“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
It’s Meaghan here, and back again with a new book! I started A Song of Achilles last night, expecting something great, and actually getting greater in return! (I also may have stayed up until close to 3 AM reading until my eyes rebelled against me and begged me to sleep.) My full review is below, but it does include spoilers under the read more!
“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”
Stars (Out of 10): 9/10
Overall Thoughts: There are some books that are purely entertainment, there to please your mind for a few hours, linger a little after, but fade in importance in your mind after time. This book was not one of those books. The Song of Achilles was an experience, with beautiful writing and lessons to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the character growth seen in Patroclus to the relationship between him and Achilles. My only issue with the book was just how slow it moved, but it does fit the writing style and story. If you’re looking for a book to move you, and make you feel and experience reading differently, I would say to definitely pick up this book.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
The Good: Where do I even begin? The writing flowed beautifully, and the sentences endings holding on to the beginnings of the next. The plot was also fantastic, and the characters and their growth was amazing. I also loved how “Greek” it felt, and rather it feeling like a simple retelling of a Greek Myth, it could simply be the myth itself, with a new life breathed into it.
The Bad: This category would be empty if it wasn’t for the slow pace. I didn’t expect that going into the book, so I originally picked it up as a stand-alone book that was more simple while I took a break from the Falling Kingdoms series. The slow pace worked perfectly with the book, but unfortunately it did cause me to put the book down for breaks between chapters occasionally.
The Characters: I absolutely loved Patroclus, and Achilles in the beginning. I loved the growth we see in Patroclus, from the shy, withdrawn, and pushed aside boy, to the grown man who fights to save his lover’s honor in the end, dying in doing so. Achilles had more of a love/hate relationship with me though, as I loved him with Patroclus and how Patroclus spoke of him, but I hated how he was in the end, as he became selfish and obsessed with his honor.
The Plot: While yes the plot wasn’t “original” since it was an adaptation, I still really loved it. I loved the romantic spin given to Achilles and Patroclus, and how even though it was important to them, it wasn’t the entire point of the book, which I tend to see a lot these days.
The World Building: I loved how “Ancient Greek” this felt, as if it could fit in with the myths themselves. It portrayed the Gods and Ancient Greek culture in a way series like Percy Jackson never could, and made it seem much more real and historical.
The Stereotypical Tropes: The Chosen One
Favorite Character: Patroclus!
Buy it, Borrow it, Or Bin it: Buy it!