The Song of Achilles : book review

I fell in love with Circe by Madeline Miller and I had to read the book that made her debut, The Song of Achilles. Picture Greece in the age of heroes, the narrator is Patroclus son of Menoetius, that makes him a prince but a quite awkward prince in his manner. After a terrible incident, Patroclus is being exiled to Peleus kingdom and that’s where he rubs shoulders with the magnifient Achilles. Greatly moving and original, this retelling of The Trojan War is a brilliant feast of imagination, history and mythology, filled with the angers of the Gods and the human loves and hearts. It sparks a conversation about sexuality, contrasting with duty and loyalty towards the House of the Greek Empires.

The character development was always the main strength of Madeleine Miller, Patroclus comes from the most unusual background among the princes of Greece, he starts with an odd and awkward character, staying in his lane and we get to witness his evolution to assert his character and values, not shying away from figures of authorities.

The only complain I would have is that once the buildup of the relationship was over and once the characters join the Greek’s side in Trojan War, it got boring and dull. Not because the Trojan War is not interesting, but because I feel like I have heard of this war a thousand times that I actually was actively searching for elements that would surprise me, threw me off guard or made me learn something new. But all I got was the exact retelling of the Trojan War, no greater contributions.

However, this is a beautiful tale of love, worship and war, where mortals and Gods come together and Madeline Miller did a wonderful job with her prose and the wonderful characters.

Rating: 3.8/5

Have you read this book? Did you like it ? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

-Trang

7 comments

  • Did you find that the story was more raw and had more energy as a debut than Circe? Or did the author ‘ramp’ things up so-to-speak for Circe?

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  • I thought that The Song of Achilles was certainly more raw and emotional than Circe, in Circe I felt held back a step from the characters whilst in Achilles they felt more whole and easier to connect to.

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  • Like you, after reading and loving Circe, I also picked up The Song of Achilles. But I’ve yet to read it, so it’s still something I’m looking forward to. Glad to hear you enjoyed most of it.

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  • The Song of Achilles is possibly one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I love Patroclus as the narrator because his voice humanised Achilles in a way no one else could. We see Achilles brilliance, arrogance, and power, but we also got to see the boy underneath, the one that only Patroclus was privy to. It made their romance all the more endearing, making the events of the Trojan war strike a more emotional chord. I still need to get my hands on Circe. Love the review. 😀

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