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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Mythology-inspired fiction from around the World

When it comes to magical realism and fantasy, novels that take inspiration from classic mythology or traditional folklore are like catnip to me. Often times there’s good reason for these stories to have survived as long as they did for how interesting they are, and I love to see the new spin modern authors give these tales. Unsurprisingly I’ve collected quite the collection of myth-retellings, modern fairytales, and fresh folklore from around the world on my shelves, so I did my best to bundle them into a single post; a little almanac for a mythological journey around the world. All are linked to their respective Goodreads-pages for ease of navigation.

Disclaimer: please know that I am aware of the large diversity of culture within these continents. I am simply clustering them this way for navigational purposes within this post. I’m also limiting this list to books written in- or translated to English, which means not all cultures will be equally represented. If you feel like your favourite myth-retelling is missing, please be sure to recommend it to me, as I’m always down to expand my horizons.

Without further ado, let’s get into the books.

European Mythology



Classical Greek


Asian Mythology




o Black Water Sister – Zen Cho Influences: Malaysian ghost-lore Genre: Adult fantasy o The Astonishing Color of After – Emily XR Pan Influences: Taiwanese lore Genre: YA contemporary/magical realism o The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea - Axie Oh Influences: Korean folklore Genre: YA fantasy

Influences: Japanese mythology Genre: YA fantasy o Spin the Dawn - Elizabeth Lim

Influences: Japanese mythology Genre: YA fantasy

North-American Mythology

o Elatsoe – Darcie Little Badger Influences: Lipan Apache mythology Genre: YA-magical realism

o A Snake Falls to Earth – Darcie Little Badger Influences: Lipan Apache mythology Genre: YA-fantasy (would work for an upper middle-grade audience as well)

o Black Sun - Rebecca Roanhorse Influences: Adult fanasy Genre: precolumbian American lore

o Trial of Lightning - Rebecca Roanhorse Influences: Navajo mythology Genre: Adult fantasy

o Me Moth – Amber McBride Influences: Navajo creation mythology Genre: novel in verse, magical realism

o American Gods – Neil Gaiman Influences: modern American, Norse Genre: urban fantasy

o The City We Became – NK Jemisin Influences: creating "modern American lore" based off New-York culture Genre: urban fantasy

o The Firekeepers Daughter – Angeline Boulley Influences: Ojibwe traditional healing and medicine Genre: YA-contemporary


South-American Mythology


o Root Magic – Eden Royce Influences: South-Carolina/Caribbean root-magic

Genre: middle-grade historical

o Popisho – Leone Ross Influences: original mythology based in island-lore Genre: magical realism

o When We Were Birds – Ayanna Lloyd Banwo Influences: Rastafarian/Trinidadian ghost-lore Genre: magical realism

o The Jumbies – Tracy Baptiste Influences: Caribbean folklore Genre: magical realism

o Island Tales: Caribbean Folklore Stories – Amber Drappier Influences: Caribbean/Trinidadian folklore Genre: fantasy short stories

African Mythology

o Fresh Water – Akwaeke Emezi Influences: Nigerian Folklore Genre: magical realism

o Children of the Quicksand - Efua Traoré Influences: Nigerian Folklore Genre: middle-grade fantasy o The House of Shells - Efua Traoré Influences: Nigerian Folklore Genre: middle-grade fantasy

o The Deep – Rivers Solomon Influences: African lore + Eur-asian mermaid mythology Genre: adult fantasy

o Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James Influences: mixed African + Aboriginal lore Genre: adult fantasy

o Beasts of Prey – Ayana Gray Influences: middle African mythology Genre: YA fantasy


Oceanean/Australian/Pasifican Mythology



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