Historical Fiction · Review · Young Adult

Book Review: The Song of Achilles

Let’s start a new thing – any book that you’ve read on Ancient Mythology and History, just go ahead and send it to me. I WANT THEM ALL. I’m kind of a little mythology nerd, it’s my thing. Which is why as soon as I heard about Madeline Miller’s The Song of AchillesI had to get my hands on it.

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.

The Good

  • Amazing writing – For this being Miller’s debut novel, wow, just wow. You would never know that this was her first book.
  • Such a beautiful relationship between Patroclus and Achilles. You really felt the growth between them and it came across very believable and natural.
  • Woohoo for YA diversity!
  • I enjoyed seeing the Trojan War from a different perspective than is usually portrayed. Patroclus was a wonderful narrator and it was nice to see him fleshed out as the main character and not his typical minor role.
  • GREEK MYTHOLOGY!!!!

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor_ %22Winter is dead.”

The Bad

  • Pacing was off for me. I felt the buildup to the War for the first 200 pages was a little too long and seemed to drag in parts. Then the actual Trojan War seemed to speed through so fast and was over leaving you not appreciating the fact it had last for 10 years.
  • I agree with my friend Jill from Rant and Rave About Books that some of the major players in the War weren’t fleshed out very well – namely Hector and some of the other Trojans, as well as some of the Greeks.
  • I didn’t like Miller’s portrayal of Odysseus. She kind of turned him into a condescending asshole, which I have never gotten the impression of him being. He’s supposed to be the quiet, logical, and clever anti-warrior who is the complete opposite to the other Trojan War heroes.

I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.

Overall this was a great story with a unique perspective on the classic story of the Trojan War. It’s very obvious that Miller has done her research on the time period, which I really appreciate. It started off a little boring for me but I’m glad I stuck with it. And that ending was just written so beautifully. Hell, the whole book has a very lyrical flow to the writing. Read it now!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read The Song of Achilles? What did you think about it? What other Ancient Mythology books would you recommend?

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Song of Achilles

  1. This is a great review, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this book as well. I agree with you on the pacing and the fact that some of the characters weren’t as well fleshed out, but to be honest I didn’t really notice that so much while I was reading, I was just too engrossed in the story. I loved everything about it, especially the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus despite knowing it would end in heartbreak.
    I’m still not over this book despite reading it a month ago now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, my favorite thing about the book was the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. Patroclus was such an interesting character! And that ending just might be one of the most beautiful endings I’ve ever read.

      Liked by 1 person

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