The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller – Review
Achilles is a legendary hero. Patroculus is a prince who is a disgrace to his family. After one accident leave Patroculus an outcast he is forced to find his way in a new world. Achilles is looking to make his name known and for someone to understand him. Together they begin an epic love story that can only end in tragedy.
“He said what he meant; he was puzzled if you did not. Some people might mistaken this for simplicity. But is it not a sort of genius to cut always to the heart?”Pg. 44
I read Circe by Madeline Miller a few years ago and adored it. I loved the way she brought a little known myth to life. I loved the way I was captured by this story. I knew that I had to eventually read Song of Achilles as well.
I think the first thing that impressed me is that I was so enthralled by the story even though I knew how it ended. While I am not as versed in the Troy story and Achilles as I am in other mythology stories, I did know the way this story went. I am not someone who enjoys knowing the ending of a book while I am reading. I like the surprise and the suspense. I like not knowing if someone is going to make it or not.
The reason I liked this book so much was the way Miller was able to give so much life to both Achilles and Patroculus. Both of them were deep and well rounded characters. I felt connected to both of them right away. Patroculus was lost and looking for purpose. Achilles was looking to matter and for someone to care enough about him to help him. I loved the way they played off one another.
I also liked that they were distinctly different characters. I was afraid at first that Patrolculus was going to be forced to be a solider even though that was not his skill set. I was afraid I was going to read about a reluctant solider and constant battles where he was trying to hide and survive. Instead we see them find their distinct paths and find a way to be themselves while also being with each other.
The love story was done really well. I thought the way they connected and fell in love with each other was great. I liked that it wasn’t instant. It was an understanding and a friendship that became more. I also liked that there was no long discussion trying to determine what they were to one another, if they should be together or not. They realized they loved each other and life went on. I loved that.
I also found it interesting that Miller didn’t use the normal aspects of Achille’s story. There was no River Styx and invincibility. He was strong and a half-god but the rest made him more human. I liked playing with the myth. My favorite mythology stories play with the myths and make them new and fresh and I though that was done really well in this book.
“This is what all mortals ask first, in disbelief, shock, fear. Is there no exception for me?”pg. 166
I think the middle got a little dragged down. Once they get to Troy there were 10 years to play with and not much happens. You know they have to build up to the end but there is a lot of back and forth that gets a little tiresome.
I also was a little thrown off by Achilles attitude to a certain incident in the second half of the book. He was always a bit pompous but I felt like he acted too bratty during that portion. I felt like he fell into this type of person he was supposed to be instead do the person he truly was. I did like that Patroculus pointed it out and showed the reader that Achilles was acting out of character
“Whichever you choose, you are wrong.”pg. 299
There was nothing that truly threw me out of the book and put me in a spot where I hated what was happening. I didn’t get lost in the story at all, didn’t think anyone was way out of character. I read through the story quite quickly and highly enjoyed it.
I gave this book five stars because in the end I loved the story, the characters and the love story. It just all worked so well and gave me new appreciation for a story I know.
“What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.”pg. 363