The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller
my rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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 difference, 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.
Do you ever randomly pick up a book that’s been on your shelf for a couple of months, a year, or years? Then when you’re done reading it you’re just sitting there in tears, clutching the beautiful book to your chest, and in the back of your mind, you’re just kicking yourself for not reading it sooner? I do that all the time, I did that with Ready Player One and now with The Song of Achilles. Why didn’t I read this sooner?! This wonderful book could have been in my life that much sooner!
Ok first of all, can we agree with a sure sign that you love a book is when you have to have it with you whenever. Now when I say that it’s because I now own this book in every format that you could possibly think of. I own an ebook, a paperback copy, and the audiobook. My goal was to make sure that I would be able to pick up this book anytime my little heart desired.
I read this book about a month ago in mid-December and I am still thinking about it a month later in mid-January. I adored the writing, the characters were heartbreaking, and overall I think this had to have been the best mythology retelling I have ever read. It stands out so much in my memory, I never wanted this book to be over.
The writing was so beautiful to me it felt like a love letter, not only to but also about Achilles. In high school, one of my English classes focused on Greek Mythology for a good month or so. We studied the Iliad and the Odyssey and of course, The Battle of Troy. So I knew what was coming but at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect, how was Miller going to keep the story going after certain events?
It turns out, she handled it perfectly, I obviously can’t tell you how because of spoilers.
Even though I knew what was going to happen, there was something about Miller’s storytelling that just added a strong anticipation, I couldn’t stop turning the page and I couldn’t read fast enough, I was addicted.
Can we talk about the characters? Patroclus was so awkward that it was adorable, I experienced that secondhand embarrassment for him, some of it was accompanied by the giddy smile that’s usually reserved for Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
There were also some great cameos/minor characters, Chiron (which made me think of Percy Jackson, and Odysseus were the ones I was excited to see right away.
I ended up shipping Patroclus and Achilles right away, and not because the synopsis hinted at it, I mean I just barely glanced over the synopsis before I dove into the book. But right away you could tell that they would help each other grow, they made each other stronger and better. They learned how to trust, and how to love themselves and each other. It was beautiful and writing this is making me want to tear up all over again.
But of course, nothing gold can stay, happiness does not last forever.
The unhappy thing happened, and just when you thought “okay, there is no way this can be any worse,” nope Miller proves you wrong and your heart breaks all over again.
Writing this review has really made me want to reread this again, hell I wanted to reread this as soon as I hit the last page of the book. It’s a beautifully written tale of friendship, love, adventure, and Greek mythology.
P.s. Which cover do you like more?
I’m equally torn for different reasons. For the US cover, I love that blue background, it’s probably my favorite shade of blue and it makes the helmet just pop out at you.
But then, you look at the UK cover and in my opinion? It. Is. Stunning. I adore the red font and the red background, also that gold armor with the filigree just captures my attention.
The only negative I think of is this, I don’t know why but there is something about that armor that isn’t screaming “Greek” to me, I don’t know what else it’s making me think of, but if I didn’t know anything about the book, I don’t think I would pick it up and think “oh this is probably set in Ancient Greece.” Is that just me? Let me know if you get what I’m trying to say.