The follies of boys and men begin this story and drive the narrative to the end. The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a tale of faults, loss, love, and meddling Greek gods. It centers on the life of Patroclus and his famous lover Achilles. With that being said, it goes without saying that the book in question will not end with our typical version of a happily ever after. Given the steady praise that this tale has received since being published in 2011, I figured that this book deserved a glance though. As seen from my perspective, it seemed that I was in the minority of those who read Young Adult who had not perused a copy. Still, I feel the need to voice my own opinions on this one, as it is a book that I enjoyed enough to consume voraciously until the end.
The story in question begins with young Patroclus in a kingdom that would one day become his by birthright, or at least that is what was planned out for him until a miscalculated judgment of his own ousts him from his position as the prince, forcing him to be taken in by another land – the Kingdom of Phthia. It is there that his life begins in earnest.
For those familiar with Greek mythology, this book does hold closely to previously published works regarding the mythos. I am not an expert on that subject. However, I did recognize certain storylines as I read along. Coupled with the love story woven through the pages of this fictional take on a particular section of Greek lore, it is likely that romance readers and lovers of that genre alike might enjoy this tome.
In the hands of any other writer, this novel would not have been done justice. The author proved that with each sentence further that I read. The prose and Miller’s seemingly endless knowledge of this world are what pulled me into the story alone, but the emotions evoked within me courtesy of the writing, as well as the characters themselves, are what held my attention throughout.
I will say though, despite my love for this book, it does not come without its warnings. As this deals with Greek mythology, which undiluted includes stories that showcase the worst traits of the human race, I feel I must point out that this book is graphic. Within the pages, there are idealizations of suicide and death, descriptive violence, along with mentions of and full out rape. For younger readers of Young Adult, or those who may be unable to handle reading about these specific topics, please tread with caution.
With that being said, I must conclude that overall this book is worth the recognition that it has received. A bold retelling of what have been deemed classics in regards to Greek mythology, Madeline Miller does a fantastic job of weaving a story together that has fleshed out characters, faults, and heart.
I gave this story 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
Disclaimer: All opinions stated in this review are my own. I did not receive compensation of any sort for this review.