Review: THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller

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THE SONG OF ACHILLES
Madeline Miller
Published: April 12th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: 352
The Song of Achilles

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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 differences, 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’s 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.

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

I knew what I was signing up for – mainly the tears and sadness and anger – when I started this, but I was not ready for how incredible The Song of Achilles was. I didn’t expect to care so much about the tale of Patroclus and Achilles and the fall of Troy, but here I was, clutching tightly to my paperback copy and foolishly hoping someone would swoop in and save these two boys.

Which did not happen, of course. Just like I knew it would not.

Miller did such an amazing job weaving the story of Achilles from Patroclus’s POV. The writing was so beautiful and it gave this dreamy atmosphere to the book. It hooked me right from the first page, giving a new voice to a story I already knew and making it even more compelling than it already was.

The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles was as beautiful and it was tragic. They had a bond, simple as that, which developed and deepened as they grew up from boys to men. It was a delight reading about them falling in love, even when I knew how things would end. I liked the quiet moments they spent together best. Just the two of them, away from the world and what awaited them.

But this was not an easy book to read at times, since it didn’t shy away from difficult subjects. The author didn’t tried to pretend certain things didn’t happen or didn’t exist. Rape was present in the story, and so was a lot of violence, abuse against woman, and misogyny. It was mentioned in passing or shown in the actions of some characters, but still there.

The ending didn’t make things easier to me. I was prepared, but not prepared. I cried when it happened and I didn’t really stop until the book ended. And Patroclus still being the narrator only made things worse, in away. But it was still such a great ending to this tragic story, even if it broke my heart a little bit.

There really aren’t words to describe how much I loved The Song of Achilles. It took me so long to pick it up because I was scared of all the sadness I knew it would bring, but now that I’ve read it I’m glad to say it was more than worth it. It was an amazing book, and it’s definitely going on my ‘favorites’ shelf.

*

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