The Song of Achilles
By: Madeline Miller
# of pages: 352
Challenges: Full House (historical fiction)
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.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
My review: I can’t remember where I stumbled upon this book, but it’s been on my TBR list for a few months. It doesn’t sound overly fascinating, but since I’m interested in mythology and want to learn more, I decided to check it out. I’m so glad I read it because it was great! Miller has a true talent for taking an ancient story of a time and place that are foreign to me and made it interesting and real. I cared about the characters and learned a lot about the story of Achilles and the Trojan War in the process. I visited Greece many years ago and was excited to read about some of the places I’ve seen with my own eyes.
We’ve all heard of Achilles, but this story is about Patroclus, a prince who was exiled from his home to the court of Achilles’ father. Patroclus is an awkward character and definitely doesn’t fit in with the other men of Greece who live to fight for all sorts of different reasons, including the kidnapping (run away?) of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. Patroclus is also very thoughtful and for the most part, he sticks with his values.
I loved how his story and the story of Achilles is realistically woven into the mythical aspects. The gods are a regular part of men’s lives, especially Achilles, whose mother is the sea goddess Thetis. I don’t feel like this review does the book justice, but The Song of Achilles is now one of my favorite books and I’m eager to read more by Madeline Miller.
Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: