Reviews

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

kassielovestoread's review against another edition

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dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5


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charliespringbff's review

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3.0

okay so when i originally read this (2 years ago?) i loved it, it became one of my favourite books and i quickly got obsessed with greek mythology. upon rereading it for the fourth (?) time with a more critical eye i started to enjoy it less and less (for reasons which i will explain) but i decided to give it four stars because the mythology is accurate and overall the story is so heartbreaking and moving.
so the reason i started to like it less and less is mainly the fact that many people hype it up to be some tragic amazing love story. i dont think patroclus and achilles were that in love or at least as in love as i originally thought. this all stems from the fact that before they left the mountain to consider joining the war they were in love, they were always with each other and they supported each other. but as the book progresses they both go their separate ways: achilles becomes the prophesied elite warrior and patroclus is left in his dust trail. this book is not truly the love story everyone praises it to be. achilles only cares for himself and is so annoyingly egotistical, i wish he didn’t have a dramatic death because he didn’t deserve it. achilles doesn’t love patroclus he loves the idea of being in love with patroclus. patroclus constantly sacrifices his happiness for achilles and achilles never once returns this favour or even heard what patroclus has to say. an example of this is where achilles returns from battle and is covered in blood and patroclus tells achilles that it makes him so upset that achilles has no value for human life (enemy or not) and achilles gives a ‘so what’ type response. the only reason achilles was so heartbroken by patroclus’ death was because patroclus was the only remnant from when he was happy and his childhood. in the end patroclus would have been happier with briseis and in that respect it is a tragic love story because when you break it down by their deaths patroclus and achilles did not truly love each other. so yes people are right in saying it is a tragic love story i just think they haven’t grasped what is truly tragic about it. at this point i don’t even know why i’m giving it 4 stars because it was really boring in the middle anyway. edit: i’m giving it 3 stars

lyndsireads's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional sad fast-paced

5.0

blackswan's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

absolutely loved it. never wanna read it again.  i think my copy is permanently stained with my tears.

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ceallaighsbooks's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

“‘I will go,’ he said. ‘I will go to Troy.’ The rosy gleam of his lip, the fevered green of his eyes. There was not a line anywhere on his face, nothing creased or greying; all crisp. He was spring, golden and bright. Envious Death would drink his blood, and grow young again.” 
 
TITLE—The Song of Achilles 
AUTHOR—Madeline Miller 
PUBLISHED—2011 
 
GENRE—mythology retelling; literary historical fiction 
SETTING—ancient Greece and Troy 
MAIN THEMES/SUBJECTS—love, Greek mythology, war, destiny, legacy, MM romance, death, grief 
 
WRITING STYLE—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
CHARACTERS—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️—SO many great characters but Chiron and Odysseus have to be my favorite 🥰 
PLOT—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️—This was the story we have always wanted. 
BONUS ELEMENT/S—The writing style in this was just 😚👌🏻 so beautiful and so perfectly suited to the story being told. 
PHILOSOPHY—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
 
“It is right to seek peace for the dead. You and I both know there is no peace for those who live after.” 
 
Ok well *that* certainly lived up to the hype. I loved Circe and The Song of Achilles was *just* as good. Damn. 
 
Ok the thing about this story, and why it *resonates* so. frking. much. with my little queer heart, is that *this* is the story that I have always sought out in the annals of human history. This is the revealed truth of queer love and life hidden/buried/destroyed/denied through TIME in all of its raw tragedy and staggering beauty and my soul drank this in like it was water and I had been dying of thirst my whole entire LIFE. 
 
Miller wrote the story we have always wanted—the story that our hearts and our dreams have always told us lies hidden in the lines of Homer’s epic saga. We got to see it finally and I felt like I was holding hands with Achilles and Patroclus through their whole journey together, laughing alongside them, my heart breaking alongside and for them, and I felt my mind, heart, and soul claiming Miller’s interpretation as more real than anything I’ve ever read or learned in any of my history classes. 
 
As a retelling this story is particularly well served by the incorporation of the themes of destiny and prophecy, so even though the reader most likely knows the ending, Miller uses that to her advantage in the way she treats her themes and develops her characters, rather than as a problem she needs to work around cleverly. 
 
Whether you consider this story a work of reclamation, revisionism, or mythological retelling, Miller accomplishes each with remarkable flair and an uncommonly penetrating insight into the (queer!) human heart. She has written the perfect love story. 🥰 
 
“We were like gods, at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.” 
 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TW // bullying, transphobia, death, grief, sexual content, sexual coercion, animal and human sacrifice, ableism, war, rape, sexual slavery 
 
Further Reading— 
  • Circe, by Madeline Miller
  • Galatea, by Madeline Miller—her other novel published bw SOA and C that I have heard absolutely nothing about?—TBR


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luceprobinson's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I'm a rookie to this reviewing thing and it's my first, so don't judge me ahah (slight spoilers ahead and soz for long review lmao). But where do i start this book is EMOTIONAL. Ngl i was a bit cautious, as well as keen, to read this book due to the MASSIVE hype it acquires, and also due to fact that the main message I was receiving in regards to this was, was that it was guaranteed to make me cry. Usually, when this happens , i dont end up crying, as i either build myself up to deal with the pain (lmao) or it's expectations are set so high that I end up being let down. But boi was this a tear jerker, the way Madeline Miller conveyed this
Spoiler the heart-wrenching ending
was stunning, it was super emotive, delicate and captivating.

I did find it tricky to get into in the 1st half, as honestly i found it quite slow, but once i endured and got over that hurdle, i couldn't put the book down. The second-half was so captivating and engaging to an extent where it redeemed itself for me, hence why i rate this a 4. I did find the names fairly difficult to pronounce whilst reading, which really frustrated me. Therefore i ended up googling pronunciations a few times, which makes me wish that there was a pronunciation guide or something at the back of the book, for those like me who are complete noobs to greek mythology.

I stan Patroclus so hard, I loved his gentleness, compassion and values, and I honestly thought his character development throughout the novel was FAB.  He was such a lovely character to read. Achilles, on the other hand, annoyed me a fair amount.
Spoiler His ego was HUGE and he came across as so vain ugh. I understand this is most probably Madeline's intent, but I feel it negatively effected my outlook on their relationship. The result of Patroclus (my pure lil bean) ending up treading on eggshells and doing everything possible just to protect his 'honour' was something i found hard to take.


Overall, the unconditional and loyal nature of Patroclus and Achilles' relationship was something that made me root for them so hard and tingly with a sense of happiness. I thought in general the plot to be unique, despite it being a greek retelling, and loved Madeline's careful and elaborate construction of imagery, making it a very enjoyable read indeed (well, definitely more so in the second half!).

a_ndr_in_a's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

colt's review against another edition

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emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

ashleighbeanxo's review against another edition

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4.0

Reread: June 2019 - 4 stars

When I originally read this book, I loved it and it became one of my favourite books I've ever read. While I still really loved it the second time around, I wasn't as immersed in the story as the first time around. The romance between Patroclus and Achilles is everything and the ending breaks my heart every time, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling the overall story as much this time. I feel like a lot of the conflict could have been avoided if Achilles wasn't so eager to achieve hero status. Patroclus and he could have had a long wonderful life together if Achilles hadn't wanted to prove himself as one of the best warriors ever. But how many stories from Greek mythology have a happy ending? Nevertheless, a beautiful story featuring a wonderful romance between two adorable boys. What is not to love?

-------------------------------------------------

First read: May 2018 - 5 stars

Before we start, let me just say, my heart is broken.





The Song of Achilles follows Patroclus, an awkward young prince who is exiled to the Kingdom of Pthia after murdering another boy in self-defence. He soon becomes friends with the King Pelus' son, the strong, beautiful Achilles. We follow the two boys from adolescence into adulthood, as they learn skills in the arts of war and medicine, and discover they may be more than friends...

But news of Helen of Troy's kidnapping reaches Pthia, Achilles must join the cause to bring her back to her husband, with Patroclus behind him every step of the way. According to the prophecy, Achilles is destined for big things, but the Fates will test the two men, and they will have to choose between honour and love..

As I've said, this book broke me. If you haven't guessed from my mini description, at the heart of this story is a love story, between two best friends who trust each other explicitly and are just the sweetest. I desperately wanted a happy ending for them, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of happy endings for mortals in Greek mythology. And this was another example. Oh my heart. When Patroclus died, I almost lost it. I vaguely knew of Achilles' story, and I remembered halfway the book that there was someone that was killed by Hector during the war, who was wearing Achilles' armour, and it caused Achilles to slaughter Hector, but couldn't remember the name of that person. And of course, it hit me that the only person that was close enough to Achilles during this story was Patroclus so it had to be him. Oh, it still hurts. The only redeeming part is that the ending seemed to hint that they were to be reunited in the afterlife, and will spend the rest of eternity together. In my head, that's canon. In my head, they're together forever.

This was my first Madeline Miller book, and it certainly will not be my last. Absolutely fantastic read!!!

jazzieking's review against another edition

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4.75

Patroclus is really the star of the show