Cover Image: Zeus Is A Dick

Zeus Is A Dick

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

I liked this book a lot as I love mythology and honestly, the title is correct. I read sections at a time as I felt like just one chapter/section was nice to read and absorb. The tone of this book is very down to earth and conversational which actually got my attention more as it felt like not only was I getting the mythos but also the opinion of the author. 

Rating: 3.5⭐

Would I Read It Again? Yes as I feel like I can go back to it and just read what I want, when I want

Would I Recommend it? Yes
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This book was a genuine laugh-out-loud delight to read. It’s probably considered heresy in some circles of mythology fans but I adored it. 

Each chapter is a classic myth which features Zeus behaving in his traditional dick-ish style, starting from the beginning of Olympus and moving through until the demi-gods start coming onto the scene. The stories capture the essence of the characters and events, but is otherwise as off-the-wall silly and takes as many creative liberties as is possible while still being the same story. 

My only concern with this book is that though the accessibility and silliness of the stories is timeless, there are a lot things that will date the text- references to Pinterest and Love Island, for example. 
Regardless, it’s making stories that are about 4,000 years old relevant to readers right now that makes this book so awesome. 

I love it. If you have even the most fleeting interest in Greek mythology, grab yourself a copy.
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A fun, light look at Greek mythology and the various ways in which the gods act like "dicks". I really enjoyed this, and it would be a good book to dip your toe into mythology
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Rated 3.75 stars 

Zeus Is A Dick – now that's a title. So much so that when I heard about the book I immediately wanted to read it.

The entire book has a conversational tone, littered with pop culture references throughout. This did suit the humorous intentions and would make this book an accessible read to many, eliminating any reason to be daunted by Greek Mythology. It read like an exaggerated version of Stephen Fry's Mythos, to put it into context.

Susie Donkin takes a subject that some may otherwise have found dull and injected a big fat slice of humour into it. I was amused by the liberal sprinkling of twenty-first century cultural references, but I found the stories weren’t long enough or in depth enough for me - any one that know me knows I'm a lover of mythology and detail - and is the only reason for the medium rating 

All in all it was a perfect read for a foul mouthed history buff (like myself)
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I loved this irreverent retelling of Greek mythology. It made me laugh and look at the well know stories with new eyes.
I laughed a lot and appreciated the humor.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Belated addition to the Greek Mythology Challenge here with Susie Donkin's Zeus is a Dick. Having zoomed through various retellings of Greek mythologies and emerged feeling rather jaded, this book's rather arresting title spoke to me. Susie Donkin is an actress and writer with credits including Smack the Pony and Horrible Histories and she brings that same irreverence and wit to her topic here, chronicling the crimes of Zeus. Namely all the many, many times in which he was a d*ck.

The book's opening line pinpoints the difficult that I have with classical mythology, 'For some reason, modern society likes to look back at Greek myths with reverence'. And yet these same myths have adapted and changed to suit political purposes, many different versions have developed down the millennia and it would be foolish to think that there is one 'true' version. More importantly, Donkin points out that the Ancient Greeks made fun of the gods all the time. Which brings us to Donkin's mission with her book. To treat classical mythology with the disrespect it deserves.

I was hoping that this book would be a tonic for the aspects of my Greek Mythology Challenge that I found ... well ... challenging. In the end though, I felt like Donkin had not quite found the correct format. Although the book is short, it dragged. Her observations on the Greeks are intelligent and witty but the patter wears thin after a while. I could see it being far more effective in a sketch show format even if the content might be too racy for her original Horrible Histories audience.

Zeus is a Dick is aiming for a similar audience to Stephen Fry's Mythos and in many ways manages to be more successful. Where Fry fails to challenge the received wisdom around the myths, Donkin engages and criticises. I agree with pretty much her every point. However, I would simply recommend smaller doses. But well done to Donkin for getting it out in the mainstream. Because Zeus really was a dick.
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An absolutely hilarious (but informative) new look at the Greek gods we all know

I laughed so much reading this and I loved the new insight the world of Greek mythology 

Definitely a book I’ll be recommending for years to come
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My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton /Hodder Studio for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Zeus is a Dick’ by Susie Donkin in exchange for an honest review.

“‘It’s about time someone called him out on all this’ - Hera, Goddess of Marriage, Wife of Zeus” - cover blurb.

The  publishers sum up its premise  well: “Ahh Greek myths. Those glorious tales of heroism, honour and... petty squabbles, soap-opera drama and more weird sex than Fifty Shades of Grey could shake a stick at! It's about time we stopped respecting myths and started laughing at them.”

As might be expected from the cover art and title, this is a highly irreverent overview of Greek mythology. 

While this is Susie Donkin’s first book, she’s been part of the writing team for CBBC’s ‘Horrible Histories’ since 2009. Like HH, this is fun, often silly, and is generously sprinkled with pop culture references. It does contain strong language, which might be offensive to some readers. 

I enjoy retellings of mythology and this little book was great fun and provided me with many laugh out loud moments.
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Hilarious rendition of popular Greek myths! 
The author never ceases to entertain in this collection of funny and wild stories!
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3.5 stars

Zeus Is A Dick is a very fun, conversational retelling of the Greek myths, primarily featuring stories which focused on Zeus, and all his despicable behaviour throughout history. Though this book takes a decently jovial tone, it doesn't forget to remind us in exactly what ways Zeus is indeed a dick.

Thanks to Rick Riordan and the plethora of memes out there, it's been very conveniently forgotten that the Greek Gods, especially the male ones, were terrible terrible people. While Riordan does talk about them being petty and arrogant, he forgets a few things to make it kid-friendly. They rape women who say no to their advances. Zeus especially does not know what consent means. There's also all that bestiality and incest. 

Susie Donkin, on the other hand, doesn't shy away from this. She isn't afraid to call out Zeus for what he is, and the manner in which she does this, which often had me chuckling or saying "OMG, YASS", pretty much complements the fact that she is one of the writers for Horrible Histories. (Also, if you haven't watched the show, you definitely must! You learn history, with all its weird and gory parts, all while laughing like a maniac.)

This book uses quite a bit of foul language, and I know that's not everyone's cup of tea, but it was right up my alley, and it just added to the humour for me. The style was very conversational (as I already mentioned) and was full of pop-cultural references. It's even self deprecating at times, and it was a very light and easy read. I don't often entire read books told in such a vein and it was a great palette cleanser.

I particularly enjoyed the "Medusa deserves better" line of thinking -- as someone who's been reading Greek mythology actively, this is something I've always felt as well! Because let's be honest, what happened to Medusa was terrible, and she didn't deserve to be turned into a Gorgon by Athena as punishment for getting (surprise, surprise) raped by Poseidon. And then she's beheaded many years later by Perseus for being a dreadful monster -- what happened to Medusa is awful, and I definitely think the chapter was titled aptly -- 'Hot take: Medusa deserved better'.  

It would have been a 4 star read, if only Donkin had covered a little more about Hermes. Even Hestia and Dionysus had more screen time (page time?) that Hermes, who's one of the Twelve Olympians. While all of Zeus' children who are part of the "Big 12" are discussed, and their origin stories as well, but Hermes' story is summed up in just one sentence -- "one of her (Hera's) husband's bastards" -- while Apollo had two entire chapters dedicated to him. Considering the length of the book (only 240 pages), one more chapter on Hermes would have been a relevant addition. (Especially considering Hermes was the product of Zeus raping yet another female.)

However, maybe brevity is key to this style of narration. It worked for 240 pages, but longer and the reader would have grown tired of it? It might have an editorial decision to cut out Hermes' origin story, but I was definitely looking forward to reading about how Hermes, an infant, managed to steal his half-brother Apollo's cattle. 

Nevertheless, I definitely enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading her future works, and revisiting Horrible Histories whenever I'm in the mood for it. :) Thanks to Hodder Studio for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley. It was a hoot!
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Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

I normally really like these irreverent takes on Greek Mythology but my enjoyment depends very much on the voice of the author. Natalie Haynes is an example of someone I like, she's funny and snarky yet faultless in her knowledge and I just "get" her sense of humour. 

I just found the "voice" of this book too juvenile for my tastes which jarred a bit with the most certainly not youth appropriate use of expletives. The dialogue between mythical characters felt like I was reading the Greek equivalent of the Kardashians. 

I'm aware this is just my own preference in terms of tone and style but some of the information was inaccurate also which didn't allow me to even engage with that side of the book. Just not for me I'm afraid.
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I’ve engrossed myself in Greek mythology recently, and this comic retelling from Susie Donkin of Horrible Histories fame was a refreshing take in what is seemingly becoming a crowded market. The style of writing really is something though... it’ll have a marmite effect on readers. If you love Horrible Histories or did as a child, then you may well love this style. I found myself torn - in some ways I loved the concept that Greek myths were passed down in part as entertainment, and this retelling certainly brings back the laughter and merriment the tales no doubt originally in part invoked. However, sometimes I found myself tiring of the delivery, and wishing that there was a book somewhere in between, say, Stephen Fry and Susie Donkin - one a little dialed down from this irreverent romp through classic tales. I’d recommend it to younger readers as a fun way of becoming familiar with Greek mythology. With thanks to the publishers for a NetGalley review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This didn't work for me at all. The humour was repetitive and childish and in most cases shed no new light on the stories except to pack them full of swearing and the most basic lip-service to feminism. Sticking so determinedly with the ambition to be funny (and reader, this failed after the first few pages) meant that all those stories of violence, incest and rape sat very uncomfortably, mythological or not. I was expecting the writing to be a little bit more sophisticated than the provocative title but it continued in that exact vein until I was thoroughly relieved to finish.
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Zeus Is A Dick by Susie Donkin is a rewritting of Greek myths, putting them into modern language and setting, as they would have been for the ancient Greeks. This means the gods and goddesses do things like using Google, swearing, and talking about swiping right.

If you've found Greek myths boring, then this might be a good starting point for you!

I found them entertaining, and a good reminder for some of the myths that I didn't remember, and the order they go in.

Zeus Is A Dick was published on 5th November 2020, and is available on  Amazon ,  Waterstones  and your  local independent bookshop .

You can follow Susie Donkin on her  Twitter .  And you might know her from Horrible Histories!

I was given this book in exchange for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to  Hodder & Stoughton .
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Initially intrigued by the concept, I had high-hopes for Zeus is a Dick…hopes which fell flat.

I studied Classics for a few years at university and throughout my studies I always thought that, yep, Zeus is a DICK. (He really is). So this book would surely validate my hate, I thought. While it *did* achieve that goal, I just didn’t enjoy this read at all.


Any attempt to demystify history and tear it from the grasps of academia is commendable and I must give Donkin kudos for that. The book takes the best (or in this case: worst) stories about Zeus from mythology and certainly leaves out any boring bits. Greek mythology is often rendered serious and academic, when it is anything but.


The humorous and playful tone is a welcome start but soon becomes abrasive. The tone is rather like someone trying to “appeal to the youth” and it became a tiresome read. Donkin was one of the Horrible Histories writers (a series I loved) so I was expecting a better balance between jokes and information as Horrible Histories did this so well.

Additionally, it felt rushed and letting the stories breath a little would have done wonders for the reader’s enjoyment of the book. At times, the structure felt chaotic and we were just hurried along to the next story, then the next, then the next…

Final Thoughts:

Overall, Zeus is a Dick was disappointing. But it did make a good point. Zeus is a Dick.

Zeus is a Dick was recently published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton.

I received an ARC of Zeus is a Dick via NetGalley but all views are my own.
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You can tell that Susie Donkin writes for Horrible Histories – the narrative style was very informal, crude and honestly like a soap opera. If the ancient Greek gods mingled with the cast of “Geordie Shore”, I wouldn’t be surprised, or be able to tell the difference!

This was a quickfire rundown of Greek mythology, giving a brief and speedy recap to the major players and how they related to each other – spoiler, they are all in fact literally related to each other! I really appreciated this format; it was nice to have a timeline to the random myths I’d always been aware of. And like the cast of “Geordie Shore”, the Greek gods were insane, horny and irresponsible. Donkin did an OK job of highlighting the wrongness of many of their actions, although I did tire of the writing style quite quickly. This is definitely a book to dip in and out of.

My understanding of the origin of myths is that ancient society used the stories to explain the world around them; the sea, the land, our relationships, even death, are controlled by the gods and that is who we need to appease so we don’t die from disease or famine. This is also why, I believe, so many myths are misogynistic and often involve rape: because the society that created them viewed women as lesser, so the gods did too.

Of course, this is my understanding and may be entirely wrong, but from my perspective, I can somewhat understand why Donkin wanted to write in this style: because the gods did do weird and stupid things and the subject matter lends itself to campfire stories. I can also understand why some readers didn’t appreciate Donkin’s assumptions of ancient Greeks’ motivation, because obviously there is no way to know why these myths were created.

Anyway, although the writing style took some getting used to, I actually liked this collection of myths. It was quite simplistic, assumed too many things and definitely brushed over a lot of details, but for an overall history of the Greek gods and goddesses, I thought it was good.
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One man’s truth is another man’s myth and whilst the Greek Gods may have once been worshipped as real, they are now considered by most as myths. This is great for a genre review site as the Greek Gods are as fantastical as they come. They turn themselves and others into animals, have superpowers and live forever. They are also a bunch of dicks, that is according to Susie Donkin and her latest book Zeus is a Dick. If you read a few of his exploits contained within, you will soon agree.

During the dawning of time there were not many Gods around. Rather than immaculately create more Gods, they decided to sleep with one another. None was more prevalent at this than Zeus who slept with more than one of his own sisters. In the list of his crimes, this is but one. He also ate his first wife, raped several mortals and overall was a bit of a nuisance around anyone: be they women, man or beast. Donkin wants you to remember Zeus as he was – a bit of a dick.

From the title of the book alone you should cotton on that Zeus is a Dick is an irreverent and rude look at Greek Mythology. The secret is that although the tone may be light and borderline disrespectful (let's just hope the Gods aren’t real), Donkin sticks to the tales that are already known. A lot of studying history is reinterpreting events through the prism of the present. Donkin’s is just choosing to reinterpret Zeus’ greatest hits with a taste of reality. He was horrid.

The style that Donkin adopts is comedic and conversational. The book is split into several chapters. Each covers a certain story and not all of them are about Zeus. The likes of Apollo and Hera have their moments of disgrace. The prose is punchy and has many references to modern pop culture, almost as if the Greek Gods are living in a version of today. This is a little jarring at first, but the reader should get used to the patter soon enough. There are enough dry academic studies of Zeus available, this is more for people who want a little fun.

With the humour also comes knowledge. I know some of the Greek Myths and Donkin retells them truthfully. All that is happening is the pointing out of some of the absurdities of the Gods’ actions. How come these omniscient beings can continually rape people and no one calls them out on it? The lack of respect for women in Greek Myths is part of the time the stories arose, and Donkin’s is less than happy about this. 

Among the myths that I did know are several tales new to me. Even in well-known myths there are elements that will come as a surprise. A lot of the tales were cleaned up a little as people became more puritan as time passed, but Donkin tells you what used to told around the fires of yore. If you think the likes of Zeus sleeping with all and sundry was bad enough – the original tales were worse.

Zeus is a Dick is a book for fans of history that are not fans of academia style writing. This book is the anthesis to this and instead goes out of its way to be comedic and engaging. The conversational style of writing that mixes the old with reference to the new will be jarring for some. Anyone looking for an entertaining book on Greek Mythology that will make them laugh, shock them, but also educate, need look no further.
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Greek mythology for a YA audience – told Gossip Girl style, this wasn’t my cup of tea but will appeal to younger readers who will enjoy this colloquial tone. Warning for coarse language in case that offends…
Thanks to NetGalley for the free advance e-book copy of this title.
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I love learning about mythology but, you know, hate reading dull-ass books. I’m fickle and that’s alright – I’ve come to terms with it. So when something comes along with the word ‘dick‘ in it, (I swear I’m in my 30s…) AND it’s written by one of the writers of Horrible Histories, I can’t not give it a go.

I’m going to say this right now – if you’re not familiar with British culture, the majority of the references will go right over your poor noggin.

I had high hopes for this little book. I really, really wanted to love you. Greek Gods are known to be dramatic, egotistical maniacs with a tendency to have sex with anything that moves after all. Yet there was just a little something that didn’t make me fall in love with it.

And I think that little something was the pace. This is a short book. 240 pages to be exact and there’s a LOT of information to cram on in there. One minute you’re getting to know all about Medusa and the next, Zeus’ next victim has been turned into a cow. The books goes fast and it leaves no prisoners behind.

That being said, if you are after a whirlwind of a book which gives you the basic understanding of the complex (and incestual) relationships of these mythical figures, then get this on your list pronto.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm, this book takes something that I would have otherwise found dull as a kid and whacked a big ol’ slice of modern-day references onto it with a slide of humour. Little Jen would have loved this, but Big Jen just wished it was a tv show instead.

One thing I have learned though is that Zeus is indeed a massive dick.
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Rather a disappointment, sadly.

I was hoping for a nice, funny take on Greek myths; there's plenty of humour in there, after all. And the author worked on Horrible Histories, one of the best TV series ever. What I got was a stream of consciousness ramble where all the myths are taking place nowadays, until they aren't for a joke; so Danae is rescued from her island by a match she made on Tinder, but Apollo's joke falls flat because he's referencing a band that doesn't exist (yet). 

It's not even easy to read, as everything is crammed together and punctuation is very haphazard. So you get sections like this:

And Aphrodite is all, *this is my line*, and Zeus goes *Well I reply with this*, and Athena butts in *but don't forget about me* and *I'm still here* says Ares.

It makes it very hard to follow, and the way the stories jump around doesn't help. Plus the whole thing just stops dead after referencing some things that are due to happen.

It's not all awful. The idea of it - treating the myths as a sort of giant soap opera and laughing at the ridiculousness - is good, and there are spots where the tone is fantastic. Overall, though, I'm afraid I won't be rereading.
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