Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week my Can’t-Wait-For is Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane!Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane
Representation: Trans MC
Published on: 7th June 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Drawing on ancient texts and modern archeology to reveal the trans woman's story hidden underneath the well-known myths of The Iliad, Maya Deane's Wrath Goddess Sing weaves a compelling, pitilessly beautiful vision of Achilles' vanished world, perfect for fans of Song of Achilles and the Inheritance trilogy.
The gods wanted blood. She fought for love.
Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the "prince" Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman's body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance.
But the gods--a dysfunctional family of abusive immortals that have glutted on human sacrifices for centuries--have woven ancient schemes more blood-soaked and nightmarish than Achilles can imagine. At the center of it all is the cruel, immortal Helen, who sees Achilles as a worthy enemy after millennia of ennui and emptiness. In love with her newfound nemesis, Helen sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death.
An innovative spin on a familiar tale, this is the Trojan War unlike anything ever told, and an Achilles whose vulnerability is revealed by the people she chooses to fight...and chooses to trust.
This premises ticks every single box I have – including my myth-nerd ones: the opening of the Iliad, Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War, is generally translated as something like ‘Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Achilles’, which makes Wrath Goddess Sing an especially appropriate title for this book in so many ways. (One famous translation reads as ‘Rage–goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles’, which is even closer to Deane’s title – it’s the first three words, Rage/Wrath Goddess Sing, see?) It’s a lovely nod to the Iliad from a book that is a complete re-imagining of that story.
(I’m also tickled by the fact that my Classical Civilisations teacher, who taught my class about the Iliad and the Odyssey and many other things Ancient Greek, shares a surname with Deane. It’s a tiny detail, but it delights me.)
I am Very Done with seeing the Greek gods or myths used in urban fantasy, but Wrath Goddess Sing is not UF and sounds perfectly epic in all senses of the word. Trans woman Achilles!!! That’s really all I need to hear, but almost everything else about this book sounds just as incredible – Helen as a terrifying villain rather than a victim without agency!!! Trans priestesses!!! Athene as Achilles’ mother!!!
I’m so looking forward to all the ways Deane is going to change the myths I know. Retellings often stick so closely to the source material that they’re predictable, but we already know from the blurb that a lot more than Achilles’ gender has changed here – just Athene as Achilles’ mum is a big deal already, as is the heavy implication that there will be no Achilles/Patroclus shenanigans here – at least, not sexual ones. And an Achilles who wants a child, rather than one who wants only glory??? BIG. DEAL. I don’t know how the story will go, and I am so happy about that, and excited!
…Okay, I nerded out more than a little. I’m not sorry. I’ve preordered the hell out of this, and you should as well – TRANS WOMAN ACHILLES!
Seriously. Cannot. Wait!!!