Cover Image: Mythologica

Mythologica

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Member Reviews

I love Greek Mythology, but I did not really love Mythologica by Stephen P. Kerhshaw. Illustrated by Victoria Topping, this book exists as an introductory encyclopedia to Greek Mythology and the important figures throughout its stories. From mighty Zeus to the not as mighty as he thinks King Midus, this book features a broad spectrum of the characters of ancient Greek mythology. The thing that really stuck with me through this one, though, is that I'm not really sure who it's intended for.

Knowing Your Audience

I don't feel like Mythologica really knows its audience. On the one hand, it's suggested that the book is marketed for middlegrade readers. That said, I don't really imagine this age group really finding any reason to want to read this story. The text is too small and crowded to hold a child's interest and, on top of all that, the artwork is far too outlandish. 

So, teenagers then? This is perhaps the only age group that I could really see. The material is far too introductory for this to be a worthwhile read for most adults, especially adults who already know about Greek mythology. At best, I could see this as a great book for an Aunt to gift to a niece or nephew who is interested in these kinds of stories--one who is closer to the ages of 12-15. Still, that artwork, though.

And, at the end of the day, I just don't see this as a book meant for adult readers. There are far better and more informative texts out there to satisfy that curiosity. 

The Artwork

I was gonna have to comment on this sooner or later, but what is with the artwork? I won't say that it's bad, because it's not. But it is so out there that it definitely isn't to my tastes. It's also the last thing that I would ever expect to depict the characters of Greek mythology. The style of it all just doesn't match. This is not an art style befitting of these stories. It doesn't fit and I don't care for it. 

And, at the end of the day, it's just very out there. I don't feel like I'm reading a book about Greek mythology when I pick up this book and look at the illustrations. And it took me out a bit. 

So...

In the end, I think the best thing I have to say about this book is that it's not bad...but it could have been much better. 

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review will be live on the Reader Fox blog on October 9, 2020.
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'Mythologica: An encyclopedia of gods, monsters, and mortals from ancient Greek' by Stephen P. Kershaw with illustrations by Victoria Topping is a gorgeously illustrated book featuring 50 icons from Greek mythology.

Starting with Zeus and including Achilles, Pandora and Medusa along the way, this book features over 100 items.  Also featured are entries on The 12 Labors of Hercules and The Trojan War.  Each biography is 2 pages with one page giving information, including the original Greek name or variants in other mythology.  The opposing page features a lush interpretation of the icon in eye-popping color.  

I've read a few of these greek mythology summaries lately.  The summary info is about the same here, but slightly better with the Greek names included.  What makes this book stand out among the others is the art.  Victoria Topping's designs are visually stunning.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Quarto Publishing Group - Wide Eyed Editions and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
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A beautiful take on mythology!

The artwork in this was beautiful. I have always loved mythology and I feel like this book is an excellent way for those who haven’t read much on mythology before to start or develop an interest in it!
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4.5 stars.

Reading mythology is always a fun read for me and this book was great! The artstyle is stunning and I love that it has some techno vibes with the modern art (check the cover to have an idea of the artstyle).
I'm shocked everytime of what and who Zeus slept  and had a child with.

The book was concise with general information. The only thing I hated was the quoted text since it's the same information as the one in the paragraph so I didn't see the point of it there repeated. Another problem for me was how some parts were worded since I wasn't sure who they were talking about exactly. Also, the sypnosis mentioned that it's alphabetical but my ebook copy wasn't so... I'm not sure?

Overall, it was an amazing read with a mesmerizing art for each god that was featured. I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes mythology to add this beautiful piece to their collection solely for the art.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with the digital copy for an honest review.
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A mythological masterpiece!

As a massive fan of myths and legends, Mythologica, has without a doubt become my go to recommendation for those wanting a perfect introduction into Greek mythology.
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An illustrated encyclopedia of Greek mythology like no other, Mythologica features portraits of mythological characters in eye-popping color from artist Victoria Topping and authoritative text from Classics scholar and Greek mythology expert Dr. Stephen Kershaw.

The art in this book is incredible. Victoria Topping is exquisite on every page of this book. From the incredible Dionysus that just pops off the page, to Narcissus which is as beautiful as he believed himself to be to the creatures such as Centaurs that are featured in this book, Mythologica is a pandora’s box of wonderful art and so deserves to be taken in for that alone.

However this book is wonderfully fleshed out by Kershaw. Connecting the dots between different gods and giving us a fantastic picture of what these Gods do and their histories, Mythologica is a good gift for anyone with a fascination in classics and mythology - Kershaw uses simple language and defines the words we need to understand perfectly throughout this book. 

I feel like sometimes I wanted more in moments, however this is a wonderful book that just captures what you need to know about about the gods of the period and would be a perfect gift for anyone fascinated in the topic, especially with such great art.  

(I received an ARC from Netgalley for honest review).
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The images and artwork throughout this book are stunning!
I have pre-ordered the book for our home library just based on that fact.

As a basic encyclopedia of Greek mythology, this book also delivers nicely. The information, stories, and fun facts are great for my child (8-years-old) and can serve as a starting point for learning mythology for older groups, though they will need to use other resources for more in-depth information. 

Definitely recommend this book!
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Love the descriptions of each god or mythological being mentioned in the book. The illustrations/artwork are captivating and it's fun to read the descriptions and then seeing if you find the bits mentioned on the accompanying page. This is a great book for older kids and adults who are interested in learning more about mythology and the prominent players.
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5★
“Greek mythology is everywhere.
Superstar athletes have the Midas touch, fashion designers have their muses, we undertake Herculean tasks, we make personal odysseys, and we all have our Achilles heel. This book gives you a selection of some of the greatest mortals, immortals, and monsters in Greek mythology.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. What that doesn’t say is how fantastically imaginative and stunning the illustrations are! And they aren’t just odd sketches to flesh out a bit of narrative text, they are full-blown works of art of such a modern style, that young people will relate to the gods and goddesses as they would rock stars. This is the stuff of album covers – the ones that end up in art galleries, I mean.

I was instantly reminded of David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust incarnation. See what you think. 
[My Goodreads and Amazon reviews include five illustrations.]

The first illustration is of Narcissus, gazing at himself in the pool

His name is in everyday use when we speak of narcissistic behaviour (self-love), but so are the names of a surprising number of other gods and goddesses.

“Greek names can be really difficult, and there are lots of different ways of spelling them in English. Achilles is really Akhilleus in Greek; Clytemnestra is actually Klytaimnestra; and Oedipus is called Oidipous. Sometimes the Greek gods and heroes are given Roman names too, so Odysseus becomes Ulysses, and Zeus becomes Jupiter or Jove! So we’ve chosen the most familiar spellings, but given you their names in real Greek too!”

The king of them all is Zeus, and the author doesn’t mince words about his colourful history – married to his sister, children with many other women – quite the player! Tell me he doesn’t look a bit like a bikie gang-leader here!

The second illustration is of Zeus, King of the Gods. God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice

I can see that as a poster on a wall that would rival those from rock concerts. The next is a goddess whose name has been adopted by both environmentalists and new-age alternative lifestylers to cover their concept of Mother Earth. Gaia.
The third illustration is of Gaia.
“In the Golden Age, the earth was so fertile that there was no need to plow or plant the fields because Gaia freely gave all her riches to mortals, who were happy to gather wild strawberries on the mountainside, pick cherries and berries, and eat acorns from the oak trees.”

The stories are explained and illustrated in marvellous detail. The Odyssey, Jason and the Argonauts – it’s all here.

Absolutely stunning! I can see this reproduced as posters, fabrics, and multiplied as spin-offs. As it stands now, it is a remarkable work of art and a very entertaining telling of the myths, modernised enough to appeal to today’s jaded youth, and I enjoyed this version.

I just keep wanting to share illustrations, but I’d better limit myself, so here’s a page about The Odyssey, to give you an idea of the breadth of the stories. I realise you’d be going some to see the details, but you may see the brown Cyclops asleep and the ship and the other challenges they faced.

The fourth illustration is of The story of The Odyssey.

Great thanks to NetGalley and Quarto’s Wide Eyed Editions for the preview copy, and I commend authorSteven Kershaw and inspired illustrator Victoria Topping for producing this beautiful book. Her own website is here. https://www.victoriatopping.com/

Just one more.
The fifth illustration is Artemis - how fantastic! The other pages are the whole double-page spread, but I singled out Artemis just to give you an idea of the detail.
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The artwork in this book is stunning! I am a huge fan of mythology especially from Greece. While this book doesn't go very far into details it provides a solid overview about the Greek gods and the things they are famous for. I would have loved to have this as a kid.
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Unfortunately, I didn't take to this book at all.  It certainly provides a good coverage of Greek myth, without really nailing any one story down (yes, it lists the labours of Heracles and so on, but you get things through absorbing copious bits and nothing else the rest of the time).  It's an encyclopedia then, but that word list crops up too much in my thoughts – each entry is a list of things it's a god of, a list of things it carries, a list of this, a list of that.  I found it a struggle to engage with any of the characters as a result.  What's possibly even more heinous is to represent all of the entrants as if they were '70s rock stars – the visuals smack of bad LP covers from that era, so Aphrodite is Kate Bush, Apollo is Bowie, Hephaestus Hendrix, Gaia is Grace Jones, Midas is Prince, and so on.  This makes for a reasonable reference work, then, for genning up on the stories you learnt elsewhere – but an ugly one.  One and a half stars.
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This is a stunning work. The size of the images in real life really show off the detail, and the vibrancy of the colours. 

The approach to mythology is simple, clear and easy to understand and the images have so many hidden treats and treasures they're just wonderful. 

A perfect gift book for almost any age, or coffee table.
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Thank you to Quarto Publishing Group - Wide Eyed Editions for granting my wish for a digital edition via NetGalley of ‘Mythologica’, written by Dr. Stephen P. Kershaw and illustrated by Victoria Topping, in exchange for an honest review.

Subtitled ‘an encyclopaedia of gods, monsters and mortals from ancient Greece’, this is intended as an introduction to 50 characters from Greek mythology for children ages 7-10. It was published on 3 September.

Dr. Kershaw is a Classics scholar who has written a number of books on classical civilisations.

His Introduction notes that “Greek mythology is everywhere” and remains relevant in modern society. He also states that given the difficulty of the original Greek names he has provided the most familiar names in English but also included their original names alongside. The text accompanying each entry is short and informative.

Although my digital copy was in low resolution, I have seen a few examples of the artwork and it is visually stunning. Topping’s digital fusion art is bright and multilayered with echoes of modern artists and trends such as Klimt, Picasso, and Art Deco among others. It is looks very fresh and vibrant with gorgeous colours.

‘Mythologica’ provides an excellent introduction to Greek mythology for young readers with beautiful and inspiring art. 

As someone who loves art and mythology I would happily buy it as a coffee table book.
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This is a fantastic insight in the myths of Ancient Greece. the summaries are quick and to the point highlighting the important or most fantastical parts. I loved loved the art work in this book! Especially Gaia! it was so beautiful!
Overall a great read! Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC for an honest review.
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Mythologica: An encyclopedia of gods, monsters, and mortals from ancient Greece is as the title suggests, an illustrated encyclopedia of Greek mythology. Mythologica features stunningly beautiful portraits of mythological characters from the Greek Mythology

The book covers 50 myths covered in alphabetical order. All of the major gods and mythological figures including Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon, Midas, Cyclops, Chimaera, Medusa, Pegasus among others are covered

Listed alphabetically, each spread presents a mythological figure, their attributes, and a summary of their story, along with some additional trivia. Along with them, popular mythological stories like Pandora's box, The Odyssey, and The Trojan War and the Argonauts. are also covered.

Artist Victoria Topping’s artwork is a blend of modern and traditional techniques and the result is quite stunning. Each character has a unique and colorful visual portrayal which has added a unique dimension to the book.

The text accompanying the artwork is brief but informative. The facts and stories are entertaining but overall it does feel a bit too short. The authors should have tried incorporating more details/stories for each character. This book is a wonderful way to introduce children to mythology. (Though a couple of stories may not be suitable for children)

Overall, this is an absolutely gorgeous book on legendary characters and creatures from Greek mythology. The book is both exciting and informative and it will make you want to learn more about Greek Mythology.

Many thanks to the publishers Quarto Publishing Group - Wide Eyed Editions and NetGalley for the ARC. All images from Amazon
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I'll admit that I skimmed most of the actual text of this book, but that is only because I am so familiar with Greek mythology that it was all pretty much a recap at this point. That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with the text here, I think it is really useful as an introduction or reference and it is written in a simple way that I think will appeal to both children and adults, but it is mostly stuff I know at this point. The art however is absolutely AMAZING and definitely the high point of this book. Every page is gorgeous and I think this would make a great coffee table book or something to have around for people to flip through. The whole thing has a very modern art / collage style that you don't often get with books about ancient mythology and I think that it actually worked really well. Definitely something you would want to buy a physical copy of.
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This book is one of the most beautiful I've seen this year.
It's a beautiful book to learn about the different Greek (and Roman) Gods. It is a good quick point of reference to the enormous amount of Gods and Monsters.

I did have some problems with the writing. This is considered a children's book, but the writing felt a bit complicated at times, - the words used, the descriptions.. I think it should be more a teenager-age book.
I also felt the placement of the text was confusing at times. There are small quotes that feel a bit odd when placed at the beginning of the page. There were also mentions of people and events that only appeared later in the book, which went by without any reference to their later appearance, nor any good explanation.
I would have also enjoyed seeing a family tree, since there are some curious mixtures, which would be a good point of reference.
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Mythologica by Stephen P. Kershaw is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early September.

A quirky use of insets, quotes, and fonts to talk about the major players of Greek myths; but, obviously, nothing can compare to the draw and beauty of the Pop Art, Southwest folk, runway chic, and graffiti-infused illustrations.
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Mythologica caught my eye because of the striking cover design. When I opened the book, I was blown away. The art is so incredible and one-of-a-kind, it gives the presentation of mythological characters new life. The book, a compendium of major characters, is grouped into three major section: gods, mortals, and monsters including fifty such figures as Zeus, Hera, the Muses, Hades, Penelope, Achilles, Cyclops, Medusa, and Cerberus.

Each spread, vividly designed with bright colors and bold lettering, shows the mythic figure through Victoria Topping’s unmatched artistry. She manages to convey a range of ethnicities and personalities among the included characters in a way I don’t think has been done before in the context of Greek and Roman mythology. 

Dr. Stephen Kershaw highlights what the god, mortal, or monster is known for, where they live, and summarizes their biography with two or three interesting details in call out boxes such as information about their animal companions, weaponry, or typical attire. The book also includes a summary of the Twelve Labors of Heracles, the Odyssey, the Trojan War, and the story of the Argonauts.

Although the publishers note the book is geared toward children aged seven to ten, I think anyone interested in Greek and Roman mythology (or illustration and book design) would be delighted with this book. I’d forgotten many of the details and relationships among the Greek gods, monsters, and well-known humans, and this was a refreshing and engaging reminder.
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I absolutely adore Greek mythology, so even though this is marketed as a kids’ book, it still caught my eye. And how would it not – have you seen the artwork!?

The modern, abstract style is beyond eye-catching. It’s not something I’d associate with a book for children, but hey – what do I know? I loved it myself, although I did wonder if some – like the picture of Argos covered in eyes would perhaps be a little scary for younger kids.

I don’t think this is for too young an audience, to be honest, although that’s more to do with the myths than the language. The latter is fairly dumbed-down – I was particularly unimpressed with Athena being “totally awesome in battle” *eye roll* – but you might struggle to explain why Zeus married his sister, for instance.

The text was a bit of a let down after the art, with the briefest of bios on fifty various characters from the Greek pantheon and myths. Each gets just one page, meaning they are often quite ‘busy’. There’s perhaps an overdose of different fonts used trying to separate out various snippets of text, but again, perhaps this would be ‘exciting’ to a childish eye?

But, back to that artwork. It’s so refreshing, so challenging from any other Greek myth artwork I’ve seen. I’m feeling very inspired – and I’d grab a ‘coffee table book’ version of this for that alone!
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