The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

Paperback - 2012
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Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780062060617
Characteristics: 378 p. ; 24 cm.


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From the critics

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Nov 06, 2020

Absolutely loved this book. I didn’t think I would but I found myself reading chapter after chapter and 17 chapters later I was hooked. This book is really well written. I like the first person narrative and I love how It plays out. The Iliad is an extremely popular story. I love how we get to grow with Achilles and Patroclus. I admire the friendship and absolutely love the ending. I would buy this book for my personal collection.

Oct 26, 2020

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a beautiful story following Greek Hero Achilles and his lover and companion Patroclus. TSOA follows the two as they grow up together in friendship and learn to fight and heal, all the way to the end of the Battle of Troy, and their afterlife and story of love. Without any specific spoilers, The Song of Achilles is one of the most beautiful, well-written novels about the Greek story of Patroclus and Achilles. The book is poetic, descriptive, and full of meaning and care. It is tear-jerking and heartbreaking, but also happy, comedic, and satisfying throughout the whole story. I would recommend Miller’s novel to anyone interested in classics and Greek Mythology who may not be ready for the true Iliad or Odyssey. The Song of Achilles recounts the Trojan War in a more modern way, and instead of it being a story of just war, it is also of true love, friendship, loss, grief, and the afterlife. The novel itself is truly a work of art, and 100% worth the read (and the tears!). Besides anyone interested in classics and Greek Mythology, The Song of Achilles is a captivating and stunningly-written story that everyone should read. I give the novel 5/5 stars, and would give more if I could! @readingmouse of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Oct 16, 2020

Not my favourite book but I still found it pretty captivating. I can't even really tell what I didn't like about it, it just wasn't for me.

LPL_LeahN Oct 15, 2020

If you consume one story of Achilles, other than the Iliad, it should be this. Madeline Miller's prose and storytelling are peerless. I believe (and my entire speculative fiction book club agrees) that the ending of this book is one of best ever, absolutely perfect, and it will blow you away.

BostonPL_JordanD Aug 25, 2020

Extremely well written and very readable. Unfortunately, this story is not one of my favorites. (I fell asleep during the movie Troy when it was in theaters a million years ago.) It's just too long, not a lot happens, and I can't get behind the reasons for this war. Some scenes did grab my attention, and I liked the ending, but found most of the story to be skimable without feeling like I was missing out on anything. I promise, this is me, not you, Song of Achillies. I much prefer the story of The Odyssey for all that it entails.

Aug 12, 2020

One of my favorite novels of the year (read together with Circe). Authentic to the ancient Greek culture, yet wholly original and modern. A powerful (though very violent/tragic) story.

Jul 19, 2020

A great read and tells an amazing story! I love Greek mythology and the story told between Achilles and Patroclus truly touches the readers heart. Overall I enjoyed it.

So, this is a tough one. Not just for me personally, but subject-wise, tone-wise, and heartache-wise. I see now why everyone said to have tissues ready and to be ready to part with my heart when I finally picked it up. It's been on my list for so long, and though I didn't absolutely adore it, I did really like it.

The Song of Achilles is a retelling of the Iliad focused on Achilles, told through the perspective of Patroclus, his childhood companion and eventual lover. The boys grow up together, learning about the world from famous figures like Achilles' father Peleus and the centaur Chiron before finding themselves battling in the Trojan War.

There are prophecies, violence, and a ton of angst in this novel. Like, excessive amounts of angst, but sprinkled in with moments of pure bliss that left me clutching at the book wishing for happiness for these two boys with every ounce of my being. Some of the scenes of them figuring each other out when they're younger and innocent are just so bittersweet; Madeline Miller really nailed the emotions involved in their relationship, and that is ultimately what kept me reading.

Character-wise, though, I did struggle with Patroclus at first. He feels weak for a large part of the novel, and it left me wondering why Achilles would want him as badly as he does. It's his development over the course of the events that saved it for me. Because truly, he does develop as a character, and it made the ending even more heart-wrenching. Achilles is wonderful, and as they aged, I really grew to love their relationship.

The one word that comes to mind when I think of this book is beautiful. The writing is lyrical and so carefully constructed that I cannot fault any part of it. The atmosphere is wonderful and makes it really feel like an ancient story, simply being retold for us by someone who witnessed it all. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is just...beautiful. I really just don't have any other words for it.

I think I ultimately feel somewhat lukewarm towards it because I never felt truly invested. I wanted to read, I was happy when I was reading (slash also just always melancholic and sad because I knew where it was going), but I didn't have that insatiable urge to read read read. The language slowed me down, as gorgeous and lush as it is, because I felt I had to savour it in order to get the full effect, and I think that contributed as well.

All said and done, though, I am very glad I finally picked this one up. It is a beautiful story about two boys battling for their hearts, for their families, and for their city, and it is a retelling I won't soon forget.

Mar 13, 2020

Great book! Really enjoyable read. Had a nice mix of action with it's romance, enjoyed the Greek methodology.

Mar 10, 2020

If Achilles had a song, of what would it sing?⁣⁣
Is it the heroes who succumbed to his hand in the Trojan War? Is it the extraordinary fate dictated before even his birth? Or is it his love with Patroclus, whose death threw him into such a rage that even the gods could not escape from it unscathed?⁣
Patroclus’ tender eyes shows us another side of the demigod. A golden boy rather than an irritable militant. A reluctant hero rather than a killing machine. A faithful lover even in death. While the epic bellows of his rage and physique, Miller’s song is one of love and mortality.⁣
Rather than simply contextualizing the epic, Miller also wrestles with the eternal mysteries of Greek mythology which are, in another way of speaking, those of life: the relationship between free will and predetermination, friendship and romance, identity and power. In short, The Song of Achilles is one of struggles and growth, of the fragility beneath the mask of invulnerability, of humanity in suppression and conflict.⁣⁣

For more book and movie reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead

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Jul 20, 2020

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Jan 05, 2014

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Aug 22, 2012

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Add a Quote
Jul 21, 2018

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Dec 08, 2017

"Our man liked conquest, they did not trust a man who was conquered himself" (pg 176)

Aug 27, 2016

"Go, he waits for you."

Aug 27, 2016

"This and this and this."

Jun 07, 2015

We were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.

Aug 23, 2012

"She used to be known as the most beautiful woman in our kingdoms. Now they say she's the most beautiful woman in the world.....A thousand ships have sailed for her"


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