Title: The Song of Orpheus
Author: Tracy Barrett (site)
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 1st August 2016
Edition: Digital ARC from NetGalley
Goodreads | Book Depository
The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard is a funny, adventure-filled collection of wonderfully weird “new” Greek myths. This unforgettable collection spins tales of love and loss, hilariously vain superheroes, ancient robots, untrappable giant foxes, men reborn after being torn apart by dragons, and even the world’s first monkeys. A few of these tales may seem familiar at first, but be prepared for the unexpected. Others are wonderfully strange and puzzling. All of them are entertaining. All of them deserve to be better known.
*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
The Song of Orpheus is a book full of lesser known Greek mythology written for children. It is a fun and fast read as the tales are very short.
In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Orpheus, who has been turned into a rock and we, as the readers, have to listen to 17 stories in order to help him reunite with the love of his life, Eurydice. All 17 myths are stories of gods, demi-gods, and heroes who do not get mentioned in the popular tales.
Can’t you see how interesting this book is?
I think The Song of Orpheus would make a great audiobook. Orpheus is a fun storyteller, and the whole book is written in easy English so children can understand what the myths are about and the lessons we can learn from them. I also like how Orpheus often relates the myths to his own story (which makes him sound so real) and to our world. When relating the stories to modern times, he will also state the differences between the ancient society and the modern one. For example, in the stories which involve marriage, Orpheus states how marriage was arranged by parents in the ancient world, but we can have the freedom to marry the ones we love nowadays.
In the myth about Zagreus, Orpheus tells readers that Zagreus was to be Zeus’s heir, but then points out how unreasonable it is: “Zeus is immortal – what’s the point of being his heir if he’s never going to die?” Truth be told, many of the Greek mythology do no make any sense at all, and we never know which one is real but which one we wants to believe. I like how the author didn’t choose to delete this implausible tale but instead included it to remind us myth is just…myth.
My favourites out of the 17 stories are “Don’t Mess with a Superhero”, “But Does She Really Love You?”, “Be Careful What You Wish For”, and “An Oread Scorned”. The appendix is gem. You get to know Greek alphabets and pronunciation, plus a little bit of the differences between Greek, Roman, and Latin.
The only thing I don’t like about this book is the repetitive transitions from one story to another. Orpheus is always mentioning about the sun setting, or counting how many stories he has told or not yet told. This really annoys me. I would prefer him jumping to the next tale right away.
I hope more people know about this book because it is really fun even if you do not know many Greek myths (like me). I would definitely recommend it to anyone with children interested in Greek mythology. Also, I hope there will be a volume 2 since there are still many stories left untold in this one.