Myths are some of the most important stories in almost every culture. Authors in every culture draw on the myths that are familiar to them to write new stories. Even though most myths don’t normally have LGBT characters, these retellings can include people of any sexual orientation or gender. Here are five great books that draw on mythology for inspiration!
1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Song of Achilles was very popular when it came out in 2011, and it isn’t hard to see why. Written by classics teacher Madeline Miller, this book is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus, the best friend (and in this version, at least, lover) of the hero Achilles. While historians have argued for centuries whether the two mythological heroes were together, The Song of Achilles makes their relationship the clearest of love stories. Miller has also written another LGBT mythology story, Circe, which came out in 2018.
2. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase isn’t Rick Riordan’s only LGBT character, by far, but he is the most prominent one. While the Percy Jackson series didn’t have any explicitly queer representation, the Heroes of Olympus series confirmed that Nico DiAngelo, son of Hades, was gay, and the god Apollo is portrayed as bisexual. There are several other queer characters, too, and the Magnus Chase series has both a pansexual main character and a genderfluid one, Alex Fierro, child of Loki. These books are inspired by Norse mythology, with the other Rick Riordan series following Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myths too.
3. The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
The Dark Wife is based on the Greek myth of the gods Hades and Persephone, with a new twist. In the original myth, Hades essentially kidnaps Persephone, forcing her to stay with him in the underworld for half of each year despite her wanting to stay on Earth with her mother. In The Dark Wife, however, it’s Zeus that’s holding Persephone hostage on Earth, and Hades is the goddess who finally gives her a choice. This lesbian retelling of the classic myth is a fun read and a thrilling romance that any Greek mythology fan will enjoy.
4. Heathen by Natasha Alterici
Heathen is a Norse mythology story, and a series of graphic novels written by Natasha Alterici and illustrated by Rachel Deering. When a young Viking warrior, Aydis, is exiled from her community for kissing another woman, she vows to take down the oppressive reign of Odin, king of the gods. To do it, she’ll have to free a Valkyrie, Brynhild, trapped in a ring of fire for centuries. Heathen is a fast-paced story with great representation for queer women, all set during the time of the gods of Norse myths.
5. Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer
Dayna is seventeen, stuck in her conservative Irish town where she was just outed as bisexual, and trying to cope with her OCD. But she’s also a witch, about to come into her full potential when another coven, known for black magic, comes into town. Witches, Celtic gods, and a murder mystery start to make things difficult as Dayna and the granddaughter of the coven leader, Meiner, try to investigate. Witches of Ash and Ruin is based on Celtic mythology, and has several unique queer characters.
Find more book recommendations and even more right here on Bookstr!