The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Published by Ecco on August 28, 2012
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Goodreads avg: 4.3 (as of 2018-09-06)
cw: rape, brutal murder, everything you would expect from war
Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.
They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Alright, I can see what all the fuss is about now. I had been intending to pick this up for a while now, mostly due to the hype. Luckily, someone in my postal book club chose it, so I had a great excuse to read it!
As if he had heard me, he smiled, and his face was like the sun.
I went into The Song of Achilles relatively blind, knowing not much except that it was about Achilles and was allegedly super gay. Both of these things are true. I’m not very familiar with the mythology, so almost all of the plot was new to me. I’m not sure whether this enhanced or detracted from my experience, but it definitely brought a lot of surprises! I think I could have benefited from knowing the other players a little more, as they sort of blurred together for me, but I also found the story itself more enjoyable because I didn’t know what would happen next.
I feel like I could eat the world raw.
It’s hard to classify this into a genre. It’s kind of fantasy, kind of historical fiction, and kind of romance. And let me tell you, Madeline Miller really knows how to write a romance. Even though I’m not typically one for historical fiction or classics, I found myself really drawn into both the plot and the writing. The characters were so well done and I felt I really understood Patroclus and his motivations. It was incredible to watch both the boys mature and change in their own separate ways.
My mind is filled with cataclysm and apocalypse: I wish for earthquakes, eruptions, flood. Only that seems large enough to hold all of my rage and grief. I want the world overturned like a bowl of eggs, smashed at my feet.
Overall, this was a really nice read and I’m glad I got around to it! I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t gotten a chance to pick it up yet (I may have been the only one left).