REVIEW: Heroes by Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry breathes new life into these classic tales of Ancient Greek heroes.

It is no secret that since a child I have had an ongoing fascination with Greek mythology and all the stories of the Greek heroes. Where this interest came from I have no idea but it is still a part of me now – but every book I have read about them as an adult has been a bit of slog – until now.

Stephen Fry’s warm and amusing sense of humour and intelligent writing in Heroes really keeps the heart and drama of the original Greek stories but breathes new life into them to keep them accessible for those who are new to them.

Along with helpful notes about names and places, Heroes is surprisingly straightforward to keep up with given the number of different characters we are introduced to, highlighting the depth of research and understanding that Stephen Fry has applied to this book. He moves through the stories of Perseus, Heracles and Jason with ease and style, capturing the heroes strengths and flaws, exploring why they are still so fascinating to read about today.

The writing is at its strongest when he is recounting the dramatic elements of the story with great vividness – as seen through the stories of Heracles and his twelve labours and Jason on his quest for the golden fleece. It is when Fry breaks the narration with a random aside that draws the audience out of Ancient Greece back to the present day in a way that can prove to be quite distracting.

However, this being said while he is respectful of the stories, he also captures just how over the top and at times ludicrously complicated the relationships are between heroes in an amusing way. The writing is always compelling and enjoyable, making the characters really jump off the page into your imagination – making them relatable had they been around in the the world today.

Overall, this is a thoughtful, intelligent and entertaining retelling of the Greek Heroes stories. It will keep you thoroughly engaged from start to finish whether or not you are already familiar with each hero or not. Thoroughly enjoyable.

By Emma Clarendon

Heroes is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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