If you’ve been on BookTok recently, you’ve probably seen a lot ofSong of Achillesa. Making the rounds, this Madeline Miller book is making readers feel all the feels while also giving them a new and intriguing perspective on The Iliad. The story is told from the point of view of Patroclus, who is compelled to accompany Achilles into battle, where he finds his friendship and courage put to the test. Many people have been captivated by this queer, atmospheric, and dramatic retelling, and you’re probably wondering, “What should I read next?”. The following are our picks for the best books like Song of Achilles.
This list of books like Song of Achilles, by mostly white authors, serves as a reminder that myth retellings are predominantly a white audience’s purview. We hope that in the future, publishing will give greater weight to the stories told by people of color.
Circe by Madeline Miller
The story of Circe, the goddess turned witch who was banished by Zeus and falls in love with mortals, is retold in Miller’s novel about Circe, which may seem like an obvious choice. At some point, she will have to make a decision about who she is and who she isn’t.
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
An epic tale told in Norse mythology will have you in tears as you read about Angrboda, the witch who was cursed by Odin and now has no control over her own destiny. In the forest, she meets and marries a mysterious man who provides her with a home, happiness, and children…until she learns her husband is Loki and she begins to foresee terrible events ahead.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dhavana Headley
In this contemporary retelling of Beowulf, Herot is a gated community and Grendel’s mother is a war veteran who lives off the grid in the woods outside of Herot, and the events surrounding their confrontation are followed.
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
When it comes to myths and legends, women don’t have many options when it comes to telling their stories. It wasn’t until the Trojan ships arrived on the horizon that Lavninia realized that politics would soon take over her life. Aeneas’s pursuit of her hand in marriage glosses over many of the details in her story.
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
The Minotaur, Ariadne’s brother, lives in the labyrinth beneath Ariadne and her people’s feet, and he is a constant threat. On Crete, Ariadne sees Theseus as a chance to flee, no matter what the cost to herself or her family
Bull by David Elliott
Theseus and the Minotaur have been retold in verse for a fresh perspective. When it comes to language, this book feels like it was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda retelling myths with an edgy, funny voice.
Ransom by David Malouf
Achilles and his grief-stricken father, Priam, are depicted in this novel about the aftermath of Patroclus’s death, which has left Achilles and his family reeling from the loss of their son. It’s a tale of loss and recovery, and how to move on after a life-altering event.
The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
In this playful retelling of Odysseus’s journey, readers are given new tales, insights and fragments that challenge them to rethink the original tale and offer creative revisions to it.
An Iliad by Alessandro Baricco
Twenty-one unrecognized minor and side characters will help you relive the siege of Troy. This is a heartfelt retelling of a well-known story that explores the story’s deeper meanings.
The King Must Die by Mary Renault
Madeline Miller’s books are a great introduction to Mary Renault, who rose to prominence after this 1958 release retelling the life of Theseus with fascinating historical detail, making her one of the best scholars and writers of classical mythology.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
If you’re a fan of ancient women’s stories and want to read about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who reclaims her story after her husband returns home and inexplicably kills her maids and companions, pick up this novella.
Helen of Troy by Margaret George
As a “face that launched a thousand ships,” Helen of Troy has long been regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women. George retells her story in this book, bringing in all of the major characters from the original.
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
If you liked the beautiful writing and queer love in Song of Achilles, try this novel for a change of pace. In the American South, two men, both enslaved, fall in love, but a power-hungry man threatens their love and lives.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
In the Trojan War, many women like Briseis became prisoners of Achilles. Briseis is originally only given a few lines, but here she tells her own story and the stories of her fellow female prisoners.
The Devourers by Indra Das
Pick up this novel about a college professor who agrees to transcribing a story from a jumble of notebooks and manuscripts and finds himself in a strange and magical tale set in Mughal India, about a woman who is torn in two very different directions in a magical, epic struggle, for an interesting and fully realized epic tale, but set in India.
There are many more books like Song of Achilles that we can recommend to you! We’ve compiled a list of the best books for LGBTQ+ book clubs, as well as some great romance novels.
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