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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles (2011)

by Madeline Miller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,6732083,189 (4.11)3 / 741
  1. 120
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 70
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  3. 50
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  4. 50
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  5. 30
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  6. 30
    The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (emanate28)
    emanate28: Maybe they are too similar... But both The Persian Boy and The Song of Achilles are heartbreaking and beautiful stories of legendary heroes told from the perspective of their devoted boy lovers. The ancient heroes come alive and one is transported back into those times.… (more)
  7. 10
    An Arrow's Flight: A Novel by Mark Merlis (marq)
    marq: Mark Merlis also takes up the story of Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), Achilles’ son with Deidamia when he was in disguise as a woman on Scyros. A very different kind of novel, steampunk, wild anachronism, graphically homoerotic, brilliant.
  8. 32
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  9. 00
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  10. 00
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  11. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  12. 327
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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Showing 1-5 of 200 (next | show all)
This modern retelling of The Iliad is exactly what a non-Greek classics reader (like me) can appreciate. While I have never read – or cannot recall reading – The Iliad, I have retained enough knowledge of the gods and the story from a junior level mythology course I took back in Uni many, many moons ago, a course I barely scraped through as the subject matter failed to appeal to me. Thankfully, Miller has a gift for presenting Greek mythology in a way that I found captivating to read. Telling the story from Petraclus’ POV, and focusing more on his relationship with Achilles (and keeping the petty antics of the gods more in the background) helped to focus my attention. Yes, the story still has its share of war (hard to write out the 10 year siege of Troy!), death, violent bloodshed, lust and betrayal – can’t really tell a Greek mythology story without those elements being present – it is the focus as a love story that tempers all the “stuff” that I find so annoying about the myths.

While the story has not enticed me to want to read more Greek (or Roman) mythology, I look forward to reading more stories penned by Miller. ( )
  lkernagh | Sep 18, 2018 |
This was more romance novel than a retelling of the story of Achilles and the Trojan War. There was just so much of Patroclus mooning over Achilles that I could take. The writing was fine, but I was bored by a lot of it and really preferred the author's "Circe". ( )
  fhudnell | Aug 31, 2018 |
The Trojan War gets a fresh retelling through the voice of one of Homer's secondary characters, Patroclus. The book explores and expands on his relationship with Achilles from their meeting as young teenagers through the end of the war.

The story is a bit predictable due to being an adaptation of course, but the author's additions and twists aren't that hard to see coming either. Still, Patroclus makes for an engaging narrator, and Odysseus always charms during his short supporting scenes. I'll probable check out [book:Circe|35959740] just to see if there are more Odysseus bits.

The character glossary at the back was surprisingly fun, if only to see how many of the characters from The Iliad got their own spin-off stories starting even in ancient times. Branding, franchises and merchandising have been around forever. ( )
  villemezbrown | Aug 24, 2018 |
Madeline Miller has novelized the story of Achilles, son of human and goddess, legendary warrior, and tragic hero with the requisite tragic flaw. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author is able to take a classic story and illuminate its timelessness. Timeless themes include: Courage, coming of age emotionally and sexually, homosexuality, love, parent/child conflicts, honor, kindness, and yes, of course, destiny. Worth reading! ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 7, 2018 |
My education did not include Ancient Mythology, so while I was familiar with the names of many of the ancient characters I was not well versed with their stories. That means that this re-telling of the story of Achilles was not a re-telling for me. The POV is that of Patroclus, and his tale is personal and up-close. The battle of Troy is now told from the trenches, we are brought into the day to day lives of those famous heros/gods/villains. The author has not only studied the subject matter, she teaches it, and, the best part-she can write! Her love for the subject matter comes through but does not prevent her from showing us both the good and the bad in each of her characters. Miller makes a ten year war rush by quickly, the story is told in a taut, waste -few -words manner. A great read! ( )
1 vote Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 200 (next | show all)
That The Song of Achilles offers a different take on the epic story of Achilles and the Trojan War is not, in itself, anything particularly out of the ordinary. People have been putting their own spins on The Iliad from the instant Homer finished reciting it. What's startling about this sharply written, cleverly re-imagined, enormously promising debut novel from Madeline Miller is how fresh and moving her take on the tale is — how she has managed to bring Achilles and his companion Patroclus to life in our time without removing them from their own.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Robert Bianco (Mar 12, 2012)
But in the case of Miller, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in classics at Brown, the epic reach exceeds her technical grasp. The result is a book that has the head of a young adult novel, the body of the “Iliad” and the hindquarters of Barbara Cartland.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, Madelineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, FrazerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windgassen, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my mother Madeline, and Nathaniel
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My father was a king and the son of kings.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


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Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.… (more)

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