Tuesday, 26 January 2021

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Book Review!

Hi Readers! I sure as hell did not think I would be back so soon with another review, but what can I say? Madeline Miller has become one of my favourite authors! You all already know how much I enjoyed reading Circe & this weekend I finally read The Song of Achilles. And, OH MY GOD! No matter what I would have read about the book, nothing could possibly live up to the expectations of how truly amazing it is. Madeline Miller has made me love Mythological Fiction & I will always look forward to reading all the books she writes.


Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.


We have our protagonist – Patroclus. You cannot help but connect with him & picture  him as your friend. Starting from worrying about fitting in with others to dedicating himself to his love to fighting a war for his love, every single thing Patroclus has done in this book, is something we all have, in a more mortal or human sense. He is the underdog who is okay with being so, as long as he is with Achilles. He is someone who knows how to understand people in a deep sense. I loved his character throughout the novel. Usually, I would have found Patroclus & Achilles’ relationship to be a bit co-dependent, but I am not going there. I am not the one to fall for love stories, but oh this one got me right in the heart, which is why this post is entirely from my heart as well!

Oh, Achilles, what can I say about him? I don’t know why but I always pictured Achilles as Timothée Chalamet. From his boyhood, Achilles always comes off as the man who knows how strong & great he is. Undoubtedly, he has amazing skill in fighting. There’s always a charm & confidence in everything that he does, at least that’s how I was able to picture it. Given his stature, he always stood up for Patroclus, first as a friend & later on as a lover.

While reading this story, I felt utterly charmed by Achilles & felt like a friend of Patroclus’s. It’s like I was the person Patroclus talked about Achilles to & then we both had dreamy talks about him. The mixture of romance with war always leaves me heavy hearted. This time it also left me completely speechless.



I am glad that I read Circe before I read The Song of Achilles, because this one is way superior to it. Similar to Circe’s story writing, this novel also has a fast-paced rhythm to it, which only makes it all the more interesting. Madeline Miller’s writing is so lyrical & poetic during the romance aspects of the story; thundering & inspiring during the action aspects of the story; and it is miraculous throughout. Because of these wondrous combinations, the story comes alive in the reader’s mind making it so personal that all you can do is go with the flow & live it with all the characters. Very few times I must have felt the emotions that I felt when I read The Song of Achilles. And, all of the credit goes to the impeccable writing style.


I must say that I haven’t read a book with so many factions to it. Historical fiction itself has sub-sub genres to it, at times, but 4 factions in one book is downright an achievement. I love reading Historical Fiction, as you all know. But, I am not a fan of Mythological fiction or romance or action genres. But, when all these came together, the result was something out of this world.

As much as I enjoyed reading those early flirtatious moments between Achilles & Patroclus, I also enjoyed reading about how everyone fought against the Trojans. As much as I loved reading about the times on Mount Pelion, I enjoyed reading Achilles’ stay at Scyros. There was literally never a dull moment. It’s one adventure after the other and it is an eventful journey till the end.


The brilliance of this novel is such that the sentences that made you laugh earlier become the death of you later. Those of who have read the novel, know exactly what I am talking about. You read through the romance from their boyish crushes growing into young men training in war & medicine. You see them supporting each other through all of that character development. We see Patroclus becoming more mature and more in touch with himself. We also see Achilles becoming more skilled but also more in touch to the prophecy leading to his proud ego.

While reading the story, I always thought that Patroclus will somehow play an indirect part in Achilles’ death & I was incredibly sad when I read about it eventually. Even if I knew it was coming, it was such a gut-wrenching pain while actually reading through the ending. Nevertheless, the poignance in it made the story all the more devastatingly beautiful.

I have rated Madeline Miller’s ‘The Song of Achilles’ at 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads. If you haven’t read it yet, you must!

Until next time,

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