The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Published February 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Whats it all about?:

Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.

Achilles, ‘best of all the Greeks’, is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus 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.

What did I think?:

This book was chosen by my online book club as January’s read but I had been meaning to read it for a while after hearing all the hype, and of course, its Orange prize win. All I can say is…. wow. This is a wonderful re-telling of the story of Achilles through the eyes of his companion (ahem..lover) Patroclus. I don’t think you have to have studied Greek mythology to read the novel but for me it was a definite bonus.

The love story between Achilles and Patroclus was told beautifully and I found it very touching. Although we should know how it is going to end, I found myself tormented and foolishly hoped for a turn around! The prose of the author is so descriptive and poetic, I even found myself reading a bit slower just to prolong my enjoyment. I am eagerly anticipating another Madeline Miller novel – maybe she could tackle Theseus and the Minotaur?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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2 comments on “The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

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