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Heroes: Stephen Fry’s Immersive and Fantastic World of Greek Mythology

The book I have read during the holidays is ‘Heroes’, by Stephen Fry. It is a retelling of the stories of Greek mythological heroes, an adventure and fantasy book that I couldn’t put down.

It is set in Ancient Greece, with Stephen Fry, a British national treasure, narrating in the third person. He describes famous myths, like the Labours of Heracles and the Argo, and writes about stories of lesser known heroes, like Oedipus and Atalanta. No matter which hero or heroine he presents, you are left feeling the same amount of compassion for each of them. Some heroes share their timeline, which makes it all the more interesting. It also gives you an insight into their real personality, beyond the boring texts that just state what happened. For instance, Heracles was in fact probably a lot more short tempered than we know him to be (he had the blood of about 100 people on his hands, 20 of those being family members).

But what I really like about this book is the mix of suspense and humour, how none of the stories are boring because of the way that he really makes them relatable and relevant to today. His use of vocabulary really suits the book, and the simple eloquence makes me wonder why he isn’t better known for his work.

I liked myths before I read ‘Heroes’, but you don’t need to have even heard of them to read and enjoy this book. Perhaps you could even argue that this might make them better. I would really recommend this novel to anyone that enjoys something that really bring the myths and heroes to life, rather than a long and interminable novel. The myths alone are great, but with Fry writing they are better.

Lorenzo N, Year 8

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