book reviews

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

So, yeah — I’m weeping!

You’re probably familiar with the myth of Achilles, but this story puts a whole new spin on the ancient narrative. The Song of Achilles is Shakespearean in its portrayal of romance and tragedy, yet is modern in the lens that it tells the story of the famous Greek hero and his “most beloved” Patroclus. The book covers years and years of Achilles’ and Patroclus’ lives as they grow closer and, later, as war drags on. And, at the same time (this following comment will be ironic and fitting if you’ve already read the book), your heart will literally and simultaneously be dragged though emotional mud.

The Song of Achilles is like Percy Jackson on steroids!

If you find yourself wondering if you should read this book, let me ask you this: Have you read Percy Jackson? Did you love it? I seriously hope you answered yes to both questions (if not, I am honestly sorry). The Song of Achilles is like Percy Jackson on steroids, meant for an older audience, although I will forever be a reader of PJ, no matter how old I am.

But, aside from that, this book contains some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. I am in awe of how Miller is able to create such vivid, emotional, and gorgeous sentences and paragraphs and chapters, and that only should be incentive enough to read this book. Maybe it’s my writer’s brain that fixates on the writing style, but it was one of the first things that stood out to me as I started reading this, and is something that I think will stand out to other readers as well.

Fair warning: I would not call this a light read. The Greek names and long timeline might take more work to get through, but it is work well worth it. This book is a love story at its core, but be prepared to read about the highest highs and lowest lows of that love story, but, and I will repeat myself — it is well worth it!

I know this book is ten years old and I am somewhat late to The Song of Achilles appreciation party, but I would wait ten more years if this is the book I knew I would be reading. Luckily for me, Miller has more recently released a book called Circe so maybe I won’t have to wait so long!

The Song of Achilles gets an enthusiastic five stars. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too generous with five stars, but I can’t help it — books are just too good, and this one especially! I am highly recommending this book to others like me who haven’t read it, and, for those who have — how about a reread? I loved the writing, the retelling, the characters — everything! So go out, my fellow readers, and read!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read The Song of Achilles? Tell me what you thought about in the comments!

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