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We recommend you 10 fiction books from the 21st century that have taken the tales of gods, heroes, and monsters from dusty old tomes and breathed new life into them. Get ready for a journey through reimagined legends, demigod adventures, and divine dramas through these works by authors who bring their own twists and takes to popular Greek myths and legends.
- “The Penelopiad” by Margaret Atwood: This 2005 novel reinterprets the myth of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, giving her a powerful voice in a tale of love, loyalty, and power. In this feminist retelling, Penelope steps out of the shadows, reclaiming her narrative and asserting her agency in a world dominated by gods and heroes.
- “The Children of Jocasta” by Natalie Haynes: Natalie Haynes offers a unique take on the Oedipus myth, narrating the story from the viewpoints of Jocasta and Ismene, shedding new light on their roles. While some readers may not like the complete overhaul of the original myth by the author, it could prove to an fantastic read for many others.
- “The Brightest Fell” by Seanan McGuire: Part of the “October Daye” urban fantasy series, this book takes readers on a modern-day journey to the Underworld, drawing inspiration from Greek mythology. McGuire takes you on a wild ride to the Underworld, and trust us, it’s nothing like you’d expect!
- “The Immortals” series by Alyson Noël: Ever imagined what it’d be like to be immortal? Alyson Noël’s series delves into this with a modern twist. Ever Bloom, the protagonist, survives a near-death experience only to discover she cannot die. As she grapples with her newfound powers and the complexities of eternity, themes of love, friendship, and the weight of immortality take center stage.
- The Silence of the Girls” by Pat Barker: Through the eyes of Briseis, a captive during the Trojan War, Pat Barker explores the often untold stories of women who were caught in the midst of this legendary conflict. Barker offers a poignant commentary on the lasting impact of war on women’s lives and the power of bearing witness to their experiences.
- “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller: This bestselling novel beautifully reimagines the epic love story between Achilles and Patroclus, exploring their deep connection amidst the backdrop of the Trojan War. This one’s a heart-wrenching tale of love, friendship, and destiny, all told in captivating prose by the author.
- “The Chaos of Stars” by Kiersten White: Set in a modern-day world, this young adult novel introduces readers to the Egyptian and Greek gods, exploring their dynamics and influence on mortal lives. White weaves a tale of identity, family secrets, and the age-old clash of mortal and immortal worlds.
- “The Just City” by Jo Walton: Mixing philosophy and mythology, this book brings together characters like Athena and Socrates in a unique exploration of ethics and society. This work is a brainy, delightful blend of philosophy and myth. Athena gathers philosophers and gods to create Plato’s Republic, and let’s just say, it’s a divine experiment with unexpected consequences
- “The King Must Die” by Mary Renault: Mary Renault’s historical fiction novel breathes life into the legendary hero Theseus, exploring his journey from obscurity to becoming a key figure in Greek mythology. It’s a vivid exploration of heroism, ancient rituals, and the labyrinth of fate, all set against the backdrop of ancient Greece.
- “The Gospel of Loki” by Joanne M. Harris: Told from the perspective of the trickster god Loki, this novel provides a witty and irreverent take on Norse and Greek mythology, blending them into an engaging narrative. It’s a hilarious and thought-provoking take on gods, mischief, and the blurred lines between good and evil.
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