gods & Goddesses of Greece & Rome” is an informative guide that introduces you to the world of classical mythology—making ancient myths accessible and enjoyable for all readers, whether you’re a mythology buff or a newcomer to the subject.

What you might love:

  • It also examines how these myths have influenced art, writing, and culture for ages.
  • It includes various myths, from the universe’s birth to epic battles, featuring famous and obscure stories.
  • The book’s clear format and style cater to everyone, from casual to dedicated mythology and history enthusiasts.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book focuses on major gods, possibly overlooking minor deities for interested readers.
  • Mixing old art with new interpretations may not satisfy everyone, particularly purists or modernists.
  • The book links old gods to today’s world, which might not suit those who only want ancient context.

28. Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece by Gustav Schwab

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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, History, Non-fiction, Greek Mythology, Literature Religion

In this book, you will journey through the timeless stories of Olympus, beginning with the creation of the world and moving through the age of gods and the heroic age, narrating the fabled tales of Hercules, Perseus, Theseus, and the Trojan War.

“Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece” encompasses the breadth and depth of Greek mythology, offering you a panoramic view of a world where gods and mortals intersect in tales of heroism, treachery, love, and revenge.

This book is essential for anyone interested in mythology, history, or literature. The myths are presented in a way that is engaging and easy to understand, making it suitable for readers of all ages.

What you might love:

  • The book spans many Greek myths, offering a thorough view of ancient Greek legends.
  • Greek myths’ themes and stories have an enduring appeal, always relevant and engaging.
  • Many tales contain underlying moral and philosophical messages that are as relevant today as they were in ancient times.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some might find the portrayal of female characters outdated or problematic.
  • The black-and-white illustrations might not appeal to those who prefer modern, colorful artwork.
  • The book reflects the 19th-century perspective, which might not align with contemporary views on mythology.

29. Lore by Alexandra Bracken

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Greek Mythology, Fiction, Retellings

Set in the gritty backdrop of New York City, “Lore” revolves around the life of Melora “Lore” Perseous, a young woman who’s left behind the brutal world of ancient gods and hunters.

When Athena, one of the last original gods, offers Lore a chance to avenge her family’s death and reclaim her heritage, she is drawn back into the violent, treacherous world she thought she’d left behind.

What sets “Lore” apart is its innovative concept of blending classical mythology with a high-stakes, contemporary urban setting while delving deeply into themes of power, legacy, and choice that will surely resonate with many readers.

Scars are tallies of the battles you’ve survived.

What you might love:

  • The story blends New York City’s dynamic setting with old myths, making an exciting scene.
  • “Found family” is a key theme, giving warmth and familiarity to the relationships in the story.
  • It delves into meaty themes of revenge and fairness, appealing to those who like intricate moral tales.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It has intense scenes involving child death and assault attempts, which could disturb or repel some.
  • Some might think there’s less combat in the book than anticipated, despite its focus on death and rivalry.
  • Flashbacks break the narrative flow, which might irk those who favor a straight, evenly-paced story.

30. The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault — Theseus #2

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Greek Mythology

In this novel, Theseus navigates the complexities of love, power, and leadership. The book details his battles against gods and men, his passionate romances, and his profound struggles with destiny and duty, highlighting his internal challenges as a leader.

One of the most compelling aspects of “The Bull from the Sea” is its exploration of Theseus as more than a mythic figure; the book portrays him as a deeply human character with all the virtues and flaws that come with it.

“The Bull from the Sea” balances action and introspection and will transport you to another time and place, making it a compelling read for anyone interested in Greek mythology and historical fiction.

It is the mark of little men to like only what they know; one step beyond, and they feel the black cold of chaos.

What you might love:

  • The book sheds light on ancient Greek society, adding depth to the read.
  • The novel delves into themes such as duty, love, and sacrifice, offering much for readers to ponder.
  • Theseus is portrayed as a complex character, giving readers a deeper understanding of his motivations and challenges.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s portrayal of women reflects its ancient setting, which might clash with today’s views.
  • Theseus, often hot-tempered and harsh, especially toward women, might not win all readers’ sympathy.
  • Starting the book can be tough without reading the series’ first installment, “The King Must Die,” as it may cause confusion.

31. The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Non-fiction, Greek Mythology, History, Ancient

“The Library of Greek Mythology” covers an extensive range of stories, from the creation of the universe to the tales of the Trojan War, offering a complete guide to the gods, heroes, and mythical narratives of ancient Greece.

Originally attributed to Apollodorus of Athens, a student of Aristarchus, the book has gone through a history of preservation, including near loss and rediscovery, and has been a crucial source for classicists since its compilation.

What makes “The Library of Greek Mythology” unique is its status as the only work of its kind to have survived from classical antiquity, offering a unique window into the myths and legends of ancient Greece that influenced writers and scholars throughout history.

What you might love:

  • Its organized structure makes navigating various myths and legends easier for readers.
  • This work is the only one of its kind to have survived from classical antiquity, adding to its historical and cultural value.
  • It offers detailed accounts of Greek myths, covering various stories from the universe’s origins to the Trojan War.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book draws mostly on previous sources and lacks new content.
  • The organization of family trees can be intricate and hard to keep track of for some.
  • It’s structured like an encyclopedia, potentially not appealing to those seeking a narrative style.

32. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche by Apuleius

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Romance, Fiction, Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Short Stories

The story revolves around Psyche, a mortal woman whose beauty made the goddess of love, Venus, jealous. Venus then commands her son Cupid to punish Psyche by making her fall in love with a hideous creature.

However, in a twist of fate, Cupid himself falls in love with Psyche and takes her as his wife but forbids her from seeing him. Despite Cupid’s warnings, she looks upon her husband’s face, only to cause his departure.

Psyche’s journey becomes one of trials as she seeks to regain Cupid’s love, facing challenges set by Venus. Her journey from a naive girl to a figure of divine stature is a tale of growth and redemption, making it a timeless story that resonates with readers.

Its blend of divine intervention, mortal struggle, and the triumph of love over adversity makes it a standout narrative in Greek mythology and a captivating read.

There lay the gentlest and sweetest of all wild creatures, Cupid himself, the beautiful Love-god, and at sight of him the flame of the lamp spurted joyfully up and the knife turned its edge for shame.

What you might love:

  • Its tale-within-a-tale setup deepens and enriches the plot, captivating readers more.
  • It touches on love, treachery, salvation, and the search for real affection, themes that strike a chord with many.
  • The story contains symbols about love and the spirit, seen as a soul’s quest for eternity and joining with the divine.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Gods in the story act almost comically, unlike their usual mythic roles.
  • It weaves in heavy philosophy, like Plato’s and Epicurus’s ideas, which could stump those unfamiliar.
  • Psyche’s initial naivety and struggle to keep her husband a secret from her sisters may annoy some readers.

33. The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault

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03/08/2024 06:20 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBT, Classics, Greek Mythology

The story follows the life of Alexias, a young Athenian noble known for his athletic abilities and beauty. Alexias faces a challenging childhood, losing his mother at birth and narrowly escaping being exposed to the elements by his father.

The novel explores his relationships with Lysis, a student of Socrates, who becomes both his lover and a father figure. This relationship defies the Athenian norms where the older erastes should pursue the younger eromenos, causing a stir in their community.

“The Last of the Wine” is an authentic and tender portrayal of homosexuality in ancient Greece, set against a historical backdrop exploring themes of love, honor, loyalty, and the pursuit of beauty and goodness, as inspired by Socratic philosophy.

The novel challenges readers to consider the ideals that drive societies and individuals and the personal and political struggles that define our humanity.

We shall either find what we are seeking, or free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.

What you might love:

  • Socratic notions of virtue, beauty, and truth play a key role, enriching the story’s backdrop.
  • The book explores Greek life, covering events, athletics, military practices, and wedding traditions.
  • It was among the first novels to focus on male homosexuality, depicting it sensitively within ancient Greek norms.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It delves into serious moral themes, including power and its misuse, which might be too complex or vague for some.
  • Its concentration on philosophical conversations, mainly Socratic thought, may not capture readers who are uninterested in philosophy.
  • The novel’s pioneering depiction of ancient Greek same-sex relationships may seem old-fashioned to those with modern LGBTQ+ perspectives.

34. The King Must Die by Mary Renault — Theseus #1

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Classics

This historical novel is narrated by an aged Theseus, reflecting on the significant events of his life, starting from his childhood in Troizen under the guardianship of his grandfather, King Pittheus.

The story is rich with details of ancient Greek culture and rituals, including a poignant scene of Theseus witnessing the ritualistic slaughter of a horse, symbolizing the sacrifice kings must be prepared to make for their people.

What sets “The King Must Die” apart is its blend of historical fact and mythological fiction, creating a story and providing insightful commentary on the mores and cultural practices of Classical Greece, making it an enlightening and entertaining read.

A man is at his youngest when he thinks he is a man, not yet realizing that his actions must show it.

What you might love:

  • The book examines Greek life, women’s roles, and the importance of training for young men.
  • The story considers fate, governance, and the burdens of power, appealing to those drawn to such ideas.
  • It depicts Theseus as a detailed and nuanced character, focusing on his abilities, weaknesses, and fate.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel graphically displays past violence and sacrifices, potentially disturbing some.
  • Its representation of women, true to the era, may disappoint those seeking stronger female characters.
  • Theseus’ manipulative and tactical ways of tackling obstacles might unsettle readers with moral concerns.

35. Helen of Troy by Margaret George

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Romance, Fantasy

“Helen of Troy” is a reinvention of the legendary tale from Homer’s Iliad, but with a unique twist—it’s narrated from Helen’s perspective. This approach brings a fresh lens to a well-known story and humanizes Helen, transforming her into a relatable character.

In this version, Helen’s life is explored, from her extraordinary birth as the daughter of Zeus and the human Queen of Sparta, Leda, to her upbringing in a royal household where her beauty is both a blessing and a curse.

The central event of the story is, of course, her love affair with Paris, the prince of Troy, which ignites the Trojan War. The novel does not shy away from painting the brutal aspects of the war through Helen’s eyes.

Through this book, Helen’s story becomes more than just a tale of war and beauty; it’s a journey through a life filled with innocence, horror, peace, and chaos, making “Helen of Troy” not to be missed by readers.

Some things can be recovered. Some things can be restored. But some lost things, we seek forever.

What you might love:

  • The novel realistically retells Helen of Troy’s saga, mixing real elements with myth attractively.
  • It brings ancient Greece to life with sharp descriptions of its scenery, buildings, and traditions.
  • Helen narrates her story in the first person, drawing readers deep into her persona and offering a personal perspective on the legendary events​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Plot techniques to spotlight Helen in key “Iliad” events could seem forced to some readers.
  • Character renditions of Achilles and Paris might clash with traditional images, potentially troubling myth purists.
  • Some readers might find the novel lacking emotional depth, especially in the latter parts that cover Helen’s life after the fall of Troy​.

36. The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

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03/08/2024 06:11 pm GMT

Genres: Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Fantasy

Jocasta, known for being Oedipus’s mother and wife, is depicted here as a young girl forced into marriage with the King of Thebes, a stranger much older than her. Her narrative delves into her life challenges and her limited choices due to circumstances.

On the other hand, Ismene, known as the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, experiences a traumatic event within the palace walls, setting off a chain of events that redefines the family’s fate.

The novel shines a light on these two characters, exploring their inner lives, struggles, and the societal constraints they navigate. It reexamines the classic myths through their perspectives, offering a familiar and strikingly new narrative.

This approach allows the reader to see beyond the traditional tales of fate and tragedy, focusing instead on Jocasta and Ismene’s personal and emotional journeys and making it an essential read for those interested in Greek mythology and feminist reinterpretations.

Jocasta had never enjoyed being married to her husband more than at his funeral.

What you might love:

  • The novel empowers its female characters, unlike in traditional tales.
  • It delves into destiny, kinship, and authority, triggering deeper thought.
  • It connects Jocasta and Ismene’s lives, offering a parallel connection between women’s experiences across generations..

What might not be for everyone:

  • The descriptive writing style may slow down readers who prefer quick-paced stories.
  • The book’s feminist angle might conflict with traditional takes on these age-old tales.
  • The new spins on famous characters like Achilles and Paris could clash with fans’ usual views.

37. The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

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03/08/2024 06:20 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Mythology, Fantasy

Diana Morgan, an Oxford lecturer, and Greek mythology expert influenced by her grandmother’s claims of being an Amazon herself, leads her on a journey across Europe in search of a league of secret sisters guarding a treasure since the Trojan War.

The story alternates between Diana’s modern-day adventure and the Bronze Age tale of Myrina and her sister Lilli. Myrina, a trained hunter, becomes a key figure in the history of the Trojan War, showcasing her bravery and leadership.

“The Lost Sisterhood” blends archaeology, mythology, and modern adventure, creating an educational and exciting narrative. The novel also delves into issues such as artifact restitution and archaeological ethics, making it a thought-provoking read.

Only weak men want women to be weak.

What you might love:

  • It blends myth with history, pleasing fans of both areas.
  • “The Lost Sisterhood” alternates between past and present in its plot, creating an engaging, layered tale.
  • The book examines how multiple cultures weave myths into their fabric, offering intellectual engagement.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Switching between two timelines might confuse readers who like a simple story.
  • Jumping from one character or era to another might break the rhythm for those who enjoy continuous plots.
  • It crosses different genres, which could disappoint those anticipating a straight historical or modern thriller.

38. Electra by Sophocles

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Plays, Classics, Drama, Mythology, Fiction, Theatre, Poetry

The play centers around Electra, who is consumed by grief and a thirst for vengeance against her mother, Clytemnestra, and her mother’s lover, Aegisthus, who was responsible for the murder of her father upon his return from the Trojan War.

It explores themes such as the ethics of revenge, the complexities of family loyalty, and the psychological effects of grief and anger. Sophocles expertly crafts Electra’s character, depicting her inner turmoil and unwavering determination.

This is an essential read for Greek mythology and tragedy enthusiasts, offering insights into ancient Greek society and moral dilemmas. Its compelling narrative and profound themes make “Electra” a timeless classic that still resonates with modern audiences.

I will not live by rules like those.

What you might love:

  • It contains symbols and themes that add depth, rewarding analytical readers.
  • Character interactions are full of drama, sparking thought-provoking and forceful dialogues.
  • The play examines intense feelings such as sorrow, anger, and the quest for fairness, resonating with many.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Gender roles might appear outdated or problematic through a contemporary lens.
  • The social customs, norms, and beliefs intrinsic to ancient Greek society might feel foreign or inaccessible in modern times.
  • The lack of moral clarity and the problematic endorsement of revenge might not align well with the values of some readers.

39. Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings, Mythology, Fiction, Contemporary

The novel follows the story of Eury, a young Puerto Rican girl haunted by trauma and evil spirits, who moves to New York from Tampa Bay, Florida, to live with her cousin Penelope and her Aunt Titi.

As the story unfolds, Eury experiences a near-death incident, and like the classic Greek myth, Pheus, a bachata-singing neighborhood charmer, ventures into the Underworld to help her escape the grip of Ato.

“Never Look Back” blends modern issues like mental health and trauma, making it an important addition to the young adult genre and a standout among the myths of retellings.

What you might love:

  • Music takes center stage in the story, enchanting readers who love tunes.
  • The novel stars Afro-Latinx characters, spotlighting diversity and representation.
  • It champions confronting challenges with love and kinship as pillars, offering encouragement.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It weaves in current topics like Hurricane Maria’s impact, which may not suit those after pure fantasy.
  • The novel delves into trauma and recovery, potentially weighing on readers who enjoy lighter topics.
  • Its strong Afro-Latinx and Bronx atmosphere might not captivate those seeking broader settings or other cultural tales.

40. The Golden Ass by Apuleius

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Classics, Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy, Literature, Ancient, Novels

The novel follows Lucius, a man from the Greek part of the Roman Empire, who is on a journey to Thessaly. His curiosity about magic and witchcraft leads him into various misadventures.

The novel chronicles Lucius’ misadventures and the series of stories he encounters or overhears, serving as a narrative within a narrative. His experiences range from the comedic to the tragic, offering a satirical view of Roman society.

The novel combines elements of allegory, satire, and bawdiness, creating a complex and multifaceted narrative. Its exploration of transformation, literally and metaphorically, and its commentary on human nature and society make it an important and timeless work.

And so his life he surrendered to destiny, but his glory he kept for himself.

What you might love:

  • The book offers views into Roman philosophy and faith.
  • It explores magic, change, and the idea of transformation, appealing to those who like to question reality.
  • Lucius, the protagonist’s transformation into an ass, leads to a series of entertaining and comical adventures that delight readers with their humor.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s old-fashioned views on women might upset some readers.
  • Its old-style, episodic flow could disappoint those accustomed to current narrative methods.
  • Vague morals and the main character’s faults may dissatisfy those who prefer explicit ethical guidance.

41. The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Mythology, Romance, Lesbian, Retellings, Queer

Central to the narrative is Persephone, who finds herself at a crossroads of self-discovery and independence. It delves deep into Persephone’s journey of self-empowerment and self-realization.

Her character evolves from being under the shadow of her mother and Zeus to standing on her own, learning to convert feelings of injustice into action, and finding her individual identity.

The book explores themes like the contrast between mortality and immortality and the significance of having choices. It encourages readers to ponder the differences in perceptions and values between mortals and immortals in relation to love and death.

“The Dark Wife” is a vibrant and imaginative exploration of Greek mythology, challenging traditional narratives and offering a perspective highlighting the struggle for independence and agency.

I had loved and lost, and now… Love had found me again, brought me back to life in the land of the dead.

What you might love:

  • The book reimagines the Persephone and Hades myth with a feminist twist.
  • At its heart is a lesbian love story, adding depth and LGBTQ+ representation to the genre.
  • It navigates through intense emotions like affection, longing, hurt, and deceit, drawing readers in.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book addresses grim topics such as mortality and treachery, possibly disturbing certain readers.
  • Its poetic style, though elegant, could be too ornate or complex for those who favor plain storytelling.
  • The main lesbian relationship, while enriching for some, may not attract those seeking conventional straight romances.

42. The Women of Troy by Pat Barker — Women of Troy #2

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Fantasy, Retellings

The novel starts with the Greeks inside the wooden horse, including Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son, who is anxious about living up to his father’s legacy. Pyrrhus’s brutal actions, such as the killing of the Trojan king Priam and his refusal to bury him, set a dark tone for the story.

The narrative shifts between the perspectives of Briseis and Pyrrhus, creating a contrast between her reflective narration and the men’s impulsive, often violent actions. Briseis’s journey is one of survival and resilience.

The novel highlights themes such as the underestimation of women, the complexities of motherhood, and the struggle for survival in a patriarchal world. It is a must-read for those interested in Greek mythology or powerful stories of women’s resilience.

We women are peculiar creatures. We tend not to love those who murder our families.

What you might love:

  • The book tackles courage, endurance, and spirit amid hardship, stirring and inspiring readers.
  • The in-depth character growth showcases diverse sides of individual personalities and backgrounds.
  • Barker portrays determined, layered women dealing with war’s consequences, highlighting their strength and endurance.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s nuanced morals may disturb those who like straightforward good and evil characters.
  • The story dwells on war’s consequences and might not entice fans of battle action or dynamic plots.
  • The sole focus on women’s post-war experiences may not satisfy those wanting varied viewpoints.

43. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Retellings, Feminism

In “The Penelopiad,” Penelope tells her story from the afterlife. She talks about her life from childhood in Sparta to her marriage with Odysseus and her time in Ithaca.

While Odysseus is away at war, Penelope cleverly handles suitors who want to marry her. She tricks them by weaving a shroud and unweaving it every night. The story also highlights the fate of her Twelve Maids, whom Odysseus and Telemachus unjustly punish.

This novel gives a new perspective to the classic Odyssey, focusing on the women’s side of the story. It is an essential addition to the collection of anyone interested in history’s untold and marginalized voices.

Which of us can resist the temptation of being thought indispensable?

What you might love:

  • The book spotlights women’s views, enhancing often overlooked roles in myths.
  • The detailed portrayal of Penelope and others turns mythic names into robust characters.
  • Atwood’s sharp humor spices up the narrative, balancing light-heartedness with deeper issues.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The unique structure, featuring the maids’ chorus, could confuse those who favor linear tales.
  • Tackling gender roles and power systems in depth might be too intense for certain readers.
  • The novel’s humorous and occasionally mocking voice may not suit those who like serious or classic storytelling.

44. Atalanta by Jennifer Saint

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction, Retellings

The story begins with the birth of Princess Atalanta, who is abandoned by her father on a mountainside because she is not the son he hoped for. Miraculously, she survives, thanks to the intervention of a mother bear and the protective gaze of Artemis.

Raised in the wild, Atalanta grows up to be a fierce and strong huntress, becoming one of the best warriors among Artemis’ followers. The book takes a turn when Atalanta joins the Argonauts on their quest representing herself as an avatar of Artemis.

This journey is marked by adventures and challenges, during which Atalanta proves herself to be as capable as her male counterparts. However, as she starts to fall in love, Atalanta faces a difficult choice: staying true to her vow to Artemis or following her heart.

“Atlanta” brings to life a formidable character that explores what it might have been like to be the only female hero in a world dominated by men. It’s a story of adventure, love, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world, making it a must-read story of resilience.

The oracle warned that I would lose myself, but the opposite is true. I am more myself than I have ever been. I am wild, I am free. I am Atalanta.

What you might love:

  • The story celebrates empowerment, grit, and defying social norms.
  • It offers a current women’s take on classic tales, refreshing old myths.
  • The book challenges gender stereotypes, showing Atalanta’s athletic prowess.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s focus on gender roles, while significant, may not interest everyone.
  • The story may be potentially daunting for those unfamiliar with Greek Myths.
  • The story’s complex character interactions might challenge fans of simpler narratives.

45. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis — Quincunx #2

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03/08/2024 06:21 pm GMT

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Canada, Animals, Philosophy, Dogs, Mythology

“Fifteen Dogs” is an allegorical novel that centers on a group of fifteen dogs who are granted human consciousness and language by the Greek gods Hermes and Apollo. The story unfolds in Toronto, where these dogs escape to form their own society in High Park.

The novel delves into various themes, such as the nature of intelligence, the complexities of communication, love, and friendship, and the existential crises that arise from self-awareness.

The dogs’ individual experiences and fates are portrayed against the backdrop of their interactions with humans and each other, bringing to light the profound questions about the essence of happiness and the true nature of being.

It’s a compelling read for those interested in philosophical fiction and exploring human nature through an unconventional lens.

Perfect understanding between beings is no guarantor of happiness. To perfectly understand another’s madness, for instance, is to be mad oneself. 

What you might love:

  • The book weaves in smart, light humor, balancing its profound themes.
  • Each dog has a distinct personality, allowing for rich character development.
  • Through the eyes of the dogs, the book explores what it means to be human, delving into themes of intelligence, emotion, and morality.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book plays with language, inventing a canine lingo that could confuse some.
  • It probes existence, thinking, and feeling deeply, potentially overwhelming those who seek simple plots.
  • The story’s deep emotion and darker moments, like pain and death themes, could unsettle certain readers.

46. Ithaca by Claire North — The Songs of Penelope #1

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03/08/2024 06:30 pm GMT

Genres: Greek Mythology, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings

The book takes place in the kingdom of Ithaca, where King Odysseus has been absent for 17 years after going to war with Troy. In his absence, the women of Ithaca, led by Penelope, Odysseus’s queen, have been left to run the kingdom.

Penelope is depicted as a loyal wife waiting for her husband’s return and a strong, astute leader who deeply loves her land and people. From Hera’s perspective, this retelling highlights these women’s struggles and resilience.

The book offers a fresh portrayal of Penelope, showing her capability to navigate the political landscape, deal with suitors vying for her hand, and the power that comes with it, as well as other external threats, which makes this book a compelling read.

I was a queen of women once, before my husband bound me with chains and made me a queen of wives.

What you might love:

  • “Ithaca” stands out for its vibrant and multifaceted women characters.
  • The book delves deeply into human feelings, connecting with many readers.
  • The novel examines fate, authority, and humanity, encouraging deep reflection.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book graphically depicts its era’s cruelty, potentially unsettling readers.
  • Intricate and flawed characters may prevent some readers from relating to them.
  • The book centers on women’s challenges in a patriarchal society, which may not interest all readers.

47. Greek Gods and Heroes by Robert Graves

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03/08/2024 06:31 pm GMT

Genres: Mythology, Non-fiction, Classics, History, School, Religion, Short Stories

This book retells 27 Greek myths, immersing readers in the era of the Olympian gods’ ancient and savage rule. It brings to life the major gods and goddesses, as well as the lesser-known deities, Titans, Giants, and, of course, the iconic heroes of Greek mythology.

It doesn’t oversimplify these stories; the book maintains much of their symbolism and connection to ancient Greek culture, making it a good reference for mythological wisdom and history.

These stories provide a cultural and moral framework, offering guidance on virtue, morality, and the consequences of actions. They encourage readers to reflect on their own choices and the broader impact of their actions.

What you might love:

  • The book might encourage further reading on Greek mythology and Graves’ writings.
  • These myths give readers insights into ancient Greece’s values, beliefs, and customs.
  • The book focuses on mythology and offers educational insights into ancient Greek culture and religion.

What might not be for everyone:

  • As a mid-20th-century work, the book’s take on mythology may not match current views.
  • The book targets young readers and may not satisfy those seeking scholarly depth in Greek mythology.
  • Simplified for accessibility, it might lose some original myth complexity, disappointing those wanting comprehensive knowledge.

48. Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith

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03/08/2024 06:31 pm GMT

Genres: Fiction, LGBT, Queer, Mythology, Contemporary, Romance, Retellings

The book reinterprets Ovid’s metamorphosis myth of Iphis, skillfully adapted to a modern-day setting. This novella is set in the Scottish town of Inverness and revolves around two sisters, Anthea and Imogen, who both work for Pure, a bottled water company.

The story takes an intriguing turn when Anthea falls in love with Robin, a genderqueer environmental activist, delving into themes of homophobia, corporate and social responsibility, and the transformative power of love.

What sets “Girl Meets Boy” apart is its delightful blend of contemporary issues with ancient myth. Smith reimagines a classical story for modern readers and infuses it with relevant social commentary, making it a novel that resonates with today’s issues.

And it was always the stories that needed the telling that gave us the rope we could cross any river with.

What you might love:

  • The novel strongly promotes standing firm for personal convictions.
  • The book’s humor and wordplay make it an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
  • It challenges conventional narratives and societal norms regarding relationships and love​​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book includes homophobia, misogyny, and sexism, which may upset or trigger certain readers.
  • The novel focuses on characters over the plot, possibly not meeting the expectations of those who favor plot-focused stories.
  • It tackles complex issues such as gender fluidity and social duty, which are potentially difficult or unattractive to some readers.

49. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake — Goddess War #1

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03/08/2024 06:31 pm GMT

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Greek Mythology

In “Antigoddess,” the old gods are not immortal and are, in fact, dying. Athena and Hermes find themselves suffering from mysterious and slow decay. In their quest for answers and survival, they travel the world to gather allies and face old and new enemies.

Unaware of the existence of gods and her own extraordinary past, Cassandra and her high-school boyfriend Aidan, who harbors his divine secret, become entangled in a war involving gods.

This portrayal of gods losing their immortality and struggling for survival adds a layer of vulnerability and depth to these figures, making them more relatable and intriguing.

It’s a book that should not be missed by readers who enjoy a blend of myth and modernity and who are intrigued by the idea of ancient gods navigating the challenges and complexities of the modern world.

Fate was the only lesson a god needed to learn. It was their only hard limit.

What you might love:

  • The novel brings depth to Greek mythological figures, making them compelling and relatable.
  • “Antigoddess” examines mortality and divinity, questioning how immortals handle their possible end.
  • The interactions between the gods, with their varied histories and personalities, add depth and complexity.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Knowing Greek mythology can improve enjoyment, possibly hindering those with less background.
  • The book’s dark take on mythology may not suit those seeking a lighter, classic portrayal of Greek gods.
  • Modern versions of the gods in the novel might clash with some readers’ traditional views on these characters.

50. An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

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03/08/2024 06:31 pm GMT

Genres: Fiction, Africa, Contemporary, Nigeria, African Literature

The story follows the life of Chinonso, a humble poultry farmer whose life takes a dramatic turn when he encounters and prevents a woman, Ndali, from committing suicide.

This act of kindness sparks a deep connection between them, leading to a love affair that faces significant challenges, particularly from Ndali’s affluent family. Chinonso’s journey is marked by his efforts to elevate his status to be deemed worthy of Ndali by her family.

The book is a must-read for those interested in exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and the complexities of human destiny through the lens of African literature. Its portrayal of the struggles faced by many in pursuit of a better life makes it relatable to many.

The true being of a man is hidden behind the wall of flesh and blood from the eyes of everyone else, including his own.

What you might love:

  • The book examines social class struggles, enriching the story.
  • The novel vividly portrays Nigerian life, teaching about its culture and daily life.
  • It reveals deep truths about hope, desperation, and yearning for improvement.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s deep use of Igbo cosmology and culture may be hard for those new to it.
  • The story’s unique narrative voice may make it difficult to connect with the characters.
  • The main character’s many struggles make the story sad, possibly not for those who like upbeat tales.

51. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

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03/08/2024 08:26 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Greek Mythology, Romance, Contemporary

In “Gods Behaving Badly,” the Greek gods are portrayed in a contemporary setting, living in London with diminishing powers due to their lack of belief.

The story centers around a young woman named Alice, who unknowingly finds herself working as a cleaning lady in a flat occupied by these fallen gods. The plot thickens when Apollo, one of the gods, falls in love with Alice.

What sets “Gods Behaving Badly” apart is its humorous and irreverent take on the Olympian gods, placing them in a modern, mundane context and exploring how they cope with their fading powers and relevance.

It combines elements of fantasy, humor, and mythology, creating a book that readers who enjoy a light-hearted take on classical mythology shouldn’t miss, blending the ancient with the contemporary in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.

Gods were always tricking each other into looking foolish; if they didn’t, the world would probably be too bored to keep it going.

What you might love:

  • The book humorously yet insightfully critiques modern belief and heroism.
  • The gods appear arrogant and naive; their faded powers create humor in today’s world.
  • At its heart, there’s a touching human love story, providing a nice contrast to the gods’ antics.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers may find the novel’s shift from comedy to seriousness too abrupt.
  • The book’s humor is often crude, possibly clashing with tastes for milder, family-friendly jokes.
  • Experts in Greek mythology may view the book’s approach as too shallow or not true enough to the myths.

52. House of Names by Colm Tóibín

Buy on Amazon
03/08/2024 06:31 pm GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Fantasy, Retellings

Clytemnestra, after being deceived and having witnessed the sacrifice of her daughter, is consumed by a desire for revenge. This leads her to murder Agamemnon upon his return from the Trojan War alongside her lover Aegisthus.

The story then follows Orestes, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and befriends Leander, an exile like himself. Meanwhile, Electra seeks vengeance against her mother for Agamemnon’s murder.

The novel offers a compelling look at the dynamics of power, betrayal, and vengeance within a family, making it an essential read for those interested in Greek mythology and dramatic storytelling.

The memory of my name will last longer than the lives of many men.

What you might love:

  • It tackles power, betrayal, and revenge in ways that appeal to modern readers.
  • The book challenges gender norms with strong female characters leading the plot.
  • Clytemnestra, Orestes, and Electra narrate the story, each providing a fresh, captivating angle.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book starts conventionally, suggesting a typical Greek tragedy before diverging into original twists.
  • Tóibín’s reserved writing style during intense scenes may disappoint those wanting more vivid descriptions.
  • Complex relations between characters like Clytemnestra, Electra, and Orestes may challenge those who favor simple interactions.

Final Thoughts

These ancient myths, with their complex characters and intricate plots, continue to resonate with us, offering a window into a past that still shapes our present.

They remind us of the power of storytelling and how it can transform our understanding of the world around us.

Whether you’ve found yourself inspired by the strength of Achilles, the wisdom of Athena, or the cunning of Odysseus, these stories have the ability to connect us across time and space, speaking to the shared essence of our existence.

And who knows? By the end, you might just find yourself plotting your own quest. Remember, in Greek mythology, everything’s possible—especially the improbable!

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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.