The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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Awwww. Patroclus & Achilles.

I’m feeling a bit lazy today, partly because I’m watching my almost 2 year-old nephew L, and I’m already a bit worn out! So here’s the description from the dust jacket:

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Why don’t I read more books about ancient Greece? There’s so much passion and tragedy and brutality. Troy was my favorite movie for ages. And yeah I know it’s not exactly faithful to the story or legend of whatever, but it was still an awesome movie that made me cry in the theater.

So, yeah, this was a really well-written book. Obviously it was big on the love and romance and it wouldn’t be Greek without the tragedy part of it. Patroclus & Achilles were SO SWEET, and so perfect for each other. Patroclus is a good kid, even if he’s a bit timid at times. And I really liked Achilles in this book, for the most part – he’s shown mostly as a normal boy growing up, but with a self-assurance and grace that the other boys don’t have. He always speaks simply and honestly. And he didn’t take a particular joy in fighting or violence – instead he took pride in his abilities, as an athlete.

Also, I really liked the pace of this book. I’m glad that most of the 10 years of the Trojan War are kind of glazed over, but the book never got dull. I read it pretty rapidly.

This book was really sweet and a bit sad and I enjoyed it lots. It also made me realize… maybe I should attempt reading The Illiad and The Odyssey eventually. I had to read parts of The Odyssey in college and it bored me to tears, but I think that with some Sparknotes or something I could probably appreciate it a lot more now. I always assumed that there’s just no way I’m ever going to even try to read them in their entirety because they’re so intimidating, but maybe I could do it! Maybe.

Anyways, so yes! The Song of Achilles is good book, especially if you like Greek stories.

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

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12 comments

  1. I LOVED this book. It also inspired me to go back and try to read The Iliad. It was a disappointment after reading Miller’s brisk and lovely prose. Plus I missed the romance!

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  2. Man oh man I loooooved this book. I think it was the best love story I’ve ever read. I’d love to dig into both The Iliad and The Odyssey but I’m so intimidated :/

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