Tag Archives: Mythology

Labyrinth by Ron Currie, Jr.

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Labyrinth
Author: Ron Currie, Jr.
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Rambling
Dates read: 18th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s not as though Americans invented this type of justification for murder, of course.

Synopsis

Once there was a boy whose father built a labyrinth.

This is a different story from the one you know. This father didn’t build the labyrinth to imprison a half-man, half-bovine monster. He didn’t build it to appease a king. No one’s going to fashion wings out of feathers and wax, and no one will plummet into the ocean to demonstrate the price of hubris.

Thoughts

I spent a lot of time reading this short story, trying to figure out how, in fact, it WAS a story. And then I got to that last page which said this was a non-story and I felt far less stupid and lame.

The labyrinth is something that I’ve always imagined as being rambling and nonsensical. Impossible to define or hold onto. Kind of like memories… and for me, this whole story was a metaphor for that illusivity.

This was disgustingly enjoyable and fun. It was really hard to keep track of and follow, but that’s what I loved so much about it.

<- DevouringsThe Last Flight of Daedalus ->

Image source: Goodreads

Devourings by Aimee Bender

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Devourings
Author: Aimee Bender
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Mythology
Dates read: 15th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Same with the worms.

Synopsis

The ogre’s wife was a good woman. She was not an ogre, but she was ugly, by human standards, and she had married the ogre because he was strong and productive, and together they had made six small ogre children. The children all took after their father.

Thoughts

I’ve read the story of the human tricking the ogre into eating his own children a few times. I’d never thought if what it was like for the mother of those children though. Or even what the father felt after he did such a terrible thing…

The way this story turned those ideas and fairy tales on their head was brilliant. There’s also a cake that replenishes itself and a cloak that hides you in plain sight. The woman in this feels… in pain after her children are eaten, but still very much in love with her husband. It gives a whole heap more humanity to the “bad guys” of the original fairy tale.

Going in a pilgrimage of sorts to heal after losing your children is completely understandable. I love how this mother and woman just… takes it in stride and lives and experiences things to let herself heal. There is no hatred and horror, just a way of moving towards a new future.

<- Modern CoyoteLabyrinth ->

Image source: Goodreads

Modern Coyote by Shane Jones

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Modern Coyote
Author: Shane Jones
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!),
My Bookshelves: Horror, Mythology
Dates read: 10th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: His ears were more prominent and they too had gray hair.

Synopsis

After the doctor gave them the choice, they took their baby home. “He’s here,” said Ben, into the phone. “They let us leave.”

Thoughts

This was one of those jumpy stories that doesn’t quite feel complete. And thus is fat more horrifying. Its uncomfortable and confusing, with so many things left unsaid. Which honestly just added to the appeal.

I think this story felt more horrifying and uncomfortable to me because there was a new born baby in it. And the whole expecting thing made that so much realistic… and triggering.

I actually liked this. It didn’t feel hugely like a coyote story to me, but it was brilliant. And horrifying. And twisty.

<- Henry and BoobooDevourings ->

Image source: Goodreads

Henry and Booboo by Elanor Dymott

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Henry and Booboo
Author: Elanor Dymott
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Mythology
Dates read: 5th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: She did up the last of her buttons and she dropped to the floor and put her head down to tie her laces and still he thought it would be all right and she’d turn and walk away, but then suddenly he couldn’t hold his breath anymore and it came out in a kind of a grunt, and she flicked her head back and saw him.

Synopsis

It would be eight years before he told her he’d killed them. Or at least, before he told her he held himself responsible for their deaths, which at the time were put down to natural causes: dehydration, the heat of the sun, overexertion.

Thoughts

This was both kind of brilliant and super disturbing… I enjoyed the reading of it. But there comes a certain point when you feel…. seriously uncomfortable about what’s happening in the story line.

What I found most difficult about this story was the open ended nature of the tale. The fact that the bad guy really didn’t get his comeuppance (which I like). But there is definitely a hint of it…

The little bit at the end about the original story and how these themes were intertwined. But it was completely brilliant. Just not for the faint of heart.

<- The Veiled ProphetModern Coyote ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Veiled Prophet by David B.

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: The Veiled Prophet
Author: David B.
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Graphic novels, Mythology
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: It was said that Simorgh the bird strode at the head of this veiled man’s perennially victorious army.

Synopsis

A nice, short comic retelling of the Prophet of the Veil. This was dark, complex and fun.

Thoughts

This would have been a creepy and disturbing story in prose. The fact that it was illustrated just helped to drive that home. It was just… unsettling. Particularly by the end of the story.

This story made me think about all of the things and “falsities” that we trap ourselves with. It makes me seriously question the different things in life that tie and trap us.

This was dark and fun. A story that I would read again. It was surprising, and I found it a great little journey down the well hole… pun intended.

<- Friend RobinHenry and Booboo ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Sons of Ra by Helen Scott Taylor

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: The Sons of Ra
Author: Helen Scott Taylor
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: The highlights in his hair shone guinea gold in contrast to the black trousers and black leather jacket he’d donned for their night foray.

Synopsis

A trip for information takes Trish back to the man that broke her heart twenty years ago. But finding out that he hasn’t age is just the tip of this very confusing iceberg.

Thoughts

I thought that the concept of this story was unique and cute. It didn’t necessarily completely hook me. But I did find it enjoyable. Which, for me, is enough. It was fun and easy and just… cute.

I love the integration of Egyptian mythology into this story. It was a little surprising and very enjoyable. It was also not something I see very much. I tend to find most of the stories I read featuring mythology feature Greek, roman or norse.

Trish’s desire to choose her own destiny and not fall for the man she loves mindlessly made me incredibly happy. I mean, she has a right to be pissed (I think she didn’t quite make him work hard enough for forgiveness to be honest. But, she still kept her head high. So alls well that ends well.

<- NightDrakeEve of Warfare ->

Image source: Amazon

Mr Sandman by Sherri Browning Erwin

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: Mr Sandman
Author: Sherri Browning Erwin
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Greek mythology, Mythology, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Not just vultures, but also owls and woodpeckers.

Synopsis

After pulling a man from the surf and saving his life, her own life is about to change. Forever. She just has to have the guts to save her sandman.

Thoughts

It became obvious kind of early on that the man in this story was a Greek god. What I didn’t expect was which Greek god it was. And how the whole storyline was likely to play out. This took a serious departure from all of my normal expectations of paranormal romances and stories which feature mythology.

I like that this is kind of a story about rebuilding oneself. About Emma who has said goodbye to all she knows and found a way to start her life completely anew. As a feminist, I’m not completely keen on the fact that she creates her whole new life based around a man. But, as someone who just generally enjoys romances… it was cutesy.

There is something about the beach that seems to highlight new beginnings and hope. Or at least, that’s how it always feels for me. It’s like a recharging station. So it is the perfect setting for this romance, and it is that imagery that I can’t get out of my head as I’m writing this review… not the actual romance in and of itself.

<- The GetawayThe Sin-Eater’s Promise ->

Image source: Amazon

Devils and Details by Devon Monk

Overview
Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic, #2) by Devon Monk

Title: Devils and Details
Author: Devon Monk
Series: Ordinary Magic #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 26th April 20
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Odd House Press
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Thank you so much, Thor.

Synopsis

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon – just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all-god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

Thoughts

I forgot how much I enjoyed the world building in this series. I love the idea of gods on vacation and having a sheriff to try and control the insanity that will surely follow. I mean, after all, gods are known for being unpredictable, and well, frankly, nuts… so it makes sense that they need a sheriff to keep them all under control. The fact that it’s Delaney and her sisters just makes it all that much more likeable.

This story careens from insane moment to insane moment. It left me smiling and giggling all throughout. And, for most of the tale, I wasn’t really sure of where this story was going to take me… I mean, god powers being stolen, vampires being murdered, past loves trying to reconnect… there is a whole lot in this that is fun and sassy. And completely unpredictable. Which I think all stories of gods should be if I’m being honest.

I did kind of predict what Ryder’s secret and reason for breaking up with Delaney were. Even then, the actual explanation was a little more than I had hoped for (yay). I loved their dynamic throughout this. Alongside the protectiveness of Delaney’s two sisters – I mean, what are sisters if not beautifully and ridiculously protective?

This story ends with a war on the horizon, and a missing vampire. I can’t wait to see where they went / what happened and where the story is going to take us from here… bring on the next novel in this series!

<- Death and RelaxationGods and Ends ->

Image source: Goodreads

Friend Robin by Maile Chapman

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Friend Robin
Author: Maile Chapman
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Mythology
Dates read: 16th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: We’d seen it before we made an offer, of course, but we hadn’t been back inside since the inspection, not until after the house closed, when, keys in hand, we came to make plans.

Synopsis

I knew well that my mother had been wanting to move closer to me for some time, so when she took a fall on the sidewalk outside her senior apartment complex back east I broke her lease and brought her to Nevada.

Thoughts

I love any tale that there is about Brownies. They are just such a great form of fae. One that I am more than a little obsessed with. But I really wasn’t expecting to find a brownie story in a collection of mythology retellings. Not really sure why though…

This is a great modern-day version of the brownie tale. And a warning about thanking these fae. I love the connection between Robin and the narrators’ mother and how protective Robin is. What a wonderful modern-day version of an age-old tale.

Honestly, this is the whole reason that you should always try and honour brownies or spirits. Try not to be aggressive and disrespectful in the moments that you can be.

<- SawdustThe Veiled Prophet ->

Image source: Goodreads

Sawdust by Edward Carey

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: Sawdust
Author: Edward Carey
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Mythology
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: In those long-ago days there were other people in their lives presumably, they moved about, they entered other people’s houses.

Synopsis

They’re just remembered as the two old people in the village. But their story will make you stop and think.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed the sweetness of this short story. Particularly when considering that it is also kind of creepy at the same time. The balance of sweet and wonderful with the slightly more horrific and dark feeling of this story worked wonderfully.

The idea of two elderly people who don’t want to live without one another is seriously cute. It’s also something that I can completely understand – I can’t imagine not having my partner by my side at all moments. Which made the ending of this story even more sweet and gorgeous.

All in all, I seriously and ridiculously enjoyed this short story. It was just a lot of fun and felt incredibly loving.

<- The SistersFriend Robin ->

Image source: Goodreads