Medusa: the Gorgon’s Story Adapted 4 Ways

These stories address the roots and themes of Medusa’s story in widely different ways, but each gives the woman of the myth a more empathetic story. Here are books about Medusa, kindly browse through them.

Medusa is best remembered as the monstrous creature of Greek myth, maligned and hideous, with snakes for hair and the ability to turn people to stone with a single look. She was eventually defeated by Perseus, who fights her with a mirror to avoid her wrath.

Following that, Perseus famously severed Medusa’s head and attached it to his shield for battle, using it as a ward against his approaching enemies.

History of Medusa

While these common highlights are correct, they do not tell the entire story. The mythical origin story of Medusa is much less well-known.

She was one of the Gorgons, a group of three demigod sisters, each with a unique gift. Medusa was the only one who died among them. Medusa is mysteriously depicted as both beautiful and seductive at times, and hideous at other times. Indeed, the word “gorgon” derives from the Greek word for “terrible” or “dreadful.”

Poseidon existed long before Medusa and Perseus clashed. Medusa drew Poseidon’s attention to the Gorgons, who lived in the sea. There are several versions of the story, but depending on which one you read, Medusa either seduced Poseidon or he fell in love with her and took her.

In other words, Medusa mythology contains a classic he said/she said the story of rape and victim blaming.

To elevate victim blaming even further, Medusa’s snake hair was a punishment from Athena motivated by jealousy and rage, as the rape occurred within Athena’s temple.

Books About Medusa

It’s time to tell Medusa a more balanced story. These stories address the origins and themes of Medusa’s story in a variety of ways.

However, each tells a much more sympathetic story about the myth’s woman.

Retelling: Set in Stone by R.C. Berry

books about medusa

This retelling of Medusa’s story places the mythological figure in the hands of R.C. Berry, and the shift from a male-dominated culture’s narrative to a woman is clear.

As Berry tells the tragic story of Medusa, she raises important questions about how a mere mortal among gods and heroes was transformed into a monster whose wrath was feared.

Berry asks questions about how she became that way along the way, rounding her out into something much more human. She is also given a happier ending after death, which the mythical figure is rarely given.

Science Fiction: Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

Emily Devenport uses the myth of Medusa as inspiration for this science fiction thriller, which explores the themes of power, control, and revenge.

On the Olympia, Oichi Ngelis is a member of the lowest caste. She discovers a secret that gives her the general of the ship’s power at least until he shoots her out into space, resorting to murder to silence her. But Oichi does not perish.

Medusa, an AI armor, saves her instead. They return together to put things right and spark a revolution. Is it more vengeful than that?

Young Adult: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

books about medusa

The prospect of starting a new school in a new city is daunting for Grace as it would be for any teen as she tries to settle into her new home in San Francisco. Then the minotaur shows up.

In this young adult urban fantasy series from Tera Lynn Childs, three teen girls discover they have descended from Medusa herself and come face to face with all sorts of monstrous creatures.

As the three girls discover this strange shared secret and learn to work together to hunt monsters of mythological proportions while learning to harness the incredible power of their birthright.

Memoir: Medusa: Confessions of an Angry Black Girl by Scotty Davis

books about medusa

In this heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, a young girl rises into the musical worlds of ballet, poetry, and Double Dutch while dealing with dysfunction at home.

As a woman, she must confront the violence of her past, including PTSD from her military service. As she tries to find self-worth in the midst of her life’s struggles, the pages of this story are filled with a big heart and equally big pain as epic as the mythical creature she identifies with.

And it’s all told in lyrical verse reminiscent of the mixtapes of the 1990s era in which the story is set.

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