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The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

eBook - 2012
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"At once a scholar's homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist....A book I could not put down."
—Ann Patchett

"Mary Renault lives again!" declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller's thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer's enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller's monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction's brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

Publisher: Ecco


From the critics

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May 03, 2021

Easy to read novel and interesting perspective on the Trojan War. I was glad I had read Stephen Fry's "Troy" prior to this which almost serves as a companion piece.

Apr 21, 2021

The Song of Achilles was a fascinating read and a very imaginative spin on the original story it’s based on. I found the writing specifically to be enticing- Miller’s words flow like poetry, they’re incredibly descriptive and emotional. The storyline was captivating, the characters were likeable and the plot was good, but it wasn’t great. I was told this book would be heartbreaking, and while it was sad, I found the ending to be rather predictable and the novel overall to be overhyped. It was good, but I found myself wanting more. I wish the relationships had been further focused on and that there had been more explanation for the very end of the book as it felt disconnected from the rest of the story. That being said, I did enjoy this book- it really is a beautiful story, just not as much as I thought I would. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in greek mythology and some time to pass. Rate 4/5 stars.
@LadyCatherinePinkerton of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a beautiful story following Greek Hero Achilles and his lover and companion Patroclus. TSOA follows the two as they grow up together in friendship and learn to fight and heal, all the way to the end of the Battle of Troy, and their afterlife and story of love. Without any specific spoilers, The Song of Achilles is one of the most beautiful, well-written novels about the Greek story of Patroclus and Achilles. The book is poetic, descriptive, and full of meaning and care. It is tear-jerking and heartbreaking, but also happy, comedic, and satisfying throughout the whole story. I would recommend Miller’s novel to anyone interested in classics and Greek Mythology who may not be ready for the true Iliad or Odyssey. The Song of Achilles recounts the Trojan War in a more modern way, and instead of it being a story of just war, it is also of true love, friendship, loss, grief, and the afterlife. The novel itself is truly a work of art, and 100% worth the read (and the tears!). Besides anyone interested in classics and Greek Mythology, The Song of Achilles is a captivating and stunningly-written story that everyone should read. I give the novel 5/5 stars, and would give more if I could!
@readingmouse of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Apr 16, 2021

A superb novel.

ReadingAdviser_Dylan Apr 16, 2021

This is my favourite book of all time. It's got some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read, a once in a lifetime romance and retells a classic story with such a precise and tender hand.

I literally got a tattoo inspired by this book I love it so much.

Apr 12, 2021

Lovers of Greek Mythology, rejoice! A unique perspective of a legendary God. A bit slow at first, but we'll worth the time and effort. Miller sucks you in completely and weaves a delicious tale of the legend you thought you knew.

Apr 08, 2021

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a twist on the classic tale of the Iliad from the perspective of a seemingly unimportant character. Patroclus is a young prince who is exiled from his kingdom and sent to live with Achilles, a half-god with a heroic destiny. The two boys fall in love and look forward to a happy life together, but verything changes when Achilles is forced to go to war and Patroclus vows to go with him. A story of hope, sacrifice, and prophecy, The Song of Achilles keeps readers with their feet on the ground but their head in the clouds.
I would rate this book a five out of five stars and would recommend it for readers age 14 and above.

This book was an incredibly fast read, it was hard to put it down. The writing style was unlike anything I'd really read before. It was almost distant, yet detailed it's hard to describe. The years flew by and before you knew it, you'd spent over 15 years with the main characters. Without even realizing it you grew to care about them, and the character arc of Patrocolus was my favorite part of the whole thing.

Mar 20, 2021

Heard her speak at an author event. Also wrote Circe.

Feb 21, 2021

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is beautifully written and it is very clever in its plotting. I was not familiar with the story of the Iliad, and I was completely swept up in the tale of Achilles and Patroclus. I sobbed over it. An incredible work.

A word of caution- there is a character index in the back that appears helpful in lightly explaining who various characters are in Greek myths, especially minor ones. However, there are major spoilers for this story if you don’t know the full tale of the Iliad. Tread carefully!

Feb 16, 2021

In Madeleine Miller’s debut novel, the author takes a twist on the Trojan War by writing through the lens of Patroclus, and focusing on his and Achilles’s relationships throughout their initial meeting to come head-first into war. Patroclus, an exiled young prince, comes to stay at Thessaly as asylum, and meets Achilles. The two form a close friendship, much to the chagrin of Thetis, Achilles’s mother, who tried many times to keep them apart. When news arrives that Helen of Sparta was kidnapped, the two journey to Troy, unsure of what will come next. This book is closely tied to the plot of the Iliad and includes many historical similarities throughout its course. Those who are interested in Greek mythology or its retellings should definitely give this book a try.

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Add a Quote

I stopped watching for ridicule, the scorpion's tail hidden in his words. He said what he meant; he was puzzled if you did not. Some people might have mistaken this for simplicity. But is it not a sort of genius to cut always to the heart?

Jul 21, 2018

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Dec 08, 2017

"Our man liked conquest, they did not trust a man who was conquered himself" (pg 176)

Aug 27, 2016

"Go, he waits for you."

Aug 27, 2016

"This and this and this."

Jun 07, 2015

We were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.

Aug 23, 2012

"She used to be known as the most beautiful woman in our kingdoms. Now they say she's the most beautiful woman in the world.....A thousand ships have sailed for her"


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