Posted March 17, 2013 by in New Reads

Empowering Female Fiction: Greek Goddess Heroines

There has been a rise in Greek mythology based fiction ever since Percy Jackson hit the bestsellers lists, but the recent trends in protagonists have lately been heroines rather than heroes. Empowering women to believe in themselves, slay their own monsters, and then fall in love on their own terms, authors hand women the reigns to the chariot in the following list of mythology inspired fiction.

Empowering and action-packed goddess fiction by Tera Lynn Chids

Empowering and action-packed goddess fiction by Tera Lynn Chids

Sweet Venom, a story about the decedents of Medusa

will make you wish you had a pair of your own sharp, venomous fangs. When you read about how Gretchen slays the mythological monsters in Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, Grace digitizes the bestiary of supernatural baddies, and Greer finds her fangs for the first time, you will be hooked on this three part series. It takes place in modern day San Francisco, a charming setting where the characters dine on dim sum, ride the trolley, and wander the packed streets. Grace is an adopted teen whose family has just moved to the Northern Californian city on the bay. Having never seen any monsters before , Grace panics when she sees and then smells a minotaur for the first time.

Once Grace spots a girl who looks exactly like herself, she is scared but excited. Being adopted is not a big deal in Grace’s family, but she has always wondered if she has any biological relatives out there. The fact that the girl is her identical twin is undeniable, spurring Grace on to approach the girl and ask her about the strange monsters and the fact she can actually smell their stench before she spots them. Grace’s twin, Gretchen is initially not as interested in being friends with Grace, but once the girls discover that Gretchen’s aunt is missing and that they may be actually be triplets, the story gains momentum.

The Greek mythology references are limited and some artistic license is taken with the story of Medusa, but Childs does a great job of weaving threads of ancient legend into a titillating and exciting modern novel. It seems that the author intends to introduce a romance for each heroine in each book. Sweet Venom introduces the love interest for Grace, laying out some steamy scenes with one of her brother’s friends. While Grace flutters her eyelashes whenever Milo is around, the monsters keep showing up and ruining the romance. Pick up Sweet Venom for some female empowered fiction with some romance thrown in for good measure.


Meg Cabot's Abandon is mythology based fiction, using the Persephone/Hades relationship

Meg Cabot’s goddess fiction about an empowering story of a girl who survives a near death experience and falls for a god

In Meg Cabot’s Abandon, Pierce has a near death experience

which she recounts in terrifying detail having drowned in a swimming pool. Her family and friends whispered that her brush with death left her strange, not quite right. The psychologists all assure her that the frightening experiences that she keeps reliving could never have happened. Her memory of her grandfather’s funeral when she was a little girl are marred by a childish mind. The handsome, somber young man she remembers could never have existed.

Pierce’s mother moves her to a tropical island off the coast of Florida called Isla Hueso, where Pierce is given a chance at a fresh start at a new school. Pierce tries hard to fit in, participating in the yearly tradition of building and hiding a coffin with the students from her school, but the memories from her past haunt her. When more than memories follow her to Isla Hueso, Pierce knows she must take responsibility for her own fate and seeks out the young man she remembers from that funeral so long ago.

Pierce, the novel’s main character, is scatter-brained, compassionate, and charmingly forgetful at times, but altogether appealing as a main character. If you are looking for romance, you will have to be patient with this plot which does not get truly amorous until the final chapter. Cabot’s sequel, Underworld, is sure to delve further into this aspect, though. The setting of Abandon is Isla Hueso which is in Key West. Surprisingly, Spanish speakers actually refer to Key West as Cayo Hueso, which means Bone Key, a nice touch on Cabot’s part. Really fun, interesting, and adding quite a bit to the storyline, the setting of Isla Hueso features some local legends, rituals, and crazy weather that provide the perfect tumultuous venue for the god of death and a girl who just happened to have gotten involved with him.

Empowering retelling of Persephone/Hades myth

Empowering retelling of Persephone/Hades myth

A modern retelling of the Greek myth about the seasons, Persephone

is a story in which supernatural powers are given back to the goddess Persephone despite the fact everyone is trying to protect her. Exciting, upbeat, fun, and romantic, this title is a true delight for those looking for a light YA read. The setting is modern day Athens, Georgia where a girl named Persephone wants to be known by her middle name, Kora, since no one ever pronounces her first name correctly. She loves her Latin class, hanging out with her best friend Melissa, working in her mom’s flower shop, driving out of town to see her favorite musician, and eating a strictly vegan diet. She’s a likable character in a super adorable kind of way. That’s all before the scary things start happening: cold waves of snow seem to be pushing her Volkswagon bug with flower shaped headlights off of the road, but none of the other cars seem to be affected. It isn’t long before Persephone’s mom Demeter tells her that she’s a goddess and that her best friend is a priestess. Surprisingly, the character acts as anyone else would act. She’s convinced her mom has gone crazy, and gets in her car to drive away from her in seek of help. When her best friend confirms what her mother has said, she doesn’t know what to do. That’s when the bad guy steps in.

You’ll love the plot twists that keep you reading until the very end. In fact, once you’re at the end, there’s an unresolved conflict that will make you want to read the next book, Daughter of Earth and Sky. The author’s knowledge of Greek myth and her ability to slide tidbits of actual mythological references here and there are impressive and add much to the story.


The heroine clings desperately to the hope of keeping her mother alive in The Goddess Test

The heroine clings desperately to the hope of keeping her mother alive in The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter is a story where nothing is

what it appears to be at first glance. Kate’s mother is terminal and is most definitely dying. There is nothing that can save her and Kate is devastated because her mother is her closest friend. As a last request, Kate’s mom wants to return to the town where she grew up, a place in the middle of Michigan that no one has ever heard of. While Kate obliges her dying mother, she hates to leave her beloved home in New York City where her favorite spot is Central Park and she knows the streets like the back of her hand. Scared that her mom will die when she is not home, Kate avoids her classmates and shuns invitations. When the school jock shows an interest in Kate, Ava, the jock’s girlfriend, insists on getting to know her better. Things go from bad to worse really quickly, leaving Kate with some heavy decision making to do. The apathetic yet handsome character of Henry makes promises that seem too good to be true for Kate, causing her to stay at the ominous gated mansion with him as she clings to desperate hope. Once Kate discovers that she is supposed to pass some test and that all the other girls Henry has invited before have been murdered, she realizes her stay in the mysterious mansion will not be a comfortable one.

Unexpectedly lighthearted, this read gives readers an opportunity to indulge in some steamy romance while the twists and turns of the plot keep the story suspenseful. Trying to guess who the modern interpretations of classical Greek gods were in the novel is fun and puts a creative twist on the story as a whole. Since Carter does not specifically out each character as the god counterpart they are acting as, their characters get a chance to develop independently of any preconceived notions. The outcome of The Goddess Test is sure to surprise, so expect the unexpected!

Empowering Female Fiction: Greek Goddess Heroines 5.00/5 (100.00%) 1 vote

Lauren V. Bryant

Having studied library and information sciences in a graduate program at San Jose State University, Lauren is a professional librarian who has worked in middle school, high school, and public libraries with teen patron groups. Favorite genres include fantasy, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and stories with strong female characters. Check out Lauren's website, LaurentheLibrarian.com for book reviews, giveaways, and library stuff. Check out all my articles.