If you’re already obsessed with the new Disney+ TV series Loki, do we ever have the perfect reading list for you!
There’s much more to Loki than just the Marvel anti-villain most people know—in Norse mythology, Loki is the trickster god of mischief. For centuries, authors have been inspired by myths and legends, so there are always a ton of books that put a new spin on these familiar tales.
If that’s just your speed (or if you just need something to read between episodes of Loki), then these myth-based books are perfect for you!
The Witch's Heart
Genevieve Gornichec’s fantasy epic puts a new spin on Norse mythology—and, yes, Loki is very much involved. The story centers on Angrboda, a witch punished by Odin for refusing to accede to his demands. Her relationship with Loki, and the role their three strange children are fated to play in the devastation of Ragnarok, are also explored.
You know Circe from the legends of Odysseus, but like her previous hit, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller gives us an entirely new perspective on a familiar name. After betraying her immortal “family” by falling for a mortal, the demigoddess Circe is banished to an island. While there, she gains a reputation as a witch, bonds with humanity, and discovers who she truly is.
In her debut novel, Jennifer Saint takes a second look at the story of Ariadne, best known for helping Theseus navigate the labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur. Here, she’s a princess with a strong heart, willing to betray her family for a chance at love and freedom, but her future doesn’t quite pan out the way she’d hoped.
We can’t talk about retellings of myths without bringing Neil Gaiman into the conversation! In these connected tales, Gaiman reimagines the familiar Norse pantheon. This journey will take you from creation to Ragnarok, with an array of human, godly, and magical characters, and their alternately funny and heartrending tales.
Half Sick of Shadows
Camelot is incredibly popular territory for retellings. However, Laura Sebastian’s new novel shines the spotlight on a minor character in Arthurian legend. Elaine of Astolat is best known as the Lily Maid who dies of unrequited love for Lancelot. Here, though, she’s part of a close-knit group of friends who are raised knowing they have fated roles to play. Of course, here their stories aren’t quite the same as what you’ve been told. Release date: July 6.
A Thousand Ships
The Trojan War is usually told through the eyes of epic male heroes, but Natalie Haynes’ retelling takes a different tack. Here, Cassandra, Penelope, and even the goddesses get to tell their stories, fleshing out a world you think you already know.
Alexandra Bracken creates an inventive fantasy that imagines the Greek gods crossing into the modern world. While here, they’re occasionally forced to become mortal and face hunters who want to kill gods to earn immortality. A tragedy-stricken descendant of a legendary family of hunters teams up with a god to get revenge. However, she might get more than she bargained for.
Margaret Atwood’s play on words in the title tells you exactly what to expect here. This is The Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective, along with the 12 hanged maids of the original tale, who turn into a classic Greek chorus. This tale fills in the gaps of the ancient myth with a female-centric epic and a new twist on the traditional heroic form.
From Le Guin, another iconic author of speculative fiction, comes this revision of a near-silent character of myth. This time, it’s Lavinia, the princess and wife of Aeneas. She’s supposedly the mythical ancestor of Rome, but never even gets to speak in the Aeneid. Here, she definitely has a voice as both a princess in a precarious kingdom and a woman taking her fate into her own hands.
Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold
Instead of focusing on just one mythological story, Bolu Babalola revisits iconic myths, legends, and fairy tales from all over the world in this short story collection. She deconstructs familiar tropes and reworks beloved stories into something both recognizable and entirely new.