I have a soft spot for old mythology. In fact, one of the very first books I ever reviewed for the ‘How’s This Book?’ series was a book about Norse mythology! I love studying this stuff; it’s all really weird and interesting!
Greek myths have always been among my favorites. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I’ve always been especially interested in the pantheon of Olympus and the legends of Hercules and Achilles and all the rest. I’ve always found it to be one of the more intriguing mythologies of the world.
And Mythos by Stephen Fry was… sure those.
Mythos goes over many of the tales of ancient Greece. It primarily focuses on the creation myths of the world and the various gods, monsters, and other such beings that inhabit it. From the rise and fall of Kronos to the opening of Pandora’s box to the weaving competition of Arachne and beyond, this book is full of Greek stories both classic and obscure.
While I do find the subject matter very interesting, the book doesn’t always present them in an interesting way. Many of the stories feel like they drag, despite the short length of each chapter. And many of them lack any real charm in their telling, simply being a statement of fact rather than a unique and fun presentation of the classic tale.
The book also goes into extremely graphic detail. Such as when it vividly describes the trails of blood and semen that follow after the severed testicles of Kronos’ father after the titan flings them into the ocean. Accurate to the original stories? 100%. Incredibly uncomfortable to read at times, especially when you’re waiting in line at a public place with people looking over your shoulder? Also 100%.
That’s… about all I have to say about this book, really. It’s a collection of Greek myths, told reasonably well and accurately. If you’re interested in those kinds of stories, give it a shot. If not, maybe look for something else.
I will never get over the testicles thing for as long as I live…
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