Hey everyone and happy Tuesday! I’m back again with a review of the Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller! I’ve actually been meaning to read this one for years, but I’ve only just gotten to it after buying a copy and forcing myself to read it. It was pretty good though, so you know, it was definitely worth it. I can see why there’s so much hype about it and even though it wasn’t my absolute favorite read, it was still an enjoyable one. I also now know about the infamous ending everyone talks about, and I promise you its no exaggeration. So, let’s get into a few of my thoughts!
The Song of Achilles is a emotional, beautiful, and heartbreaking Greek mythology retelling that will make you feel every single emotion. It is centered around the romance between Achilles, the prophesized savior of his people and Patroculus, an awkward exiled boy. We also get a little war plot with this book being based off of the Trojan War, but I’d go ahead and say that the characters and relationships are the strongest part of the book. We see the two develop from young children to adult men as well as their journeys in their years spent together.
I also enjoyed reading about Patroclus, and I liked how he was the one constant in his relationship with Achilles. No matter how much Achilles changed with his own principles or values, Patroclus maintains himself, even when this creates arguments between them. He stays empathetic and caring, willing to defy Achilles to defend these ideals. He also grows throughout the book, from an awkward, insecure child to someone strong and willing to stand up for what he believes in. The last few chapters narrated by him made me fall for his character even more, and his sweetness, love, and near desperation to be with Achilles was perfect.
Achilles is actually such a good character (probably my favorite!), and I really loved seeing his transformation throughout the book. He starts off so pure and kind-hearted, but you can see him develop into a more unforgiving, blood-thirsty person, eager to fight for his own increasing fame and legacy when he dies. It was so interesting seeing the contrast between him unwilling to kill anyone who has done nothing wrong to him willing to do whatever is necessary to better his own position by the latter half of the book. He so badly wants to secure his own fame and legendary status with this war, and is especially willing to do so after hearing his own prophecy. The one thing he cares about almost as much as his own legacy is Patroclus, and it’s interesting to see his struggle to achieve both at the same time.
I also surprisingly grew on Patroclus’s mother Thetis, especially after those last few pages. Even though she could be controlling and rude at times, you could tell that she just wanted what was best for Achilles. She pushed Patroclus away because she didn’t think he was worthy of Achilles, but you can see her growing on him and them finally making peace with each other. It was so good. Briseis was also okay, but I didn’t care too much for her. I cared for the fact that she was a plot device, but not really much more to be honest. As for the other characters, I don’t really remember them all too well, so there probably wasn’t anything too offensive about them.
Of course, I have to spend another section talking about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus (yes, I know I already discussed parts of it in the characters section, but I will do it again). These two were so perfect. Absolute faves. Their everlasting love for each other throughout the story was everything I could have wanted. You see them from the very first moments, where Achilles is one of the first few people to show Patroclus kindness. You see their friendship slowly developing into a romance. And then you see their romance withstanding throughout the war, despite Achilles changing and the different disagreements they have. They compromised, supported each other, and they were so so cute. You can really see their love for each other in the last few chapters of the book in its raw form and I love it. This book is an emotional roller coaster for a reason, and relationship was definitely one of the main reasons why.
The Plot & Pacing
Here’s why I don’t have this book rated as a five star. I thought that the plot sort of dragged on at times. Despite loving the relationship and romance in this book, I was kind of bored, especially towards the middle of the book. Like the beginning and end (especially the end omg it was actually a 2930283942 star ending) were SO GOOD, but there were so parts in the middle of the book that just couldn’t stand up to it. I guess you could say the pacing was too slow.
I haven’t actually read The Illiad as the source material, so I don’t know how true it stayed to the original text, but I liked how she took the same names from the source text. I feel like it makes it easier to see the connections between her retelling and The Illiad, which I will probably look into the second I finish writing this review. ALSO, even if you know what happens in this book, it’s still good anyways. I got somewhat spoiled for what happened, but I still enjoyed the journey and the writing and I was actually surprised over something I wasn’t spoiled for. You’ll still feel emotional and you’ll still be attached to the characters despite it.
ANYWAYS, this was a very good book and I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of retellings & Greek mythology (still read it though even if you’re not). It is a timeless, memorable read and you will not regret it. I literally reread the last few sentences like 2384932 times and felt like crying over it & throwing the copy I have across the room over it. It fueled my soul so much and it just boosted this book and my final impressions so much. I am now just more excited to get to Circe, which has been sitting on my TBR for actual years, and hopefully it’ll live up to my feelings on this one!
That’s it for today, so I hope you enjoyed my review! I haven’t really been in the mood for reading lately, but I’ve been trying to get on a schedule to sorta *force* myself to read in a way to try to gain some momentum. My classes are ending in the next few days as well, so I’m hoping to take the extra time to read as well. So I’m going to try to post reviews every two weeks, and possibly get out another anticipated releases post for July-September in the next week or so! Time is absolutely flying by and I still can’t believe we’re over halfway through the year.
Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday and happy reading!