10 Must-Read Modern Retellings of Myths

by Sarah Malik
Modern Retellings of Myths

Books have become our best friends during the pandemic. When all else fails, a good story will pull you out of the slump you find yourself in. Today, mythology is a genre nobody can get enough of. Filled with chaos, excitement, and romance, there is little to complain about when reading stories about heroes and deities fighting for survival. Mythology is heavily incorporated into pop culture, including shows such as “Xena: the Warrior Princess” and “Atlantis”, as well as movies such as Disney’s “Hercules” and “Clash of the Titans”. There has also been an increase in modern retellings of myths, particularly Greek mythology in literature. Percy Jackson just got the ball rolling.

Here’s a list of 10 novels to satisfy your mythology cravings in 2021.

1. Eclipsing Apollo by Sasha Summers

Modern Retellings of Myths

While this title is a part of a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone. The book follows Apollo and the mortal Coronis who are tied into the enemies to lovers trope. Coronis is a strong-willed woman and refuses to stoop low for anyone who offers to court her. While Apollo is the most tempting and smartest choice, being courted by him somehow seems like the worst option as his personality is often childish and infuriating. As the romance between the two characters progresses, trouble brews in the background when multiple Gods plan to tear this couple apart.

2. Circe by Madeline Miller

Modern Retellings of Myths

Praise for this book (and for Madeline Miller!) is never-ending. If you’re searching for a novel with a badass female character, look no further. Circe is an outcast, banished by her father, Zeus, for not inheriting similar powers like her family. Instead, she possesses the power of witchcraft. Readers watch her transform from a gentle-hearted woman to a strong, unwavering hero through each battle she faces. While many mythology books focus on the powerful Gods and Goddesses, Miller gives the underdog a chance to shine. For these reasons, “Circe” is one of the top modern retellings of myths.

3. Persephone’s Orchard by Molly Ringle

Modern Retellings of Myths

The Hades and Persephone stories are widely known, however, Ringle’s modern retelling of these myths is my favorite. Sophie is Persephone’s reincarnate and after meeting Adrian (Hades’s reincarnate) she unlocks a new part of her mind where memories of the past thousands of years live. However, the more she learns, the more danger she gets herself into as she delves deeper into how the Greek Gods were defeated.

4. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

If you want to take a break from all the fighting and bloodshed that comes with Greek mythology, this book is for you. The Olympus deities exist in the 21st century, however, they now have day jobs and spend their days bickering with each other. Their powers are weakening. They’re getting on each other’s nerves. One day, a quarrel gets out of hand and the Gods create a battle that will leave one victorious. This book is very amusing and an easy read.

5. Olympians Series by George O’Connor

This series contains 11 YA graphic novels, and each follows one God and their journey to becoming the powerful deities we know today. The stories range from making readers laugh to making them cry. They all have very high ratings and are easy to understand and enjoy. The illustrations are well done and add excitement to the already exhilarating stories.

6. Lovely War by Julie Berry

This stellar book combines Greek mythology and world history in the most heartbreaking way. It takes place during World War I and II, and is narrated by Greek Gods themselves to explain why war can never be superior to love. The characters must face challenges including survival, romance, and post-war PTSD. You’ll definitely want to reread this book over and over.

7. Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

Photo Courtesy of Amazon

I appreciate the diversity in this retelling as Sirena’s story isn’t one that’s mentioned often. The Sirens are women who lure in travelers with their beautiful voices, often bringing death as ships crash into the rocks surrounding the island the Sirens live on. There is one survivor this time, and Sirena refuses to let him die. He becomes infatuated with her, however, she’s unsure if it’s with her hypnotic voice or her.

8. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

It’s no secret that Riordan takes the crown for best mythology retellings. In this book, Apollo is transformed into a mortal as punishment and seeks help from Camp Half Blood, which we all know makes many appearances in Riordan’s novels. As a God, Apollo had many enemies, and now that he’s mortal, he’s more prone to danger as the news spreads he no longer has his powers to defend himself. The series has five books in total, and once you start reading, you won’t stop until you’re finished with them all.

9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

It’s impossible to get through his book without crying, but you can certainly try your best. The book follows Patroclus who is hated by his father for being weak and unlike other, fearless men. He is exiled and works hard to find the purpose of his existence all alone. While the book doesn’t have that many fighting scenes, this retelling is sure to capture you.

10. Set in Stone by R.C. Berry

“Set in Stone” is a retelling of an underrated character in Greek mythology, Medusa. She wasn’t always the frightening, cold-blooded murderer we know her as. Instead, she was a loving mortal. Her tragic life is explained in this book, and for the first time, we realize that Medusa has been severely misunderstood. This book will make you see her in a new light.

Have you read anything from our list of modern retellings of myths? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author/s

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Student at Rutgers, writer, and avid astrology fan.

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