Wrath Goddess Sing

Maya Deane. Morrow, $27.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-316118-4

Deane’s tour de force debut gives The Iliad the beating heart of a legendary warrior. Alaksandu the Hittite prince has stolen Helen, the wife of King Menelaos, using magic, and it’s prophesied that only Achilles, the transgender demigod daughter of Athena, can defeat him. But Achilles is hiding on Skyros, transitioning using herbal medicines, and doesn’t want to abandon her only chance at staving off her natural puberty. To convince her to go with King Agamemnon to win Helen back, Athena comes to Achilles and grants her the body she’s always prayed for. But Helen is more than mortal and certainly not the passive prize the Greeks have painted her. Soon, Achilles is enmeshed in a web of godly plots and counterplots, searching for a set of ancient magical weapons powerful enough to defeat Zeus himself before he can wipe the world clean. Deane’s narrative soars: epic in scope without ever growing tedious, with a huge supporting cast (including many wonderful LGBTQ characters) that readers will have no trouble keeping straight due to their beautifully shaded personalities. Add in massive battle scenes, meddling gods, and all the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, and the result brings the familiar story to fresh, vivid, and unforgettable new life. Agent: Jason Yarn, Jason Yarn Literary. (June)
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