Pantheon by Hamish Steele

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[Edit: Originally published October 29, 2018]

With page after page of jokes that will have you rolling with laughter, Pantheon has to be one of the best retellings of the Egyptian Osiris myth that I have ever seen. Featuring such events as, masturbating the universe into existence, giving birth to someone that already existed and Set being a notorious cock, if you enjoy the buckwild nature of ancient mythologies, then Pantheon is right up your alley.

For those unfamiliar with the Osiris myth, it tells the story of Egypt’s creation prominently featuring Osiris, his wife Isis, his brother Set and his son Horus. After Set steals the throne of Egypt from and attempts to murder Osiris (see “notorious cock”), first by trapping him in a box and sending him down the Nile and then by cutting him up into pieces and scattering him across Egypt, Isis endeavors to have their son Horus reclaim the throne. Seems straightforward, what could go wrong? The answer, of course, is everything.

On top of the hilarious story, the art is incredible. The way that Set is drawn in particular is utterly delightful, and it does an amazing job at portraying Set’s personality through his movements and appearance. Set isn’t the only character this is true for, the body language for all the characters is wonderfully vivid. The art plays off the comedic text, and visa versa, perfectly. It wouldn’t be the same book if it was done as just text instead of as a graphic novel. Between the images and the text there isn’t a single joke in the book that falls flat. There are so many good goofs that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite.

I am going to wrap this up with a few words of warning. This is not a safe for work book, there is on page sex and no shortage of nudity. There is also a not insignificant amount of gore, see Sehkmet’s rampages and Osiris’s dismemberment, however, the cartoony art style does do some work to mitigate the effect of the gore. There are cartoony intestines though, I will say that. There are also numerous points throughout the book where incest is brought up, as many of the major players in the Egyptian pantheon are related, all being children of Nut and Geb. Isis and Osiris are siblings, for example.

If you are interested in going on a wild ride through Egyptian mythology Pantheon can be found here.

Related Reviews: The Song of Achilles

Snaps are under a cut for NSFW: 

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

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[Edit: Originally published January 7, 2017]

A delightfully funny and entertaining read. An angel and demon who are kind of friends, a misplaced anti-christ, the four horse persons of the apocalypse, and the one single prophetess who was actually right with her predictions. 

It’s got a pretty large cast of characters, which are helpfully listed in a “Dramatis Personae” section at the beginning of the book. Despite the cast sized it’s pretty easy to keep track of all the story lines in the book. Except for one small section that involves playing the cup and ball game with three babies. I found it a bit confusing to read, but much easier to understand when listened to once I got my hands on the audiobook.

There isn’t a moment that you’re bored as Aziraphale and Crowley (the aforementioned angel and demon), and the rest of the cast work, their way through the days leading up to the apocalypse that they’re trying to stop. Though Aziraphale and Crowley aren’t actually supposed to be trying to stop it, ineffability and all that.

A few notes about the audiobook specifically. I really enjoyed the way the narrator, Martin Jarvis, did the voices for everyone. Each character had their own specific voice and they were really good and fit the characters really well. My only complaint would be that I didn’t think Pollution’s voice was quite slimy enough, however, that’s on me, because I’m very picky about anything regarding Pollution since he’s my favorite character. 

Martin Jarvis was also very clear with his speaking and was very easy to understand. I found his voice very pleasant to listen to. For readers who enjoy and/or prefer audiobooks, I would really recommend this one. It’s very good.

Warnings: 

There are some sexist, racist, and one homophobic comment(s). These however reflect the opinions of specific characters and not the book in general. 

The homophobic remark really caught me off guard when I was listening, because I’d forgotten about it. It’s a miscommunication about the word “faggot.” One character is using it in the very archaic sense to mean, a bundle of wood the person he’s talking to assumes it’s meant as the slur. I found it tasteless, but all in all it’s really the only even semi-large beef I have with the book. 

You can find the book here.

Related Reviews: The Graveyard Book

No snaps, because audiobook. I will however, leave you with a quote, because I love it so much. 

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. (This is not actually true. The road to Hell is paved with frozen door-to-door salesmen. On weekends, many of the younger demons go ice skating down it.)” – Good Omens

Changing Times by Dakota Collins

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[Edit: Originally published June 29, 2016]

The gods have slipped into obscurity and with this their powers are dwindling, some are doing better than others.

Dionysus has all but isolated himself from the other gods, that is, until he runs into Apollo busking on the street. Apollo and Dionysus don’t have the best history but Dionysus doesn’t want to let go of this connection and comes up with an excuse to get Apollo to stay. Well it’s half excuse, half actual problem. 

Zeus has disappeared and Demeter is throwing a fit (see: global warming). The best person to get Demeter to stop throwing a fit is Zeus. Cue road-trip music. First stop Hermes. From there’s it’s bouncing to Aphrodite in Hollywood and then trying to talk to Hera. When they do find Zeus… he’s not very helpful. A trip to see Hades and Persephone gets them more information but not entirely what they’d hoped. 

Of course as with any good road-trip story, Apollo and Dionysus don’t get along (they have a history which makes it difficult) however, times are changing and Aphrodite sees something there. And we all know what Aphrodite’s best at. 

The book is great and the humor is fantastic and well placed, but not overwhelming. It also keeps some of the heavier plot bits from being overwhelmingly dark. Some of my favorite bits include:

  • Apollo wearing nothing but band T-shirts and calling emoji’s “emo-knees”.
  • Dionysus has a mohawk.
  • Aphrodite is on a mission to get Dionysus into pants that accentuate his thighs and is also in a poly relationship with Ares and Hephaestus.

The ending while not wholly positive (they’re not able to solve the Demeter problem) sees Dionysus and Apollo get together and be happy together, and things are changing for the better as Apollo gets some of his lost power back. 

If you’re a fan of Greek Mythology, I would definitely recommend checking out this book. It’s very fun and well written. 

@bacchusofficial
@bacchusvevo

You can get the book here.

Related reviews: The Song of Achilles, Love in the Time of Global Warming

Snaps:

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9:46AM  |   URL: https://tmblr.co/ZyG1dh28bHpew
(Notes: 73)  FILED UNDER: changing timesmythologygreek mythologylgbtqgaybisexualpolyamorylgbtq fictiongreek mythqueer fictionfictionebooksdakota collinsbook reviewdionysusapolloaphroditehephaestusares

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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[Edit: Originally published on June 4, 2016]

I was in middle school, seventh, possibly eighth grade, when I attempted to struggle my way through the Iliad. I did it. I don’t remember it, but I did it. Either way, years later when I was just starting college, I heard about The Song of Achilles. It was the story of Patroclus and Achilles from the Iliad, but more accessible and with a focus on all the gay shit. 

It was the first LGBTQ book I ever read and boy did I need it. [Edit: This was not actually the first book LGBTQ book I ever read, but it was the first book I read after I came out. There was a book I forgot about. Whoops.] I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about my gender identity or sexuality at the time. I was trying to feel it out but I was being hammered with a million things that made me doubt and I was scared and this book was a life-line for me. Something queer I could hold on to. I can’t remember how many times I read it that summer. It was the one book I brought to Canada with me when we went to visit my mom’s extended family. I was surrounded by people I didn’t know and I was being misgendered 24/7, but I had my binder and I had this book.

The Song of Achilles, the story of Achilles and his lover Patroclus, is told from Patroclus’ perspective. We don’t meet Achilles right away. We meet him early, but he isn’t named until later. We meet Achilles when Patroclus meets Achilles, because this is after all Patroclus’s story of Achilles and Patroclus does not meet Achilles properly until he is ten. From there we see them go from friends to lovers.

The lovers part is what is so important about this book. This is not a book about the Trojan War, thought the Trojan War does happen in it. This is not a story about Achilles though it is about Achilles. It’s first and foremost a story about Achilles and Patroclus. There is a reason that Patroclus is the narrator. 

Patroclus allows us to see the human behind the legend that is Achilles, but we also can never forget that Achilles is half-god and more importantly, we get to see Patroclus. We get to Patroclus grow alongside Achilles. I knew the name Achilles long before I knew the name Patroclus. I think it’s time more people learned about Patroclus.

Now does this book answer the eons-old question of did Achilles top or bottom. No it doesn’t. But it far beats out the adaptations where they try to tell you that Achilles and Patroclus were cousins. They weren’t they were lovers and The Song of Achilles gives you their story. 

The biggest warning I would give for this book would be for rape, and discussion of rape. The scenes where this happens are sparse, and you should be able to skip over them without interfering with your understanding of the story.

You can find the book here.

Related Reviews: Changing Times, Love in the Time of Global Warming

Snaps:

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Irish Wonders: The Ghost, Giants, Pookas, Demons, Leprechawns, Banshees, Fairies, Witches, Widows, Old Maids, And Other Marvels Of The Emerald Isle… by David Rice McAnally Jr.

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[Edit: Originally published on April 18, 2018]

Originally published in 1888, this book is a primary source text of stories from Ireland. The stories are told in a combination of exposition text for the stories and then dialogue of the people who are telling the stories. The dialogue is written in what’s supposed to be a very heavy colloquial dialect complete with accent. I’ll leave it to an actual Irish person to determine if it’s in any way a fair portrayal.

The stories are a combination of the early Pagan mythologies as well as Christian mythologies. You have fairies and leprchawns and other creatures (Pookas for example) attached to the devil, to go along with the stories of Saints and the Devil himself. Fairies, it’s said, are low ranking angels who went with the Devil but were not sent to hell with him. Giants we learn in the story about them, appear to follow the Bible. The one story in the book that didn’t really have any Christian mythologies added to it was the one about the Banshee. The final story in the book, “The Defeat of the Widows” was as well more about traditions continued from the “pagan” mythologies as opposed to having much Christian mythology added to it, though there are notes of it present.

Three stories, “About the Fairies”, “The Banshee”, and “The Henpecked Giant” all included sheet music within the stories. 

In total there are fourteen stories that make up the book. 

It’s a bit of a difficult book to read on a very technical level. I found my eyes straining if I read to long. 

It should be noted that is not a reprint of a book published in 1888, it’s a preservation of an original text. The book is essentially a scanned copy of the original manuscript. The text, as you will see in the snapchats, is not the easiest on the eyes. There are also small parts of the text that are missing, either too damaged to reproduce or had gotten torn out of the original copy, which I believe is the case in at least one of the missing areas. They aren’t particularly large areas though so nothing drastic is lost. You can still make coherent sense of what is going on even with the missing bits.

The original manuscript copied here belongs to Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington and was originally published by The Riverside Press at Cambridge. 

I think if you’re interested it might be worth it to take a look, I found it very interesting for the historical value and how different some of the stories were to the ones I already knew. The stories while interesting do have a very Christian tone, so if you’re looking for a book of Irish mythologies prior to the introduction of Christianity to Ireland, I would recommend another book. 

For those who are interested, the book can be purchased here.

The Snapchats: 

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