Mother of Mortals: A Tale of the Nepheleid is a modern day expansion of the Greek myths focused on Hera, Queen of the gods. Mother of Mortals is a devotional work in honor of Hera by Marisol Charbonneau. Published by Arcana Elements, an imprint of Arcana Creation, there is currently a Kickstarter to help support the publication of its sequel.
The publisher catagorizes the work as “sci-fi/fantasy”. However I would describe it best as a twenty-first century deep dive into a tale told in mythological form about the Greek gods. It is an intense but compelling read. It focuses on the interactions of the gods and revolves around an oft-neglected voice among the legends, which is Hera’s.
I rarely get to hear or read about Hera’s story. Typically when it does it is unflattering to the goddess and paints her as a villain. This one aims to stay true to the known Greek mythology surrounding her but also creates a backstory for her which explains her aims, motivations, and truth behind her past and present actions. And in this story, the goddess known as a hero maker defies Zeus and becomes a hero in her own right.
This is a story that is unafraid to give a new look to old gods. It also does not shy away from mentioning outdated and misogynistic elements of the ancient tales. It also provides frank discussion and portrayal of rape, sexual assault, and abusive relationships. This is a story aimed at adults and definitely not children.
I found it to be an extremely refreshing read on an often unfairly maligned goddess. The story is a great opportunity to read her version of events as they occurred. It also gives perspective on her motivations. While those who honor Zeus may feel frustrated about how he is portrayed, it makes for a compelling read.
I often rant about how so many misunderstand Hera and don’t give her the credit she is due. I also blame much of people’s ideas on her on Homer’s description of her in the Iliad. This work gives a blunt criticism of that very depiction. Its story invites a new look at the goddess and her motivations while staying true to the original tales.
This book both continues and adds to the tales of the Greek gods. It brings changes to them as humans and our world in general have also changed. Those who enjoyed reading Circe by Madeline Miller might enjoy this work also. My sole caveat is that the way in which the stories of the gods aren’t communicated in the same fashion or style. But those yearning for a modern re-read of ancient tales will find this work to be a satisfying read. Particularly those who are looking for a less modern day fiction style and more of mythological one.
I look forward to reading its sequel.