Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mythology
Publication: September 20th, 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing
My Rating: ★★★★★
Before I read this, I had been hearing so much about it. A lot of good things: that it’s excellent, touching, heartbreaking, and an overall incredible book. The plot did sound like something I’d absolutely love, but I was concerned that it was being overhyped. Going in, I tried to keep my expectations low so I wasn’t disappointed.
Turns out, I was the opposite of disappointed. This story left me in complete awe, and it ended up being one of the most brilliant and moving books that I’ve ever read.
The plot of this was what first made me interested in reading it. This story is based on a story from Greek mythology, which immediately pulled me in. I’ve been fascinated by Greek mythology ever since I read Percy Jackson & The Olympians, my favorite series when I was a kid. Specifically, this book is a retelling of the Trojan War and the journey that the famous hero Achilles takes to Troy. Only it’s so much more than that: it begins with an exiled Prince named Petroclus, who quickly befriends Achilles, and we read about how the two grow up together and form an unbreakable bond.
The characters themselves were, in my opinion, the greatest part of the story. Patroclus was especially noteworthy and particularly my favorite. I really appreciated that the book was written from his point of view. An obvious choice would’ve been to make this from Achilles’ point of view, as many would already recognize him and his name. But this was just as much, if not more, of Patroclus’ story and I loved following his own journey. I did adore Achilles as well (even if some of his choices were questionable towards the end), and quickly grew to love his friendliness and fierceness. The way he was written was beautiful.
The bond between Patroclus and Achilles was what really touched me. Starting out the story when they were both just children, and then to gradually see them both grow up individually and together, was perfect. I loved their loyalty to one another; how they were always honest and genuine with the other. It was refreshing and moving to read about such a strong relationship, and the two of them just really got to me emotionally.
Besides the characters, I also enjoyed the pacing and how the story moved along. This book takes place over many years and it would’ve been easy for it to drag on or skip too much, but I didn’t have an issue with that at all. The time jumps could be sudden, but I believe we had enough time to understand what we needed to after each one. It didn’t take away from the story whatsoever, and I was glad that it didn’t end up being a boring, slow moving book.
I also want to mention how much I loved the writing style. It was beautiful and pulled me right in to the story. It was so well written that I could feel every moment on such a highly emotional level. The writing was what also made this feel like such an incredibly accurate take on the mythology aspect.
I know that this book, this story, will stay with me for a long time. It will definitely be joining my favorites.
Have you read this book, or planning to read it? Let me know!
Thank you so much for reading,