I’ve just finished binge reading The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet and it was amazing — series review to come. But one of the reasons I adore the series was the Greek myth elements, which made me think of much I adore myth retellings.
So today I’m going to share with you some of my favourite myth retellings. All these books I have given 4 or 5 stars. I highly recommend them.
Greek and Roman Mythology
The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet
I picked this book up as I heard it was a Persephone and Hades retelling and I flew through this. As the series goes one is branches from the retelling. Greek Gods and Monster do lurk around all corners but Bouchet using them to fit her the world she’s created.
In this series we follow, Caralia the Kingmaker who’s disguised herself as a soothsayer. She’s hiding from the danger and destiny that being a Kingmaker contains. Until, Griffin, an ambitious warlord wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm. There is a sweet and very steamy romance between these two.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This is one of my all time favourite books. It details the life of famed greek hero from the perspective of his closest friend and lover, Patroclus. We start when they first meet as boys in court of Thessaly and end on the blood drenched sands of Troy.
My mum first told me about the Trojan War when I was a kid and that these two where in love. I adore that Miller shows this relationship is all it’s ups and downs.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe is the follow up to The Song of Achilles. Miller artfully crafts together the pieces of the goddess and witch who appears in the Odyssey. I love learning about this women who has independence and agency, which is rather from mythical women. I flew through this book and adored seeing which Gods and Heroes would show up next.
The Goddess Summoning Series by P.C Cast
This series is so much fun and one of the first adult series I read after my binge on vampire and werewolf teen romances. Of course the selling point for me is that features Greek myths.
Throughout the series we have mermaid, Hades and Persephone, Apollo, Achilles, Aphrodite, a Beauty and the Beast featuring the Minotaur and even King Arthur — yes not Greek but still awesome. Infused in these narratives P.C. Cast’s signature Wicca and spirituality.
The Delphi Women by Kerry Greenwood
This series looks at three women of Greek mythology; sorceress Medea, the doomed prophetess Cassandra of Troy and Princess Electra, daughter of Agamemnon.
The thing I adore most about these books is the way Greenwood is able to balance the fantastic elements of the Gods with the setting and culture of the ancient world. Each character feels grounded in the history, with the gods reflecting the Ancient Greek’s belief of who they were meant to be.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
The Penelopiad retells Homer’s The Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope, Odyssey’s wife. I loved seeing into Penelope’s mind. She was sarcastic and emotional at times. Between Penelope’s chapters we get an interjection from the 12 slaves girls, which was the highlight of the book. They narrate some of the plot points from The Odyssey and their own trials thought a collection of jaunty songs, mock courtroom dramas and poems.
House of Names by Colm Tobin
This was my first Colm Tobin and I loved it. We follow the story for Clytemnestra and her children, Electra and Orestes. Tobin takes us behind the scenes of The Cursed House of Arteus, Greek mythology’s most dysfunctional families.
For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser
This is another Trojan War retelling — hint this is my favourite myth. This story follows the lives of two of the lessor known women who got caught up in the War; Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans’ High Priest, and Briseis, princess of Pedasus.
Troy by Adele Geras
This was one of the first retelling I ever read. I order it at primary school through the Scholastic Book Club. Troy retells the Trojan War from the perspective of two Trojan sister, Marpessa — handmaiden to Helen— and Xanthe — who tends to the wounded soldiers in the Blood Room.
We see the last weeks of the war, when women are sick of tending the wounded, men are tired if fighting and the Gods and Goddesses bored, looking for a way to stir things up.
Till We Have Faces by C.S Lewis
Lewis was said to believe this was his best work, but ironically one of his least known. Till We Have Faces tells the story of Psyche and Cupid from the perspective of Psyche’s other sister, Orual, a strong woman cursed with a hideous face. Set in the world of Glome, a barbaric pre-Christian world, which reflects the world of myth.
I will say this is a dense read, filled with philosophical and theological discussions. Just something to keep in mind.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Full disclosure I have only read the first two —The Lighting Thief and The Sea of Monsters— but I adore this series. I think the way Riordan is able to bring these stories to kids is amazing and super creative.
I’m sure you already know this, but this series follows young boy and Demigod Percy Jackson and his adventures at Camp Half-Blood.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has collected together Norse mythology tales together in one book with a novelist arc that begins with the genesis of the nine worlds through all the adventures and cultivates in Ragnarok. Gaiman’s breaths life into our favourites Thor, Odin and Loki.
Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
This category is sorely lacking and by sorely lacking I mean I have just the one recommendation. So if you have any recommendations for retellings from non Western countries I would love that!
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Taking inspiration from Indian mythology, this lush story follows Maya who is cursed, with a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction. Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar, The Lord of Death.
That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know what your favourite myth retellings are.
Until next time, happy reading!