The Song of Achilles | Review

☾ about the book

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeleine Miller
Published: 2011
Format: paperback, novel
Pages: 352
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger Warnings: murder, death, slavery, abduction, abandonment, torture, mention of rape, blood depictions, human sacrificing, physical violence, human trafficking, graphic mention of a plague, self-harm, child abuse, and war themes

☾ the synopsis

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. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, 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 then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

☾ the characters

Patroclus is young when he meets Achilles, and after a rocky start, Achilles choses him as his companion.
Their friendship to each other grows into love that neither of them want to let go off.
While Achilles is plagued by his mother and the knowledge that he is destined for greater things, Patroclus has to deal with the fact that one day, he might lose his lover for good – and he won’t be able to do anything about it.

☾ the world building

The story is set in the Ancient Greece of the Illiad.
The Song of Achilles is a romantic retelling of the relationship between the great Achilles and his henchman Patroclus.

☾ what i liked about this book

The gay yearning in this book is real.
The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is absolutely heartbreaking, and seeing it develop in a story told over multiple years made it even more special.
I also enjoyed the fact that many other characters from Greek Mythology made an appearance, and that there was plot beyond the blossoming relationship.

☾ what i didn’t like about this book

The first 100 pages or so contained a lot of talk about Achilles’ feet – Patroclus kept noticing and admiring them.
Apparently it is only something I noticed because I connect a lot of things to Achilles as a character, but I have to admit, it was unnerving and weird – it also seemed to have no proper purpose (nope, not even forshadowing).
I also have to say that the supposedly poetic writing style got completely lost on me, but that doesn’t mean I hated the way it was written.

☾ should you read this book?

I’m going to be honest, the ending of this book broke my heart so much that I do not have the words to explain the absolutely ethereal experience that was reading this book, so if you decide to pick this book up, be warned: It is extremely emotional.
The Song of Achilles is a book that you can’t talk about – you have to experience it.

Have you read The Song of Achilles?
What did you think of it?
Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments below.

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