The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


RATING: 4.5 stars

BLURB: “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 into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.”


This book. There are a lot of things I could say about this book, all of them brilliant things – but the most important thing, I think, is the fact that it really got to me. I had a basic knowledge of the story of Achilles, but knew absolutely nothing about Patroclus – making it even more impressive that Miller managed to make me care deeply about both characters, as well as several other more minor characters, such as the servant girl Briseis. There were twists and turns every other page that had me completely hooked, unable to tear my eyes from the page. Miller’s portrayal of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, friends-turned-lovers, is completely and utterly believable. Their hesitation and wariness in acting on their feelings is so typically real, making the story seem less like an Ancient Greek myth and more like a modern realism novel. Miller’s use of language is also absolutely beautiful – although written in a light, easy way that means it can be read at the fast pace it needs to be read at, there are lines here and there that literally caused me a stab of pain, they were so beautiful and heartbreaking – particularly when Patroclus begins to fear the death of Achilles. Every emotion felt by the characters in the novel was felt by me, because of Miller’s fantastic writing. And although the ending moved me deeply and really affected me, it was so beautifully done that I couldn’t stay in a melted puddle on the floor for very long. I would HIGHLY recommend this book even for those of you who aren’t history/mythology lovers.


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