Skip to Main Content
Header image

Can't-miss mythology retellings

By Kobo • February 11, 2024Recommended Reading

Escape into the ancient world with these classical myths—retold

Magic. Adventure. Romance. Revenge. There’s a reason we keep calling back to ancient tales, even across centuries, languages, and vast distances. These contemporary novels—notably written by women—bring readers new ways of recognizing the enduring relevance of these time-tested stories.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is another oft-maligned mythological figure, but Madeline Miller is here to set the record straight. Amongst the gods, Circe is an outsider, and so she turns to the world of humans for companionship. And in search of power, she turns to the magic of witchcraft. Her actions anger Zeus and get her banished to a remote island, where she has only the comfort of wild animals and her growing powers as a sorceress. If you think you knew everything about Circe from reading The Odyssey, get ready to see this character and her story in a whole new light.

View eBook    View Audiobook

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

In this heart-breaking love story—a re-imagining of Homer's Iliad —Achilles meets a young prince named Patroclus who has been banished from his homeland. The two begin training with the centaur Chiron and form a strong bond with each other. When the news breaks that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles becomes enthralled with the idea of joining the siege of Troy and becoming a hero for the history books. For the love of his friend, Patroclus also joins. Neither know the cruel fate destiny has chosen for them.

View eBook    View Audiobook

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Kaikeyi is a retelling of the Indian epic Ramayanafrom Queen Kaikeyi’s perspective. Kaikeyi was born the only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya. Growing up, she was told stories about benevolent and powerful gods. But when Kaikeyi herself needs the Gods to rescue her from an arranged marriage, no Gods answer her. Looking for a path to independence, where she is valued for more than her mere marriageability, Kaikeyi forges a path for herself as a powerful warrior and diplomat. But the gods have different designs for her future, and now Kaikeyi must decide if agency is worth going up against the gods.

View eBook    View Audiobook

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The story of Penelope as told in Homer's Odyssey is a tale of what she didn’t do: Penelope is famous for her faithfulness to Odysseus during his three-year absence, and for keeping busy by endlessly weaving (and secretly unweaving) a shroud. Now in Hades (this novella is set in the 21st century) Penelope herself narrates her experience of single-parenting during the Trojan War, the colossal and ultimately murderous misunderstanding between her and Odysseus upon his return, inaccuracies in the historical record, and she has some choice words about Helen.

View eBook

Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola

Bite-size love stories that borrow from mythologies rooted in Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East, creating a wholly unique romantic mélange.

View eBook    View Audiobook

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

This novel sets the spellbinding myth of Pandora in Georgian London. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewelry artist who helps her uncle run her late parents' antique shop. After an ancient Greek vase is delivered to their shop, her uncle starts acting weird, and Dora is certain the key to making a name for herself is hidden within the mysterious Greek vase he's intent on keeping hidden from her. But when Dora discovers the truth about the vase, she realizes—too late—that some mysteries are better left unsolved.

View eBook    View Audiobook

Medusa by Jessie Burton

Jessie Burton, author of the international bestseller The Miniaturist, turns her talents to one of the best-known villains of the classical world, Medusa. Despite the serpents crawling her scalp, Medusa leads a lonely life alone on her island prison with nothing to do but reminisce about the fullness of her life before she caught the ire of spiteful gods. Then one day a beautiful young man named Perseus appears...

View eBook

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Daughter of the Moon Goddess is the first book is an epic fantasy adventure series that retells the Chinese myth of Chang’e, the moon goddess. Xingyin has spent her life on the moon, unaware that she's purposefully being hidden from the Celestial Emperor. When the royals learn of Xingyin's magical powers, they immediately go searching for her, and Xingyin is forced to flee, leaving her mother and the only home she's known behind. Disguising herself in the Celestial Kingdom, Xingyin trains in magic and archery alongside the emperor's son Liwei. And when she has trained enough, she will set off on a treacherous journey to rescue her mother, the moon goddess.

View eBook    View Audiobook

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

This retelling of the Trojan war was among the best books we read in 2021. Focusing on the fall of Troy, A Thousand Ships puts the women at the centre of the action. These are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war—from the Trojan women whose fates lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fight Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose petty feud started it all.

View eBook    View Audiobook

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This unforgettable reimagining of Mayan mythology brings the gods into the Jazz Age in Mexico. Casiopeia Tun is stuck working as a maid for her wealthy grandfather, but she dreams of a better life. She never could have imagined the answer to all of her wishes might come in the form of the Mayan god of death, who lay dormant in a wooden box before Casiopeia accidentally set him free. Now he needs Casiopea's help. If she can help him recover the throne his brother stole from him, Casiopeia will have the life she's always wished for. But if she fails, it could mean the end of everything.

View eBook    View Audiobook

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Eliza Knight, Sophie Perinot, and Vicky Alvear

While not about mythology per se, this book by an all-star team of historical novelists deserves mentioning here. Each of the six writers contributes a single story, adding up to a multiplicity of perspectives on the day Mount Vesuvius rained down fire and ash on the city of Pompeii. Though each story stands on its own, there are subtle connecting threads between them, inviting you to read them out of order—or more than once.

View Audiobook    View eBook

If you would like to be the first to know about bookish blogs, please subscribe. We promise to provided only relevant articles.