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Review: Songs on Bronze: The Greek Myths Made Real

June 24, 2009

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (August 11th 2006)

Paperback: 272 pages

I love myths and legends. I adore them. They are a wonderful document of a culture, a tradition of storytelling that can be seen in most cultures. I’m not to sure what my favourite myths are; the Irish myths with the Children of Lir from the Mythological cycle and the famous Cuchulainn the hero from the Ulster cycle, or the Norse myths with Odin.

Then you have the Greek myths. The myths and legends from Greece were the first taste I had of                        mythology. I   had a book, hardback, with famous tales from around the world. It had Japanese, Chinese, Norse, Irish and Greek (it had more). I remember reading about Heracles and Prometheus bringing fire to the people.

Well, anyway, on to the review. This is a basic book; it has the usual myths i.e. Heracles, Oedipus, Orpheus in the Underworld, Jason and the Argonauts, Odysseus, the Trojan War etc. They’re great stories, and it would be a brilliant book for someone who hasn’t heard of them before.

It’s the kind of book where it’s a good starting point, and then you can go out and get the real meat. It’s an overview rather than an in-depth look. That’s no fault of the book, it isn’t supposed to be.

The major downfall of the book is the writing style. It has no life, no heart to it. Spivey writes clean, there is no emotion. I understand that he probably wanted the story to speak on its own, but I want a little more passion and spark.

Overall, a good attempt to introduce Greek mythology to beginners, but if you have any grounding in the Greek myths get something else.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2009 6:20 am

    That’s too bad there’s no heart. :/ I love myths too, but when they’re told in a way that sucks the life out of them, that’s just sad.

    Have you read Cadmus and Harmony? It’s an approach to the Greek/Roman gods that just might make you re-evaluate them!

    • June 27, 2009 6:21 pm

      I haven’t no, I’ll put it on my “to get later” list. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. June 29, 2009 8:04 pm

    Given your review, I’ll pass on this one.

    One of my first mythology reads was Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. After swiping my dad’s copy numerous times he wizened up and gave it over.

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