87 books like Metamorphoses

By Ovid, Allen Mandelbaum (translator),

Here are 87 books that Metamorphoses fans have personally recommended if you like Metamorphoses. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The King Must Die

Mark Knowles Author Of Argo

From my list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all read (or write) fiction for a bit of escapism, don’t we? To come face-to-face with the good, the bad, and the ugly of bygone days… The ancient Mediterranean is the place I would most love to visit in a time machine (albeit fully armed and in a hazmat suit), and these writers are – for me – the best at transporting readers there from the comfort of a sofa. I’ve tried plenty of historical fiction set in other times and places - much of it very good, but the smell of olive groves, the chirruping of cicadas, and the Aegean sun always call me back!

Mark's book list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt

Mark Knowles Why did Mark love this book?

Some authors have an innate faculty for bringing the dim and distant past into such razor-sharp clarity that it’s hard not to believe that they were once present at the time. That’s how it is with Mary Renault (real name Eileen Mary Challans): any number of her books could have made this list.

What I particularly love about this duology (the sequel The Bull From the Sea isn’t quite as strong) is that Renault retold the ancient tale of Theseus and the Minotaur as historical fiction. Though she followed the main beats of the well-known story, she boldly stripped it of gods, monsters, and magic, and the narrative doesn’t suffer at all from it. If anything, it makes it even more compelling because it feels like she has stumbled upon a possible origin to the myth.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The King Must Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birth right, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.


Book cover of The Song of Achilles

Simon Wu Author Of Dancing on My Own: Essays on Art, Collectivity, and Joy

From my list on overthink and cry at the club with.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last seven years, I’ve worked with art and artists, particularly those who prioritize spaces like nightclubs as spaces of expression. Museums and nightclubs have both helped me bring my fullest self to fruition, from my queer experiences to my immigrant experiences. I believe something magical resides within those spaces that connect friends, family, and music, and it remains difficult to put a finger on, but you recognize it when you see it. These books are just a taste of a way to better understand that experience of collectivity—across love, friendship, and art—and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! 

Simon's book list on overthink and cry at the club with

Simon Wu Why did Simon love this book?

Growing up, I craved gay love stories because they didn’t seem possible; when I read Miller’s adaptation of Achilles and Patroclus’ relationship from Greek Myth, I began to think that we’d been here all along.

I was so taken by this love story that I read fan fiction about it for months afterward, trying to prolong the afterglow for as long as I could. I cried, danced, and cried again. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Song of Achilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**OVER 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD**
**A 10th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION, FEATURING A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR**

WINNER OF THE ORANGE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION
A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Captivating' DONNA TARTT
'I loved it' J K ROWLING
'Ravishingly vivid' EMMA DONOGHUE

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms…


Book cover of Mythos

Gerard Pasterkamp Author Of Painted Science: The history of scientific discoveries, explorers and technological developments captured in painting

From my list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist in the field of medicine, and I like to read books that provide a surprising insight into our thinking and decision-making with a scientific basis. It is special how we think we are acting rationally while much of our action is influenced by the environment and news that comes our way. Some of the books in my list provide special insights that are refreshing and hold a mirror up to us.

Gerard's book list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner

Gerard Pasterkamp Why did Gerard love this book?

Greek mythology that reads like a storybook.

I never thought I would enjoy reading Greek mythology. But how Fry wrote it is really amazing. Now, when I go to a museum and see an ancient painting depicting Greek Mythology, I am often able to explain what is visualised in the artwork.

In the book, Zeus and the other Gods get a true character and the fights they have are depicted in a way that you still want to read it till the end, even if you know what the end will look like. 

By Stephen Fry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Mythos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

STEP INTO ANOTHER WORLD - OF MAGIC, MAYHEM, MONSTERS AND MANIACAL GODS - IN STEPHEN FRY'S MOMENTOUS SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, MYTHOS

'A romp through the lives of ancient Greek gods. Fry is at his story-telling best . . . the gods will be pleased' Times
___________

No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.

In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling, we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld.…


Book cover of Lovely War

Allyson Dahlin Author Of Cake Eater

From my list on YA that put a fictional twist on real history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Marie Antoinette since I watched Sofia Coppola’s film about her as a teenager. Pair that with a Les Miserables musical obsession and a Francophile dad that loved history, and I became fascinated with the French Revolution. My interest was re-ignited years later after I visited Versailles and wandered the foggy gardens where I must have gotten haunted by a French ghost because the idea for Cake Eater struck me after I returned home. I was in a bit of a writing slump at the time, but the idea took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I drafted Cake Eater for Nanowrimo and it became my debut novel.

Allyson's book list on YA that put a fictional twist on real history

Allyson Dahlin Why did Allyson love this book?

This totally unique retelling blends Greek mythology with World War I and II history in a beautiful way that stuck with me long after I finished the last page.

There are tons of Greek retellings to choose from, but the added element of the World Wars storyline makes this one stick out from the crowd. Aphrodite strikes a deal on trial and must tell the story of two war-torn couples. The story has a big sweeping feel, full of tragedy and romance.

Lovely War brings to mind Greek epics in its scope and feeling, but the setting gives it a fresh feel. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

By Julie Berry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Lovely War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller!

A sweeping, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates--and the hearts--of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals…


Book cover of The Metamorphoses

Leopoldine Prosperetti Author Of Woodland Imagery in Northern Art, c. 1500 - 1800: Poetry and Ecology

From my list on trees in literature and art.

Why am I passionate about this?

"Ut pictura poesis", as goes painting so goes poetry is a pithy phrase that sums up the truth that a picture is mute poetry and poetry is a speaking picture. I have studied the history of this tradition from many angles and I have derived from it the term “lyrical naturalism” which I use to discover what is charming or captivating in the world of plants. As an art historian, well-read in European literature, I regard myself as a member of the environmental humanities which increasingly is the home of many academics eager to participate in the great debate on how to honor the natural world in literature and art before it is too late.

Leopoldine's book list on trees in literature and art

Leopoldine Prosperetti Why did Leopoldine love this book?

There is no book as rich in tree imagery as Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It is a book of fables many of which are about trees. Best known, I believe, is the story of Apollo and Daphne, in which a nymph is transformed into a laurel tree. The fable that I use in the book is the story of Pan and Syrinx, painted collaboratively by Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. It explains the mythical origins of the sedges and reeds that fringe the riverbanks.

By Ovid, Hendrik Goltzius (illustrator), A.S. Kline (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Metamorphoses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Metamorphoses - Ovid. A translation into English prose by A. S. Kline. Published in entirety with mythological index and illustrations by Hendrik Goltzius.

In the Metamorphoses Ovid retells stories from the Greek myths, arranging them in roughly chronological order, from the origins of the world to his own times. His charming and graceful versions, full of life and interest, express his humanist approach, his feeling for pathos, and his endless curiosity and delight in human affairs. Each tale involves a transformation of some kind, and the whole collection provided a potent source of motifs and images for later art,…


Book cover of The Door in the Mountain (The Ariadne Series)

Charlene Challenger Author Of The Voices In Between

From my list on with “difficult” protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find “difficult” characters fascinating because their humanity isn’t easily discerned. They’re often complex and richly drawn and show us aspects of ourselves we may not want to admit to others. Examining the ugly, the hidden, can be exhilarating.

Charlene's book list on with “difficult” protagonists

Charlene Challenger Why did Charlene love this book?

Set against a beautiful, violent landscape, The Door in the Mountain is the story of Ariadne, a young princess navigating her culture’s customs and her personal responsibilities. In Ariadne’s world, the course of one’s life is determined by whether one has a “godmark” – a special gift or ability granted by the heavens. Ariadne desperately wants to be godmarked like her brother and parents. That desperation fuels a mean streak that, at times, turns to downright cruelty. Caitlin Sweet is a master of characterization, and as a reader, I can’t help but sympathize with Ariadne’s longing to fit in with her family – to be considered their equal in all aspects – even when her words and actions are despicable to those around her. 

By Caitlin Sweet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Door in the Mountain (The Ariadne Series) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Ancient Crete: a place where a beautiful, bitter young princess named Ariadne schemes to imprison her godmarked half-brother deep in the heart of a mountain maze, where a boy named Icarus tries, and fails, to fly--and where a slave girl changes the paths of all their lives forever.


Book cover of Starcrossed

Stephanie Storm Author Of The Witch Clans: The Heritage

From my list on YA fantasy with strong female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stephanie Storm is a talented young adult fantasy author whose writing is reminiscent of classic fantasy novels with a modern twist. Her imaginative storytelling and richly developed characters draw readers into immersive worlds filled with magic, adventure, and breathtaking landscapes. Her writing style is enchanting, capturing the hearts of readers of all ages and leaving them eagerly turning pages late into the night. Growing up with her nose buried in a book, she found solace and inspiration in the escapism and limitless possibilities of the genre. Her imagination was sparked by the enchanting stories she devoured, which fuelled her passion for writing and creating her own fantastical tales.

Stephanie's book list on YA fantasy with strong female characters

Stephanie Storm Why did Stephanie love this book?

Greek Gods and Godesses are usually a very over done genre, but Josephine nails her take on a retelling.

This series is hands down one of my top series even after all this time and I squealed with joy when I saw that she continued the series when we thought it was done!

By Josephine Angelini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Starcrossed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton sees Lucas Delos for the first time she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

With an ancient curse making them loathe one another, Lucas and Helen have to keep their distance. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen . . .

The first book in Josephine Angelini's thrilling series, Starcrossed is a passionate love story that began thousands of…


Book cover of The Greek Myths

Lance Lee Author Of Orpheus Rising: By Sam And His Father John With Some Help From A Very Wise Elephant Who Likes To Dance

From my list on YA/middle grade fantasy and their parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don't write within received categories: our lives aren't lived in categories, but are full of varying realities, whether of home, childhood, marriage, parenthood, fantasy, dream, work, or relaxation, and more all mixed together. I can't write in any other way, however dominant a particular strand or age may be on the surface in a given work. Orpheus Rising may have a child hero, and a fantastic, elegant Edwardian Elephant as a spirit guide, but it let me tell a story of love lost and regained, of family broken and remade, of a father in despair and remade, themes of real importance in any life.

Lance's book list on YA/middle grade fantasy and their parents

Lance Lee Why did Lance love this book?

This is the best collection of the Greek Myths I believe, and of course covers the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, the direct inspiration for my book. In the classical myth the poet and musician Orpheus loses his love, Eurydice, and sings his way into Hades, overcoming all opposition, until even Hades agrees to let him have Eurydice back in the living world, so long as he does not look back at her until returned there. Once in daylight he does look back, and loses her forever as she hasn't stepped into daylight too. However, unlike Orpheus my young hero succeeds.

By Robert Graves,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Greek Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Graves's classic retelling of the Greek Myths is definitive, comprehensive and unparalleled - and available now in the Penguin Classics Deluxe series, featuring a new introduction from Rick Riordan (bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and Olympian series).

Including many of the greatest stories ever told - the labours of Hercules, the voyage of the Argonauts, Theseus and the minotaur, Midas and his golden touch, the Trojan War and Odysseus's journey home - Robert Graves's superb and comprehensive retelling of the Greek myths for a modern audience has been regarded for over fifty years as the definitive version.

With…


Book cover of Age of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships

Amalia Carosella Author Of Helen of Sparta

From my list on retelling Greek myths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been playing in the sandbox of Greek myth as a writer for two decades, and passionately absorbed by it for even longer. My mother raised us all to love ancient history, and I was further encouraged by my brother at age 7, who brought home a copy of Bulfinch and taught me the difference between Heracles and Hercules, cementing my delight and inspiring me to pursue a BA in Classical Studies. The result was not only my Helen of Sparta duology, by a plethora of other works exploring our relationships to the divine in the retelling of historically-grounded myths, some well-known, and some half-forgotten.

Amalia's book list on retelling Greek myths

Amalia Carosella Why did Amalia love this book?

This graphic novel is an absolute gift to anyone interested in both many of the lesser-known but no less fascinating narrative digressions of the Trojan War cycle and the visual exploration of what the late bronze age might have truly looked like. Shanower has given so much attention to period details and clothing, to the settings and backgrounds of palace, ship, and landscape. If you’re like me and you struggle to really see what the archaeological record has presented to us in rough floor plans and surviving artworks as a whole picture of life and living, this is an absolute must-read as a gorgeously illustrated narrative of the Trojan War—and the people who existed in the period we often refer to as Mycenean.

By Eric Shanower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Age of Bronze Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

This new, fully colored edition brings the historical action within the pages of AGE OF BRONZE to new, greater levels.

Daring heroes, breathtaking women, betrayals, love and death--the most spectacular war story ever told: The Trojan War. When a lustful Trojan prince abducts the beautiful Queen Helen of Sparta, Helen`s husband vows to recover her no matter the cost. So begins the Trojan War. From far and wide the ancient kings of Greece bring their ships to join the massive force to pledge their allegiance to High King Agamemnon. Featuring the greatest of the Greek heroes: Achilles, Odysseus, and Herakles,…


Book cover of Heroes: the Greek Myths Reimagined

T.M. Rowe Author Of A Viking Moon

From my list on transporting you back through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have three lifelong passions, the first was reading, then writing, and then archaeology/history. To this end I studied and trained as an archaeologist before I sat down and decided to write stories set in the past as a way of bringing it to life. Of course, there had to be an adventure, a bit of a mystery, and a dash of magic to bring it all together. The books on my list are just a few of those that I have enjoyed reading during my hunt to get to know the past in intimate detail – on my own time travelling journey.

T.M.'s book list on transporting you back through time

T.M. Rowe Why did T.M. love this book?

My love of ancient Greek heroes began with the old stop footage films of the 70s and early 80s.

The bravery, the adventure, and the mystery had me hooked at a young age. So, it was a delight to find a book that dealt with the heroes of the ancient Greeks in such an easy-to-read way. This book is not just a rehash of those much-loved tales such as Jason and the Argonauts or Odysseus, Stephen Fry has brought a more modern language to the stories making them relatable and relevant for today.

This is an all-time favourite of mine.

By Stephen Fry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . .
___________

There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes.

Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes.

In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Greek mythology, Ovid, and the Trojan War?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Greek mythology, Ovid, and the Trojan War.

Greek Mythology Explore 72 books about Greek mythology
Ovid Explore 15 books about Ovid
The Trojan War Explore 35 books about the Trojan War