Top 10 Queer Myth Retellings | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Myths have always been a conduit for storytelling and cultural expression. They reflect the values and beliefs of a society, often focusing on cisgender, heterosexual narratives. However, a new wave of authors is reshaping these ancient tales and giving them a fresh perspective through a queer lens. These queer myth retellings challenge traditional norms and provide a space to showcase the wealth and beauty of the queer community. Let us delve into the worlds created by these talented authors.

The Goddess of Nothing at All (Unwritten Runes) by Cat Rector

The Goddess of Nothing At All is a compelling exploration of an untold perspective within Norse mythology. While many are familiar with the well-known tales of furious and benevolent gods, Ygdrasill the binding tree that connects the nine realms, and the powerful hammer Mjolnir, this novel delves into a lesser-known character whose story remains untold. Sigyn Odindottir, wife of Loki and daughter of Odin, gets a voice of her own in Rector’s story. Through her, we get to experience love, betrayal, morality, grief, and sexual identity.

The Goddess of Nothing At All presents a dark and unsettling perspective on Norse mythology, focusing on the intricacies and fluidity of the lesser gods.

Herc by Phoenicia Rogerson

Herc offers a fresh and bold retelling of the classic Hercules myth, but with a twist. Instead of focusing solely on Hercules and his renowned twelve labours, this novel shifts the spotlight onto the voices and stories of the often overlooked characters surrounding him. Herc’s knife-weilding mother Alcmene, his friend with benefits Hylas, his tongue-wagging wife Megara and his mentor Eurystheus share their perspective of his adventures.

Through the perspectives of the surrounding characters, the narrative unravels from different angles and unveils the untold stories of the people in Hercules’ life. Rogerson delves into the complexities of relationships, giving voice to Herc’s friends, enemies, wives, children, lovers, rivals, gods, and even victims.

Drag Me Up (Gods of Hunger) by R. M. Virtues

Drag Me Up is a compelling modern retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone. In this version, Hades, known as the Wraith of Khaos Falls, prefers to remain a myth, embracing his solitude and staying hidden in the shadows of Casino Asphodel. He does all the work behind the scenes, allowing Zeus to take the credit. While Persephone has managed to break free from her mother’s shadow and become the lead performer in Calliope’s Cirque production. However, her trust in Zeus has led her into great debt, and she finds solace in ignoring her confinement by continuing to do what she loves.

Drag Me Up beautifully explores finding freedom, overcoming obstacles, and the power of love. R.M. Virtues crafts a modern-day tale that combines the allure of the mythological world with contemporary elements.

Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood

Lies We Sing to the Sea is a charming and immersive retelling of the mythological tale surrounding Queen Penelope’s twelve maids, who were unjustly punished and hung by the order of Ithaca each spring. In this novel, Leto, one of the condemned maidens, finds herself waking up on a mysterious island after her expected death, where she encounters a green-eyed girl named Melantho, who can control the sea.

With its compelling characters, atmospheric setting, and gripping plot, Lies We Sing to the Sea offers a fresh and engaging interpretation of the myth, breathing new life into an ancient narrative and captivating readers with its twists and turns.

Alcestis by Katharine Beutner

Alcestis is a fascinating and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth featuring Alcestis, who is often portrayed as the epitome of the ideal wife. In the original myth, Alcestis sacrifices herself for the love of her husband, Admetus, and descends to the underworld in his place. However, Beutner delves deeper into the story, offering a unique perspective by exploring what happened to Alcestis during the three days she spent in the underworld.

Beutner’s debut novel paints a rich and nuanced portrayal of Alcestis, breaking away from the archetype of the self-sacrificing wife and delving into her individuality and personal growth. This fresh perspective allows readers to see beyond the surface of the myth and explore the complexities of Alcestis’ character.

You Will Not Know Me by My Bones by Aleksander Poulton

You Will Not Know Me By My Bones retells the story of the Eros and Psyche myth, with a twist. This novel pushes the boundaries of what is expected in Greek mythology, as it features a trans witch, Gris, in a love story with the death god Thanatos, whom they meet while performing a ritual to remold their flesh.

You Will Not Know Me By My Bones offers representation for those who have been historically excluded from classic stories. The novel explores the love and life of a trans witch in a complex and tragic world of gods and mortals.

Icarus by K. Ancrum

Icarus is a thrilling novel that centres around the life of Icarus Gallagher, a skilled thief with a unique mission. Icarus’s talents lie in stealing priceless art and replacing it with forgeries created by his father. Their target for years has been Mr. Black, a wealthy man whom they seek revenge against for the death of Icarus’s mother. To protect their secret, Icarus lives by strict rules, keeping people and emotions at a distance and avoiding getting caught.

With its gripping storyline and complex characters, Icarus offers a thrilling exploration of personal growth and the sacrifices one must make for those they care about.

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Outrun the Wind is an enthralling novel that follows the story of Kahina, a former Oracle of Delphi who joins the Huntresses of Artemis. Bound by two important rules – never disobey the goddess and never fall in love – Kahina finds solace among the group of fierce female warriors, utilizing their strength to rebuild her own. However, when Kahina breaks the first rule to save Atalanta, a legendary huntress, she must undertake a dangerous task to regain Artemis’s favour.

This novel delves into the complexities of breaking rules, the consequences of forbidden love, and the strength found in unlikely alliances. Outrun the Wind offers a heart-wrenching story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

The Song of Us by Kate Fussner

The Song of Us tells the story of Olivia and Eden, two seventh graders who fall deeply in love at first sight. Olivia is a talented poet, while Eden dreams of becoming a musician. When Eden joins the Poetry Club, everything changes as their lives become intertwined beautifully.

Kate Fussner’s debut novel explores themes of first love, self-discovery, parental abuse, coming out, and mental health issues. The Song of Us is a true celebration of love, and readers will find themselves rooting for Olivia and Eden’s happily ever after.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

The Witch’s Heart gives readers a fresh and subversive take on Norse mythology. The story follows Angrboda, a banished witch who finds herself falling in love with the trickster god, Loki, despite her initial distrust of him. Together, they have three extraordinary children, each with their own secret destiny. Fearing Odin’s wrath would be turned on her children after she refuses a request by him, she raises the children at the end of the world, far away from the all-seeing eye of the Allfather. She meets the huntress Skadi, who decides to stay and protect the family, and a bond forms between the two women.

Readers will be drawn into the enchanting world of The Witch’s Heart, where mythology and heart-wrenching emotions collide. Genevieve Gornichec’s debut is a must-read for fans of reimagined myths and tales of powerful women who defy expectations.

There we have it. These mythological Queer retellings demonstrate the power of storytelling to reimagine existing narratives and celebrate diversity. So, what is your favourite retelling? Have you read any of these books before? Comment below and Let us know!

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