Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Fantasy (mythology)
Length: ~11 hours
Publisher: Harper Audio
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for Fans of: Greek mythology, Circe
The legend begins…
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.
I read The Song of Achilles after reading Madeline Miller’s other mythology retelling, Circe. I liked Circe a little bit more, but this was still amazing.
The writing is beautiful, insightful, and mesmerizing. The story moves slowly, making room for Petroclus’s experiences, emotions, and developing relationship with Achilles.
Even though the book spans the saga of the Trojan War, this is not an action/war story. This is a story about desire versus destiny, identity versus duty. Relationships are central to the story, and not just the relationship between Petroclus and Achilles, but the interactions between all characters.
Madeline Miller has a way of breathing new life into old myths. She tells a story that feels true to the original mythology while grounding and humanizing heroes and gods of legends.