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5 Books Inspired By Greek Mythology

Greek mythology has a very special place in western culture. We see it in architecture, in art, and in the stories that inspire us. Terminology like a person’s “Achille’s heel” is so commonly accepted in the English vernacular that we don’t often give it a second thought. This mythos is ever present, and it acts as a creative muse (pun intended) to writers everywhere, and when there are stories that showcase Greek mythology in new and fun ways, those stories should be shared and explored.

 

Here are five stories that resonate with Greek mythology:

 

 

1. Circe

 

image via amazon

 

Written by Madeline MillerCirce was selected in 2018 as a Goodreads Choice winner. This book follows the titular character Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios. Though she didn’t inherit the her parent’s powers, Circe learns that she, in her own right, can rival the gods. For this very reason, she is banished to a deserted island where she continues to practice her magic and learn more about herself. She is ultimately forced to make a decision: will she ally herself with mortals, the individuals that she often sought solace with, or will she reunite with the gods, the group from which she originated?

 

 

2. Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from myths and monsters

 

image via goodreads

 

Great Goddesses is a collection of poems written by Nikita Gill, who is known for her poetry collections Fierce Fairytales and Wild Embers. Applying a feminist’s lens to these old myths and legends, Gill presents a new rendition of Greek mythology. As stated by this collection’s Amazon page:

With lyrical prose and striking verse, beloved poet Nikita Gill…uses the history of Ancient Greece and beyond to explore and share the stories of the mothers, warriors, creators, survivors, and destroyers who shook the world. A few examples of poems from this collection are Chaos to Nyx, Athena’s Tale, and Athena to Medusa.

 

 

3. AntiGoddess

 

image via goodreads

 

Antigoddess is the first book in Kendare Blake‘s series: Goddess War. The story begins with the goddess Athena growing feathers under her skin and inside her lungs. Hermes has a fever that is consuming his flesh, and the other Greek deities are suffering in similar ways. In order to find out why they are slowly dying, these two Greek immortals seek out Cassandra, a woman who was once a prophetess. They learn that Hera has joined with the enemies of Olympus in a bid for revenge, and these enemies are also falling victim to the same corruption that the Greek deities are.

 

 

4. The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies

 

image via goodreads

 

Written by Martin Millar, The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies follows the playwright Aristophanes, who is having a really tough time of it. He’s trying to create a comedy that will convince Athens to not go to war with Sparta for another ten years, but one inconvenience after another continues to hinder his efforts. To make matters worse, Spartan and Athenian generals have released Laet, a spirit of foolishness and poor decisions on Athens with the intention of sparking war. Athena, in an effort to stop this chaotic force, sends the Amazonian warrior Bremusa and the nymph Metris into the fray. This book has been described as a “witty and comical romp for readers of all ages.”

 

 

5. Till We have faces

 

image via amazon

 

While I try to find books and stories that have been published more recently, I couldn’t pass up adding this text to the list. Author C.S. Lewis wrote Til We Have Faces with the intent to retell the famous “Cupid and Psyche” myth from the point of view of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Orual is described as being physically disfigured, bitter and obsessively in love with her sibling. When Cupid falls for Psyche and takes her away, her sister is forced to reevaluate her moral stance and decide where, exactly, she will go. It should be noted that this book is allegorical, and there are some distinct theological undertones attached to it.

 

Cover Image via Newsela

 

 


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Nikita Gill’s ‘Fierce Fairytales’ Challenges Gender Tropes in Classic Fairytales

Once upon a time, fairytales were good friends to everyone. Once upon a time, they accompanied us in our childhood and nourished us when we stepped into the adult world. Once upon a time, the story of a handsome and brave prince on his journey to save the beautiful but bewitched princess was strongly and vividly imprinted in our heads. Once upon a time, every boy was taught to be that prince and nearly every girl dreamed of becoming the princess. But today, the stereotypes in fairytales are changing and author Nikita Gill is helping to reframe the narrative.

 

Nikita Gill’s Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul is a book about “Once upon a time” but in a different way. The book’s publisher, Hachette Books, said that Gill, “gives ‘Once Upon a Time’ a much-needed modern makeover.” 

 

Emma Smith, the book’s editor, also commented on Gill’s effort of empowering the feminist thinking and bypassing negativee gender tropes found in fairytales.
 

Fairytale tropes are long overdue a 21st century feminist update, and Nikita has skillfully delivered nuanced characters, deconstructed damaging myths, and has gotten under the skin of toxic masculinity. This collection will not just be a thing of beauty, but will be a book to light up the minds of generations to come. 

 

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Image via Nikita Gill’s Instagram

 

 

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. Her published books includes Your Soul is a River (2016) and Wild Embers (2017). 

I’m excited to read her new book because I’ve seen how Gill unfold the girl power by re-telling the stories. No matter whether you like her version of the fairytales or not, the fact is she has already turned to the new page of feminism just like her Instagram poetry indicates:

 

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 Image via Nikita Gill’s Instagram

 

Here, we see Gill challenging the stereotypical characterization of female fairytale characters using female characters from Game of Thrones. She empowers the fragile little red riding hood into a strong beast-who says an angelic girl who embarks on her journey to her grandma’s house cannot be as fierce and strong as a wolf? And, who says that a monster is always the evil one who needs to devour the good girls? Sharing her upcoming Fierce Fairytales, I appreciate Gill’s performative and audacious writing which blurs the patriarchal and stereotypical boundaries between boys and girls.

 

 

See more Nikita Gill’s thoughts regarding gender stereotypes via her essay “The Fairytales I Will Tell My Daughters”.

 

 

Featured Image via Nikita Gill’s Facebook and hachette.com.au