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Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Song of Achilles (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Madeline Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,7991583,891 (4.11)3 / 651
Title:Song of Achilles
Authors:Madeline Miller
Info:Bloomsbury UK (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, Audio, Orange Prize, 2013

Work details

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

  1. 100
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 50
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
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    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
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    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
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    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  6. 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.
  7. 21
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  8. 00
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
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    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 154 (next | show all)
Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

I thought the book was extremely entertaining, enlightening and well written. Madeline Miller wrote from Patroclus point of view of how he and Achilles fell in love and fought for each other until the end which brought tears to my eyes.

The story describes Achilles’ life, the time he got to enjoy his God-given skills and bask in the arms of his lover. Although Achilles is the hero of the legion I thought Patroclus life was more sincere, caring and interesting as he sacrificed so much throughout the story.

I liked the way Miller created the beginning of the story of Patroclus’ early life and the ultimate exile to Phthia and where Achilles’ befriends Patroclus. Plus, the descriptive scenes of Achilles’ mother, Thetis the Goddess of the Sea carries the true savagery and chill of the distant past. Then there were times and events when the story elongated for awhile but Miller brings it back together when Achilles bitter stubbornness to join the troops at the “ Battle of Troy” and once more Patroclus captures the heart of the readers when he takes the place of Achilles’ and leads the troops to Troy. I believe Achilles, deserved the aftermath of the battle.

I enjoyed the book and thought Madeline Miller did well in her research and achieved bringing history to its glory through the story of love and devotion.
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this one. I wasn't sure what to expect, given the red and gold cover, complete with a manly breastplate. I was a bit worried it might be a love story about gentleman, for ladies! It was not.It was a cracking re-telling of a classic love story. Some of the characters were excellent, I was a big fan of Chiron, Patroclus and Achilles. Achilles was a fully rounded complex sort of chap, torn between wanting to live and love Patroclus,and wanting to become a god/legend. It's got good pacing as well, there is no dragging even though it takes a while to even get to Troy. The book managed to maintain intrigue, even though I kinda knew where we were heading all along.

I've always been a big fan of the Greek legends, and this book really made one of them spring to life. ( )
  fothpaul | Apr 12, 2016 |
Wow. This made me cry. I loved it despite the bad sex scene writing. The first time I read The Iliad, I had to write about it in college. I came across that essay later and was surprised to find that I had made an argument in favor of Paris and Helen. When I read The Iliad later, several years ago as a book club selection, I hated those two and fell head over heals for Hector, what a man! I can't say that this book made me fall for Achilles, but it helped me see a few things from the Greek side, and I loved Patroclus and even understood Thetis better (his goddess mom). I think I have some friends with hearts as big as Patroclus. This book embodies the magic of The Iliad, with its larger than life, complicated characters.

Here is a short quote that could sum up The Song of Achilles:

“There is no law that gods must be fair, Achilles,” Chiron said. “And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone. Do you think?”

Miller is absolutely believable in her mythology writing. Also, the audio is a real masterpiece. However, I stick by my opinion that she can get better on the sex scenes, or figure out how much is actually better just hinted at with a work like this. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
A great adaptation of the Iliad. Pretty much unforgettable. However, any future reader should know there is nudity and sex, because I didn't know until I read it. ( )
  ElizabethJoseph | Feb 10, 2016 |
Well...I really wanted to like this book a lot. While I feel like I have a somewhat better/different sense of the events of The Iliad, I found it very difficult to become particularly attached the characters in Song of Achilles. Until close to the end when he started to find something really useful to do with himself Patroclus, our narrator, seemed to just be hanging around to see what Achilles was going to do. I think if that character had been a woman, a lot of people's heads would have exploded because she was so passive.

Achilles on the other hand was apparently great because he was Achilles. Well trained and there was The Prophecy or prophecies I guess, but nothing much else to recommend him that I could see.

Those who have been better students of the Classics than I have might appreciate this book a bit more, and it certainly is well written. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (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
Madeline Millerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, FrazerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, DavidReadersecondary 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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