Prior to Circe by Madeline Miller, the myth of Circe, a minor goddess in Greek mythology, was enveloped in a haze of fear and darkness in the wake of her treatment of Odysseus and his men in Homer’s Odyssey. However, Miller’s book, an unforgettable retelling of the Odyssey, develops the character of Circe with a feminist gaze, allowing her to narrate her own story. She is an indomitable sorcerer in a world of men. Despite everything going against her, she maintains her strength and perseverance and becomes a character very dear to us. If you loved reading her enthralling story of resilience and persistence and are looking for more books like Circe or similar Greek mythology retellings, we’ve got you covered!
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20 Amazing Books Like ‘Circe’ For Greek Mythology Fans
Here are some of the best books like Circe for YA and adult readers, featuring a unique blend of Greek myth, magic, nature, and foraging in a most fascinating and imaginative way. All these ‘books similar to Circe’ are magnificent and highly recommended to anyone who is a die-hard fan of Greek mythology, its ancient gods, goddesses, monsters and legends.
1. Medusa by Jessie Burton
A brilliant, YA feminist retelling of Greek myth, Medusa is written by the best-selling author of ‘The Miniaturist’ and illustrated so gorgeously by Olivia Lomenech Gill. It’s a stunning tale of a beautiful mortal girl caught up in the whims of lusty and vengeful gods. Hiding in isolation on a barren island after her transformation at the hands of Athena, Medusa, now a serpent-headed Gorgon, meets a visitor—the half mortal son of Zeus, Perseus. Her lonely existence becomes turbulent when she begins to talk with him and comes to terms with her troubled past and future.
The writing is beautifully lyrical and intensely engaging, interspersed with the most glorious illustrations. An incredible book, it’s perfect for fans of Circe.
2. The Goddess of Nothing At All by Cat Rector
A beautiful tale of love and endurance, of struggling against the world and fate. All wrapped in a package of Norse mythology, gods and goddesses, and magic. The Goddess of Nothing at All is a unique take on Norse Mythology that follows Loki’s wife, Sigyn, through the stories we know, challenging the ideas of love and loyalty, fate and choice, right and wrong. Featuring imperfect characters, an LGBTQA+ cast, and a rollercoaster of emotions, this dark fantasy retelling of Norse myths is one of the best books like Circe.
It’s captivating, epic, and truly one of the most impressive works of myth-inspired fiction.
3. The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
The stunning sequel to The Silence of The Girls, Barker’s The Women of Troy continues her daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad. The story is set in the immediate aftermath of the Trojan war. It picks up almost exactly where its predecessor left, shortly after the fall of Troy and the death of Achilles. It opens with the perspective of Pyrrhus, insecure, sociopathic son of now-dead Achilles, inside the Trojan horse. Pat Barker really goes into the thoughts and feelings of Pyrrhus. She makes us feel what it is like to be the son of one of the greatest warriors of all time.
A breathtaking and wholly absorbing story for fans of Madeline Miller and Natalie Haynes.
4. Daughter of Sparta by Claire Andrews
A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta turns a traditionally male-dominated Greek myth into an empowering and heart-pounding female-led adventure set in Ancient Greece. It features gods, a quest, and a badass heroine trained to be a Spartan warrior. Our protagonist, seventeen year old Daphne, must locate nine items stolen from Mount Olympus to save the world. The book reels you in almost immediately, with the stunning writing style, fierce protagonist who defies all the sexist rules made to oppress her, and the rich atmosphere of Sparta.
A must-read book for those who enjoy epic quests and do really love myth retellings like Circe or The Song of Achilles.
5. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
A runner up to Circe by Madeline Miller for the best Greek mythology retelling, Ariadne reimagines the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur from Ariadne’s perspective, the sister to the monster. In Greek mythology, Ariadne helps Theseus to defeat her own brother, the Minotaur. Then she marries the god Dionysus and bears his children. But we have almost never heard her story at the forefront, until now. This book is about her life, touching on her and her sisters relationship. And also her role as the princess of Crete as well as a mother whilst living in exile. Her journey from captive daughter to independent woman and mother is fascinating and heartfelt.
If you’re looking for an extremely fascinating Greek mythology retelling, check out this book!
6. The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
An incredible story of fierce motherhood and the consequences of being different, The Witch’s Heart is one of the best books like Circe. A unique mythological retelling, it is powerful and poignant. The story begins with a certain focal point in the story of Angrboda—she is burnt alive three times by Odin and must flee Asgard. Genevieve Gornichec weaves myth and emotion together in a way that breathes life into these infamous figures and makes the love, joy, pain and sorrow they experience palpable.
If you love getting a deeper, more personal look at mythological beings, this book is a must-read!
7. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
A high-octane story of power, redemption, and destiny, Lore is an entertaining hunger games-esque take on Greek mythology. A fantasy and mythological stand-alone novel taking place in NY where Greek gods become mortal during a period called the Agon. Descendants of heroes battle for godhood, which gives the novel a dystopian feel. Lore, descendant of Perseus, is the last of her line. She is torn between the decision to leave the Agon forever or save the world. The jargon Bracken uses is easily understandable, but a little background on Greek mythology is needed to truly capture the essence of the novel.
An amazing young adult story, it’s a quick read that envelops you. And if you particularly enjoy fantasy or Greek mythology, it will be very attractive to read.
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
One of powerful, stupendous books like Circe by Madeleine Miller, The Silence of the Girls manages to capture the grandiosity of the Trojan War and simultaneously gives life to the unsung stories of the women involved. A sort of response to The Iliad, writer Pat Barker relates events from the viewpoint of 19-year-old Princess Briseis, wife of Mynes, the son of King of Lyrnessus. She spends a lot of time observing those around her, constantly weighing up her options while conscious that she has no actual agency. Her silent strength and dignity through her sufferings constantly make us tear up.
Another incredible Greek Myth retelling, the book gives voice to an extraordinary woman and makes an ancient story new again.
9. The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes
With a straightforward narrative and a complex story, The Children of Jocasta is a beautifully constructed tale of love and loss. It is retelling of an age old myths of Oedipus and Antigone from a fresh perspective making it relatable and current. The story is narrated from the POVs of Oedipus’ wife, Jocasta, and Ismene, their youngest daughter. Haynes breathes life into these two characters who are so often two-dimensional and swept to the side to give space to the male characters in Greek myth. She masterfully fleshes out two complex, flawed, and utterly heartbreaking narratives that cement these women firmly where they should be: at the forefront of their stories.
If you like myth retellings/reimagining with strong female protagonists similar to Circe, then this book is highly recommended.
10. House of Names by Colm Tóibín
One of the most engaging books, House of Names is the award-winning writer’s retelling of Oresteia, a trilogy of Greek Tragedies by Aeschylus. It’s a horrifying, tragic family saga retold by a master storyteller in elegant modern prose, informed by convincing and intriguing psychological insights. Split into narrative sections from Clytemnestra, Orestes and Electra, this story is the aftermath of Agamemnon’s brutal sacrifice of his daughter, and his fatal homecoming. What follows next, is unfolding of history through the hands of the various family members as they navigate betrayal, lies, longings and murders.
A work of great beauty and daring, this book is an excellent addition to the modern works which attest to the continuing power of ancient works.
11. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
A modern-day retelling of the Greek tragedy ‘Antigone’, Home Fire is thought-provoking, emotional, unpredictable and ultimately very shocking. It uses the form of multiple perspective family drama to explore the British Muslim experience. The story centres around Isma, a 28 year old Pakistani-British Muslim, and her two younger siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz, who are twins. The issues of race, immigration, national security and identity are at the center of the narrative. But first and foremost, it’s a really good story with complicated characters and lots of drama—family, romantic and political.
If you’re a Greek mythology lover who enjoys epic quests, this one’s for you!
12. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
An amazing book to read if you liked Circe, Anti Goddess is a fantastically dark telling of the Greek gods in the modern world. The Olympian gods are dying. They should be immortal, but their time is actually running out. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War, is determined to find the solution. But for her quest to succeed, she must rely not only on the good (and unpredictable) will of her fellow not-quite immortals, but on humans, too. Just like the gods once depended on human worship, they now have to trust in the strength of reincarnated mortal heroes of old.
Perfect for fans of Greek mythology, you will encounter many famous immortals. And also the likes of Achilles, Hector and Cassandra, the wretched prophetess of Troy.
13. Alcestis by Katherine Beutner
A mythology retelling focusing on Persephone, Alcestis and her time spent in the underworld, Katherine Beutner Alcestis is one of the stunning books for fans of Circe. In Greek mythology, we know Alcestis as the ‘devoted wife’. She sacrificed her life so that her husband Admetus, the king blessed by Apollo, may live; and went to the underworld in his place. This book is worth reading for anyone who enjoys a good historical novel or learning about Greek mythology. Katharine Beutner tells Alcestis’ story, her birth, her childhood and her marriage to Admetus. From there, we follow Alcestis to the Underworld.
An elegant and vivid retelling of the myth of Alcestis, it’s beautifully written and fascinating to read.
14. Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
Meticulous and captivating, Lavinia is a retelling of Virgil’s Aeneid, focusing on a completely secondary and forgotten female character, mentioned several times but never gets to talk about in that story. Lavinia, the daughter of Latino, wife of Aeneas and mother of Silvio, is a compendium of intelligence, sensitivity, and wisdom. She tells her story in a powerful voice charged with intimacy. Written in the first person and under a confessional style, therefore, the construction of the story becomes much more personal, pulling away a bit from the original classic. Nevertheless, we can delight in Lavinia’s thoughts, reflection, and comments.
A masterpiece by the greatest fantasy and sci-fi writer of all time, it’s unique and one of the must-read books like Circe!
15. Black Ships by Jo Graham
An atmospheric, magical retelling of The Aeneid, Jo Graham’s Black Ships is an amazing book with a strong female protagonist. The narrator of the story is Pythia, the oracle and high priestess of Persephone, in the years following the Trojan War. Pythia, Xandros and Prince Aeneas lead the last Trojans all over the Mediterranean searching for a place to call home. Graham relates the ancient world through the lens of the Trojan refugees. From their initial flight from the Greeks to the mythical founding of Rome.
If you love historical fiction narrating an epic adventurous story, this book is definitely for you!
16. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
A dazzling, short and witty read, The Penelopiad is a retelling of the life of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, with a modern feminist interpretation. It lets Penelope tell her story and also gives voice to the maids killed by Odysseus on his return. Atwood really shows her versatility as a writer. She takes the tiniest details from these classic tales, and gives voiceless characters like Penelope, the maids, and even Helen, agency and humanity. In fact, this book is a hidden gem and a modern day feminist manifesto. It highlights how women were blamed, ignored and abused by men in history and then promptly forgotten.
17. Homer’s Daughter by Robert Graves
Funny as well as tragic, Homer’s Daughter is an engaging and entertaining read. Samuel Butler once claimed that the Odyssey was composed by a woman. Graves was inspired to write the story of this ‘true’ poet of the Odyssey, who in Graves’s book is a young Sicilian princess called Nausicaä. Set in Western Sicily, it’s Nausicaä’s story. Her dream is to be Homer’s daughter, to be a poet within the limits of patriarchal society. Her achievement is the story of the Odyssey that is still popular today. Graves basically takes episodes from the Odyssey and other myths. He rewrites them (often giving them a mundane or humorous twist), and weaves them into Nausicaä’s narrative.
Stunning and engrossing, it’s one of the best books to read if you liked Madeline Miller’s Circe.
18. The King Must Die by Mary Renault
Mary Renault’s The King Must Die is a retelling of the myth of Theseus, the legendary Minotaur slayer. It is a coming of age story that weaves realism and history giving the myth a more plausible story. Renault’s richly intricate details reimagines Theseus’ story in a way that, while deviating considerably from the original, invites consideration into how we can reform a myth from source material and vice versa. Her interesting story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea.
19. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
A timeless tale of two mortal sisters, Till We Have Faces reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring masterpiece. It’s a story of beautiful Psyche’s unattractive older sister, Orual, and her possessive love for Psyche. She strives to replace her ugliness with adoration. And when it becomes her undoing, she must learn that beauty stems from the inside out. A moving retelling, it centers around the themes of love, jealousy, and faith. The author has superbly executed everything—the storytelling, prose, characters, voicing, imagery, and themes.
A brilliant, poignant novel, it’s worth reading for all those who want a classic story in a different light.
20. Cassandra by Christa Wolf
An incredibly poetic and delicate, Cassandra is a stunning feminist retelling of Greek mythology. Wolf recreates the myths of the Trojan and Cassandra war, seeking to imagine the opposite of these plots. Also thinking about how the political dynamics of antiquity developed towards pillaging. And how this process resulted in the objectification of women. Cassandra, the daughter of Ecuba and Priamo, has the gift of sight but the curse of never being heard. She is a woman who, despite everything, shows herself extremely strong. Balanced between the flow of consciousness and the formality of epicness, Wolf’s prose unfolds her fight to make her voice heard in a violent and masculine context where the power dynamics are so entangled.
A must-read for Greek mythology fans, it’s an epic tale and indeed one of the best books like Circe!