Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Rating: 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Quote: “What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another. We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory… We are men only, a brief flare of the torch.”
(taken from Goodreads– because I think they have a beautifully written 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.
This book was stunning, breathtaking and amazing. I never thought I would care about the battles and people in the Trojan War as much as I did in this book. Not only was the storyline wonderful, but there was also a devastatingly beautiful love story that pulled on my heartstrings. The book discusses the struggles in Greek myths between gods and heroes, hubris and compassion, and immortal fame and the human heart.
This book had such an epic feeling! This story covered a period of about 20 years, and we really got to see the characters grow into themselves in a fascinating way. I adored Patroclus and Achilles together, and I loved seeing their relationship blossom even amongst the many struggles they face. I really appreciated how natural their relationship was throughout this book. The ease at which Miller wrote these marvelous characters made me easily fall in love with Patroclus and Achilles’s love.
Madeline Miller wrote an amazing book! I think that everyone should read her stunning retelling of The Iliad, although be warned that there is a lot of death and destruction– as is typical from Greek tragedies. I wouldn’t go into the book expecting a happily ever after, but I hope you will learn to adore this love story nonetheless.
Ok! So here are some spoilers about this book. I could go on forever but I’ve decided to mostly focus on the main points of the book!
First, I want to acknowledge that I adored Patroclus. He was clever, sweet, and caring. I loved watching him get to know the men during the war because he tended to their wounds, and I truly believe that Achilles did not deserve him. That being said, I did love their relationship! I appreciated the honesty and commitment between them, and I think Miller did an astounding job breathing life into these heroic characters from myths. However, Achilles really got on my nerves in the middle of the book. He just wouldn’t be realistic, and if he would have just put aside his pride, everything may have played out differently! It was frustrating!!!
Ok, now to the ending…
Oh my gosh, this book wrecked me! Even though I worried about Patroclus dying the entire book, it was still heartbreaking when it happened! When he went out into battle dressed as Achilles, I was just yelling at him to stop and go back! It was awful to see Patroclus get stuck, then watch the life drain out of him. The narration for the rest of the book was fascinating since it is still from Patroclus’s point of view- even in death.
It is at this point in the story that we can really see how Patroclus had become Achilles’s moral compass and without him, Achilles snapped. Weeping, brutal killing, defacing Hector, and everything else Achilles went on to do in his grief really made him into the bloodthirsty Greek hero that we all know from mythology. But this book created a history and backstory for Achilles full of love, passion, pain, and fear. Knowing Achilles in this way really made the ending all the more realistic and heartbreaking.
I cried when Achilles died and Patroclus was refused burial with him. It was just so freaking sad, and I wanted more for them! But this struggle made the last pages all the more sweet because Achilles’s mother was a hindrance to their relationship throughout the book, so seeing her accept Patroclus as a large part of Achilles life was stunningly beautiful. They can now spend the afterlife entwined in each other’s arms.
Well there are my thoughts! Have you read this book? What did you think?
Happy reading and stay safe! ❤️
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