The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Book – The Song of Achilles

Author – Madeline Miller

Pages352 pages, Paperback

Genre – Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction

Ratings -
4.6/5

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the only good book I read this year! When I finished reading the first 30 pages of this book, I knew two things for certain –

  1. I am going to love this book
  2. This book is going to break my heart into pieces

I hadn’t read any Greek Mythology, nor was introduced to any characters in movies, or articles. By the time I finished reading this book, I was in love with Patroclus & Achilles, and Greek Mythology.

I even ended up ordering two other Greek Mythology books (which I am yet to read). Madeline Miller, if you are reading this, you made me do this!

About the book:

Published in September 2011, The Songs of Achilles is Madeline Miller’s first book.

It is a retelling of the story of Achilles from Patroclus’ point of view who is an exiled ex-prince. At the heart of the story lies a marvelous love story amidst the War of Troy between the two protagonists.

With an LGBTQIA+ theme, The Song of Achilles is not just a beautiful story of how the purest of love blossoms and matures over a lifetime, but is a book breaking stereotypes since September 2011.

The blurb of the book reads –

Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

Book Review:

The plot of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller has so many twists and turns that I had no idea what to expect. I did not see most of it coming, which is one of the best things about this book. The book is very lyrical right from the first line and easy to read. Reading it was so effortless that it felt like sailing on a very calm, scenic, smooth ocean of blue.

It felt like the book was not just patiently waiting for the reader (me) to start reading, but was infact waiting for me with an open arm to crush my heart into a million pieces as I read this masterpiece.

I found the book to be slow paced for the first half, but the story picked up itself by the time I was half done as and when the War of Troy began. The first half is where the book builds its plot, and the second half is where the book destroys the reader in the most respectful manner. (I am just trying to be funny and sarcastic with this line).

One of the most beautiful things about this book is that it has normalised the same-sex love in a novel which is set thousands of years back, in the ancient times, and not once was any foul comment passed by any of the characters, nor was there any need to clarify the gender. It just was there in the most natural way (just like David and Patrick from Schitts Creek). It was empowering to read a book like this in times like these when people still have to protest for basic human rights.

After I finished this book, I read up on the internet that this is the first book from Patroclus point of view and hence is one of the reasons why the book is very loved, and praised. After reading this book, I can see why this can be a reason to absolutely love this book. The fate of Patroclus and Achilles is heartbreaking and very very painful.

One thing I struggled through the book is to remember the names of each character and who was who. There really were many, especially for someone who was only just introduced to Greek Mythology.

Overall, the book is thought provoking on how ego, pride, and hunger to attain fame can destroy the strongest, the most innocent, and the purest form of love. The last 50 pages will leave you broken so make sure that you read the last 50 pages (alone) curled up in a warm blanket.

There is a movie adaptation focusing on The War of Troy (which is from Achilles’ POV) on Netflix which I found was absolutely not worth my time. One thing which really pissed me off is that the movie portrayed Achilles and Patroclus to be cousins and not lovers. Apparently, people avoided talking about this relationship and I really don’t understand why.

Would I recommend this Book?

Hands down, YES!

This novel is highly recommended to literally everyone. If you want to read Greek Mythology, pick this book. If you want to read a beautiful, classic, epic, and a historic story of love, pick this book. If you just want to read anything good, read this book.

If you want to see how perfect relationships are destroyed for the sake of ego and pride, READ. THIS. BOOK.

My Favorite Quotes from The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller -

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

 

“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.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

 

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

 

“I am made of memories.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

 

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

If you wish to buy this book –

Physical Copy | E-Book

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Kinjal Parekh

Book Blogger || Finance Blogger || Mumbai, India || Indian Booktuber. Kinjal Parekh is highly passionate about reading books and learning about history. Her favorite genres include historic fictions, history non-fiction, mind-body-spirit and poetry books. She loves when a book makes her cry and make her feel vulnerable and emphatic. Apart from books, Kinjal loves to explore and understand how the financial and the economic world works for which she keeps reading economic, financial and business books. One book at a time, she aims to motivate non-readers cultivate the reading habit. She can talk about books all day and night and often tends to cancel out-side plans to stay back home and read a book.

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