Book review: Heroes by Stephen Fry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What is it about? Stephen Fry retells the stories of the heroes of Greek mythology. He recounted the adventures of Perseus, Heracles, Bellerophon, Orpheus, Jason, Atalanta, Oedipus and Theseus. The book ends with an afterword where Fry speaks about the stories and their relevance to today’s society.

What did I think? I personally really enjoyed this book. As someone who enjoys reading about myths and legends but doesn’t know a great deal about them, I found it really interesting. There were heroes I had heard of or knew their stories briefly but this book gave more depth and context to what I already knew. He also spoke about heroes I had never heard of which allowed for me to learn something new. I also found that Greek myths are loved by so many people, that having read this I was able to discuss my thoughts and talk about the stories with so many others. I also really enjoyed the voice used to tell the stories, Fry uses humour and sarcasm when telling the stories which I personally loved. The use of footnotes was also really helpful as it gave quick explanations or bits of context where it was needed without disrupting the flow of the story. My only issue with this book was the lengths of the stories. Some were much longer than others, which is understandable, as some had more information that was needed to tell the stories. However, with some of the stories I felt there was too much being said and that made it all very confusing as he jumped between characters (who all had very confusing names) and little bits of context here and there. There were also some stories that I would have loved to read more about. Other than this, it was a greatly enjoyable book, I just found myself having to reread or take it slow over some of the more dense or confusing parts. The afterword was also really interesting as Fry gave his take on the relevance of the Greek myth and the ideas of the different Gods. This was something that allowed me to think about the story in a different light and was a nice idea to end the book with.

Would I recommend? Definitely, especially if the Greek myths are something you are particularly interested in as Fry tells them in a fun yet informative way. Even if you’re not particularly drawn into Greek myths, I’m sure you will be once you read this. It has made me want to read his other book about Greek myths ‘Mythos’ (though I’ve heard you’re meant to read that one first).

What am I reviewing next? A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

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