The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

A quick rundown… This is the story of Achilles as a youth and in the Trojan War, told from the eyes of Patroclus.

Strengths: Easy to read, I learnt something about the Greek mythology.

Weaknesses: Some parts were a little drawn out and lost momentum.

Why I read it: Given to me for review by Bloomsbury – thank you!

Pages: 368

Published: 2011

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Setting: Greece

Rating: 8 out of 10

If you liked this, try: I can’t say that I’ve read anything like this before!

The photo of the cover of this book doesn’t really do it justice – it is golden and gleaming, so much so that I received comments about the beauty of this book when I was reading it in public. One girl even asked to check the name and title – she wanted to buy it there and then! There appears to be a lot of hype about this book, and I would say that it is justified.

I’ll say now that Ancient Greece is a little too old even for my historical tastes, but I was pleasantly surprised how the author, Madeline Miller made it easy to understand Greek mythology without dumbing it down. For the first time, I now understand more about the characters, whether they be human or gods. It’s easy to understand the roles of each character according to where they are in the social structure and why they behave the way they do. I didn’t know very much about Achilles and Patroclus before reading this, but it was so clearly defined, I’m sure I could explain it to anyone now! Miller writes very well, painting a clear scene in few words. She’s also very good at getting the reader to read just one more chapter, one more page – the book is alternately sad, tender and gruesome but always genuine. She treats her characters with the utmost respect. She obviously has an excellent knowledge of this subject and the ability to teach us non- Greek scholars!

One thing to be aware of is that this book does contain homosexuality between men, but not in explicit details. (Unsure if the relationship portrayed is historically accurate, but Miller paints a loving, consenting relationship). There are also the fantastic elements of ancient Greece here – centaurs and gods, but these blend in seamlessly.

I received this book courtesy of the publisher – thank you Bloomsbury!

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4 responses to “The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  1. My best friend will read pretty much anything relating to Greek mythology and Greek history. I definitely need to recommend this one to her :)

  2. Pingback: Orange Reading: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller | Iris on Books·

  3. Pingback: Prize longlists, shortlists and winners: do you take notice? | Sam Still Reading·

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