Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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The Song of Achilles
   by: Madeline Miller

Publication Date: Sept. 20, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Mythology, Historical Fiction
Age Group:
Borrowed from library
Page Count:
352 pages
Order Links:  Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars

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. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, 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 when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

I wasn't originally going to review this one, because I honestly don't even know how I could attempt to do justice to such a beautiful book. But I really wanted people to know how much I enjoyed this one and to put it on their radar if it hadn't been already. So. We'll give this a go.

Most of you know the story of Achilles, whether you've read The Iliad or seen the movie Troy, or having studied him in school. Having been born to a goddess and a King, he is obviously more. He is an extremely fast, skilled fighter and his destiny lies in greatness. I can't imagine the burden he must feel to know he is different than the others in his life. That is why it was such a surprise to see him befriend Patroclus, who has been exiled to his father's court. There is seemingly nothing special about Patroclus at all. He doesn't fit in with the others and keeps to himself. However, he and Achilles end up forming a friendship that transcends all others. It was such a beautiful thing to witness, as both end up being exactly what the other needs.

Their friendship turns into something more and while it was common for young boys at this time, most ended up marrying and growing out of their desire for one another. It wasn't the case for Achilles and Patroclus. Neither was interested in seeking attention from women and despite being pushed to do so, their hearts clearly belonged to one another. Patroclus might have always stood in Achilles' shadow, but to Achilles he was the light in a world of prophecies and expectations. I loved that so much.

So much changes for these two as they embark to fight in the Trojan War. It's impossible to go back to being the two young boys who were able to enjoy life to the fullest while they trained with Chiron or spent time in the palace. They have become men and as we all know Achilles' fatal flaw is his hubris, which is always frustrating to witness no matter how many times I read about him. I think it's because I know the outcome and had he not been so stubborn, so much could have been avoided. My heart hurt as it always does when I read the end, but Miller put her own twist on what happens after, that literally had my heart crying out. While I despised Thetis, Achilles' mother, for most of the book, I can't help but respect her by the end for what she did.

Besides Achilles and Patroclus, I loved Briseis. Seeing what Achilles did for those women really warmed my heart and, as you feel the story turning darker and to the inevitable, Miller inserts these beautiful scenes of love and camaraderie among the Greeks and I just loved reading about them.

There is a reason these are Greek tragedies my friends. You don't get a happy ending. But I promise you, The Song of Achilles, will leave you satisfied and hopeful amidst your grief. If you love Greek mythology and are looking for a beautiful, quiet romance- get this one.

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  1. This is SUCH a gorgeous review, Jessica! You did the book justice much more than I could have! I'm so glad you loved it, your review has me wanting to put my heart through the wringer and read it again. You did such a great job of balancing your emotions with a spoiler-free review, I hope everyone picks up the book after this! <3

    1. Thank you so much Morgan! That means a lot to me that you said that! It definitely wasn't an easy one to review, but I really wanted to try because I want others to read it too! I appreciate you recommending this to me!

  2. Gosh this sounds amazing, Jess! I wasn't expecting a HEA from this one, but it's nice to know that it still leaves you feeling hopeful. I need to see if my library has a copy because this one is obviously one I NEED to read!
    Lovely review, Jess!

    1. Thank you Nick! I really hope your library has a copy! I would love for you to read it!

  3. Wonderful review! I have this one on my wish list, so hopefully it won't take me too long to get around to it. I like that the author had the two boys love each other, as while it's common, I don't really know of many Greek stories/adaptations that do this.


    1. Thank you Lauren! I really hope you enjoy this one! I agree- even though it was a common thing at that time period, we don't read many stories that explore that. It was different and I liked that.

  4. I havent heard of this one before but you have me dying to read it. It sounds fantastic and I love Greek mythology. Great review!

    1. Thanks Teresa! I really hope you decide to check this one out!

  5. Well, I read The Iliad in school and I loved it, plus I've seen Troy, so this book was on my tbr shelf already but then you gushed about it in a post recently and reminded me I need to read this one. I'm so happy you decided to review it anyway because now I NEED to read it. For real, things have gotten serious LOL! Lovely review :)

    1. Micheline, DO ITTTTT! Haha. I really hope you like it as much as I did! I always get nervous when I rave about a book because I'm afraid others will hate it!

  6. Lovely review, Jess! I have heard SO much about this book, and everyone seems to love it. Now that you gave it 5 stars I'm thinking I definitely need to give it a try! I really like mythology and Achilles is a favorite character of mine (Brad Pitt *wiggles eyebrows*)

  7. OH I need this I need this I NEED THIS. Your review is lovely, and I don't know why I have put off reading this for so long, because it has been on my TBR since I created a Goodreads account. I love anything to do with Ancient Greece/Troy/History, and although I haven't read the Iliad, I still need this in my life!

  8. Sooo I own this now and I know you looved it but gosh I'm so nervous now! Like... I'm scared for my heart! But I do like mythology and given how much you loved i WANT to try it. Just know I'll be coming to you when i'm in emotional turmoil. loved this review!

  9. What a fantastic review, Jess! I know what you mean about struggling to make justice and finding the words for books you loved so much!

    Clearly I need to make this one my next read once I'm done with what I'm currently reading! AFter all, it'd count for my #RockMyTBR challenge! ;)


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