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Greek Myths Retold in Literature
Bringing the Myths to Modernization
Greek Myths have been an inspiration for artist, poets, and novelist since the Hellenistic times. Lately there has been a resurgence of these stories in modern literature. This makes the stories more accessible and easier to understand especially for younger readers. Here are my favorite modern interpretations of Greek Myths.
First, here is an ode to the Disney retelling of Hercules to get you in that Ancient Greek state of mind with a dash of sass.
Here is my list of my favorite Greek Myths retold in novels.
Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The same author who wrote the Mists of Avalon takes her retelling talent to Troy with Firebrand. Firebrand is a retelling of the Illiad by Homer. Bradley tells the story through the women involved in the Trojan War. Bradly adds to the drama of the war and the conflict with the gods by focusing on Kassandra; who makes accurate predictions only to have everyone disbelief her gift of prophecy. It is a long, good read that brings a much needed feminine viewpoint on ancient Troy.
The Persephone story of her kidnap by Hades has been retold numerous times, and in different formats. Here are two that I suggest
Abandon Series by Meg Cabot
There are a total of three books in this series, and they follow a young teenage girl named Pierce. Pierce had a near death accident that led her find that Hades still exist. While in the underworld she grabs the attention of John, the master of the underworld. There is romance, conflict, and of course death. It is a great read for younger readers interested in the myth as it is not as violent, and Pierce seems to actually like John.
Persephone's Orchard by Molly Ringle
This is a new book about Persephone and Hades. It attracts an older audience then a book by Meg Cabot. Ringle takes a different viewpoint of Hades and Persephone and as a result creates an amazing storyline. The two gods are reincarnated through Sophie and Adrian. Sophie has flashbacks and dreams about their lives in ancient times. Of course this draws the attention of ancient enemies. Ringle changes the story from kidnapping and rape to one of mutual love and romance that stays with you long after the novel is over.
Oh.My.Gods by Tera Lynn Childs
Oh.My.Gods is a great book about Greek Myths especially for young girls. It is cute, simple, and uncomplicated. Phoebe is thrown halfway across world to live in Greece with her mother and new step-father. She is in for a big surprise when her high school, which is on a tiny Greek island only accepts kids who are descended from the gods. She must learn to fit in, which of course causes fun conflict for this coming-of-age stories. Childs combines a little mythology and creates an original chick-lit book to inspire young girls.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Of course I could not bring up Greek Myth modernization with out talking about Riordan's NYT bestselling series. There are five books in the Percy Jackson Series and four more in the Heroes of Olympus series. The series follows the adventures of Percy Jackson and his friends through a series of quests to save Olympus. There are monsters, gods, demi-gods, mythical creatures, adventure, and a dash of romance in the later books. These books are the most comprehensive in bringing the Greek Myths to the modern world. They obviously attract all ages even if they were written for children. Riordan brings in all the old stories and illuminates each one in a special way while still keeping it relevant to the story. If you can't get your child to pay attention in his ancient history class, then have them read this book, and it will keep them interested in mythology. Percy Jackson is also one of the few modern myth stories being made into movies.
Greek myths stick with us because they are interesting stories about human development. Even though they are interrupted in modern ways and added to; the classic versions have continued to stand the test of time for thousands of years. Do you have a favorite myth?