Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved Greek mythology. I went through a period in time where I couldn’t get enough reading about mythology and devoured every book about it I could get my hands on. I found The Song of Achilles to be a fantastic read and it gets 4.5 stars from me. If you love mythology you should really give this book a read. It is the book on Achilles I wanted and I didn’t even know it until I read.
First of all something I appreciated about this book and want to mention first thing was that the author kept in Achilles’s love for Patroclus instead of writing out their love affair. I believe the movie about Troy with Brad Pitt left it out, but The Song of Achilles didn’t dance around the LGBTQ aspects of his story. In fact the love story between Achilles and Patroclus was one of my favorite bits of this. The ending wouldn’t have been the same without it and their love made the ending powerful.
This book is through the perspective of Patroclus, which at first I was unsure if I liked, but I loved this by the end. I liked the perspective of looking in at Achilles without being right in his head and knowing everything about him, which gave his character some mystery and unpredictability. It also gave us an honest account of him. Before this book I never knew much about Patroclus other than his story during the battle with Troy, so it was fun to explore his life starting in his childhood to see how he met Achilles and how they became lovers.
The author did her research for this book and it shows. While she included many myths in this, the Achilles tendon is not one of them. She went more for the original telling of this story and it worked well. Achilles’s mother was a bit chilling, and there are other myths that made this a gripping read that will delight mythology lovers. You also get to meet other legendary characters like Odysseus and Agamemnon.
I admit there were a few times where the book slowed down and I found myself reading quicker to get back into the action, but never once did I want to put it down. This book put Madeline Miller on my radar and I plan to read more books by her including her book Circe. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping she keeps writing stories about Greek mythology.