The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

Book - 2012
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Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062060617
Branch Call Number: MILLER M
Characteristics: 378 p., 30 p. ; 24 cm


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From Library Staff

Book discussion date: August 25, 2020. Historical Fiction/Mythology. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles, where their friendship turns to something more. Their relationship is then tested when they head for the Trojan War.

Historical Fiction. Discussion June 17, 2020.

BostonPL_JordanD Aug 25, 2020

Extremely well written and very readable. Unfortunately, this story is not one of my favorites. (I fell asleep during the movie Troy when it was in theaters a million years ago.) It's just too long, not a lot happens, and I can't get behind the reasons for this war. Some scenes did grab my attent... Read More »

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Apr 16, 2021

A superb novel.

ReadingAdviser_Dylan Apr 16, 2021

This is my favourite book of all time. It's got some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read, a once in a lifetime romance and retells a classic story with such a precise and tender hand.

I literally got a tattoo inspired by this book I love it so much.

Apr 12, 2021

Lovers of Greek Mythology, rejoice! A unique perspective of a legendary God. A bit slow at first, but we'll worth the time and effort. Miller sucks you in completely and weaves a delicious tale of the legend you thought you knew.

Apr 08, 2021

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a twist on the classic tale of the Iliad from the perspective of a seemingly unimportant character. Patroclus is a young prince who is exiled from his kingdom and sent to live with Achilles, a half-god with a heroic destiny. The two boys fall in love and look forward to a happy life together, but verything changes when Achilles is forced to go to war and Patroclus vows to go with him. A story of hope, sacrifice, and prophecy, The Song of Achilles keeps readers with their feet on the ground but their head in the clouds.
I would rate this book a five out of five stars and would recommend it for readers age 14 and above.

This book was an incredibly fast read, it was hard to put it down. The writing style was unlike anything I'd really read before. It was almost distant, yet detailed it's hard to describe. The years flew by and before you knew it, you'd spent over 15 years with the main characters. Without even realizing it you grew to care about them, and the character arc of Patrocolus was my favorite part of the whole thing.

Mar 20, 2021

Heard her speak at an author event. Also wrote Circe.

Feb 21, 2021

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is beautifully written and it is very clever in its plotting. I was not familiar with the story of the Iliad, and I was completely swept up in the tale of Achilles and Patroclus. I sobbed over it. An incredible work.

A word of caution- there is a character index in the back that appears helpful in lightly explaining who various characters are in Greek myths, especially minor ones. However, there are major spoilers for this story if you don’t know the full tale of the Iliad. Tread carefully!

Feb 16, 2021

In Madeleine Miller’s debut novel, the author takes a twist on the Trojan War by writing through the lens of Patroclus, and focusing on his and Achilles’s relationships throughout their initial meeting to come head-first into war. Patroclus, an exiled young prince, comes to stay at Thessaly as asylum, and meets Achilles. The two form a close friendship, much to the chagrin of Thetis, Achilles’s mother, who tried many times to keep them apart. When news arrives that Helen of Sparta was kidnapped, the two journey to Troy, unsure of what will come next. This book is closely tied to the plot of the Iliad and includes many historical similarities throughout its course. Those who are interested in Greek mythology or its retellings should definitely give this book a try.

Jan 21, 2021

“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller is a tragic love story full of emotion and depth. Taken in by the father of Achilles, Peleus, young Patroclus begins as a foster boy in Peleus’ kingdom. Achilles soon takes a liking to Patroclus and from then on the two are inseparable, even though Achilles’ mother, Thetis the sea nymph, does not accept it. As they grow up, they become closer and are eventually trained by a centaur named Chiron to help prepare them for war and life. But things take a dark turn, and word is out that Helen from Sparta has been captured. All the great Greek warriors, including Achilles, trek to the city of Troy in order to rescue Helen from the clutches of Troy. Patroclus ends up blindly following Achilles in his quest for victory, driven by love and fear. Unfortunately, the war doesn’t work out the way they hoped, and sacrifices must be made.

I love Greek mythology so what I liked about this book was how it was able to teach me about a great event in mythology while also tying in a beautiful romance as well. It is very well written, I felt like I was back in Ancient Greece growing up alongside the characters. But, this is definitely not a light read as the book is packed full of history and feelings. By the end, I had cried about 5 to 6 times, the most I have ever cried over a book. What I disliked about this book was that I never knew what Achilles was thinking, as the story is told from the perspective of Patroclus. Although, it isn’t necessarily a dislike, but more me struggling to understand the mind of Achilles. Overall, this book has now become one of my all-time favorite books. It has just the right mix of romance and action to create a book that is compelling and never dull. So if you like heart-wrenching love stories and some Greek mythology, then this book is perfect for you.

Dec 07, 2020

Song Of Achilles details the journey of a famous Greek hero, Achilles, along with his lover and childhood friend Patroclus. The Trojan War is approaching rapidly; the Greeks desire to recruit Achilles into the army for his extraordinary fighting skills. Achilles is torn between the temptation of eternal glory, a dire prophecy, and protecting his lover. I went into this book with high expectations due to the intriguing plot description. I adore Greek mythology; moreover, I had prior knowledge about the Trojan War. The author did a phenomenal job of easing the reader into the mythological background with a vibrant setting and complex characters. The characters stick to their traditional origins within the Greek myths, but there is slight modernization. Achilles's and Patroculus's romance was the catalyst for most of the plot and pacing. There is much speculation around the Iliad that left historians speculating the nature of Achilles and Patroclus relationship, whether platonic or romantic. My experience in Greek retelling novels is expansive; however, I have not encountered one that made the move of creating a romantic subplot between Achilles and Patroclus. The execution was perfect. The author put in the research about ancient Greek customs, which made me appreciative of the mix of nonfiction and fiction to educate about historical traditions.
I can say with certainty that this novel is my favorite for the year 2020. It contains everything I could want: Greek mythology, a romantic subplot, controversial characters, and gentle honesty behind painful topics. I would compare the writing style to poetry; many of the lines in this novel are so descriptive and beautiful quotes that stick with me beyond the story. It reminded me of the beloved Percy Jackson series for the parallels between the Greek myth modernization and character development; however, Song Of Achilles is an adult version bringing more intense stakes to make you wonder what will happen next. Even as a person who has read the Iliad before, the ending shocked me with how brilliantly the author put it into her creative perspective; I never thought of imagining the events playing out like that. The book is a pure masterpiece, certainly a crowd-pleaser that will make you hesitate between rushing to finish it or savoring it.
Age Recommendation: 16+ , depends on maturity level
TW: Mentions of rape, female slavery, graphic violence, mild sexual descriptions

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I stopped watching for ridicule, the scorpion's tail hidden in his words. He said what he meant; he was puzzled if you did not. Some people might have mistaken this for simplicity. But is it not a sort of genius to cut always to the heart?

Jul 21, 2018

“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.”

Dec 08, 2017

"Our man liked conquest, they did not trust a man who was conquered himself" (pg 176)

Aug 27, 2016

"Go, he waits for you."

Aug 27, 2016

"This and this and this."

Jun 07, 2015

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

Aug 23, 2012

"She used to be known as the most beautiful woman in our kingdoms. Now they say she's the most beautiful woman in the world.....A thousand ships have sailed for her"


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