Fiction, Mythology

Heroes by Stephen Fry

The Greek Myths Reimagined – Follow up to Mythos

I hadn’t realized it was almost exactly a year ago I reviewed Mythos, as I had also listened to it as an advanced listening copy on Libro.fm! It’s a great follow-up, this time following the Greek human and demi-god heroes versus the gods themselves.

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
In this sequel to the bestselling Mythos, legendary author and actor Stephen Fry moves from the exploits of the Olympian gods to the deeds of mortal heroes.
Perseus. Jason. Atalanta. Theseus. Heracles. Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths. Whether recounting a tender love affair or a heroic triumph, Fry deftly finds resonance with our own modern minds and hearts.
Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.
• Each adventure is infused with Fry’s distinctive voice and writing style.
• Connoisseurs of the Greek myths will appreciate this fresh-yet-reverential interpretation, while newcomers will feel welcome.
• Retellings brim with humor and emotion.
“Mostly Chiron saw in the child and the young man he became boundless courage athleticism intelligence and ambition. He saw too lots of words beginning with ‘self’ which gave him pause. Self-belief self-possession self-righteousness self-confidence self-love. Perhaps these characteristics are as necessary to a hero as courage.”
In Heroes Fry draws out the humor and pathos in both tender love affairs and heroic battles and reveals each myth’s relevance for our own time.

Review

Mythology books have been seeing a great resurgence these days, from retellings from Madeline Miller, to reimaginings of the myths from the likes of literary powerhouses like Neil Gaiman. Heroes, like Mythos before it, is given the full gift-package as we call it at the store – foil embossed cover, full color illustrations and paintings inside, along with beautiful maps. The US versions (available via Bookshop below) is just stunning.

I, however, prefer to listen to Stephen Fry. Between him, David Attenborough and Jim Dale, I could listen to them read everything, even something as bland as a shopping list. Maybe it’s the British accent, maybe it’s just the soothing rhythm of their voices, but when Stephen Fry reads his own audiobook, I also recommend the audio version, even if you don’t get the full illustrations and glitz and glamour of the print version.

Stephen Fry recounts the stories of the most well known heroes of Greek mythology with his trademark humor, wit, and a touch of sarcasm. Heracles (Hercules is Roman, based on Heracles, the Greek) and Jason get a lot of attention (understandably) but I loved all the lesser known stories that he includes that I wasn’t as familiar with.

Overall, it’s a fun book, accessible for the person without an existing knowledge of the myths (Fry specifically discusses this at the start of the book) and enjoyable for the most dedicated mythology readers as well!

Rating: 8 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon. Click the image below to add the book to your Goodreads TBR!

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