Song of Achilles (Review by Hita T. ’23)

The Song of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exiled from his father’s kingdom at a young age, Patroclus, the socially awkward son of Menoitius, finds himself in Phthia, where he meets Achilles, the son of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. Achilles is everything Patroclus is not; he is strong, handsome, the son of a goddess, and the pride of his father. However, in an unlikely twist of fate, their paths intertwine as Achilles befriends Patroclus and forges a bond between them. As they grow into young adults trained in warfare, medicine, and the arts, their friendship grows into something more, deeply displeasing Achilles’ mother Thetis, who despises mortals. To her, Patroclus is nothing but a stain on Achilles’ glory and fame.

Later, when Helen of Sparta, the wife of Meneleus and the most beautiful woman in the world, is kidnapped by Paris, the Greeks are summoned to protect her honor and attack Troy. Achilles follows the Greeks, driven by the idea of glory and being known as the Aristos Achaion, and Patroclus is forced to choose whether to stay behind or follow his best friend into the war. Patroclus tries to protect his friend from the prophecy that predicts Achilles’ death, but little does he know that fate has its own cruel way of claiming who it wants in the end…

Madeline Miller retells Homer’s Iliad in a way that paints the bond between Patroclus and Achilles in a different and more sensitive light. From the moment Achilles’ and Patroclus’ paths intertwine in Phthia, Miller has the reader hanging on each word as she draws one through the ups and downs of the two young mens’ strong friendship and romance.

On a more personal note, I have to say that I absolutely loved this book. I’m not a very emotional reader, but The Song Of Achilles hit me right in the feels. The pace was perfect, the characters were perfect, the plot was perfect — everything was just right. I strongly recommend this book to anyone; the reader does not have to know any mythology to read The Song Of Achilles. -Hita T.

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