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Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Song of Achilles (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Madeline Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,4701295,076 (4.13)3 / 596
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. 90
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 50
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  3. 40
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  4. 30
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  5. 30
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  6. 20
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  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. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  9. 321
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (one-horse.library)
    one-horse.library: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
i started out not liking it. War books aren't really my thing, neither is Greek mythology, but I knew a little bit about it from college, and it was our book club read, so I gave it a shot.
I love m/m novels, so that was a bonus.

Took me a while to get into it, but overall I thought it was a nice story! A nice re-telling of a part of mythology that doesn't always get touched on. ( )
  ariel.kirst | Nov 14, 2014 |
Admittedly, I am a biased reviewer. The author and I attended the same high school & college (she was 2 years ahead of me), and I am a very proud alum, a moderate classics nerd, and a sucker for tragic love stories. But I really did love this book. And it inspired me to read the copy of the Iliad that's been on my bookshelf for a dozen years. ( )
1 vote lexmccall | Sep 3, 2014 |
I had heard bad things about TSoA, when I picked it up at the local library I could not remember what those were but after a couple of pages I decided to keep going. I am not much of a historical fiction fan but definitely enjoy M/M love stories so all in all, the plot was attractive. I did not expect, despite knowing the myth it is based on, to end up weeping and clutching my book in desperation. I also did not expect to finish the book so fast, what with work and other books I am reading simultaneously but if one thing must be said for The Song of Achilles is that it is readable, the kind of story that will not let go of you. Part of it it´s its mythic power, the fact that a retelling always feels closer and more personal to a reader aware of the original. Like a rumour finally clarified into truth, a secret spilled in its totality... but another part is Miller´s skill with language. It is true that sometimes her poetic narrator seems to go a bit far with his metaphors but, although I did not find all of them moving, focalized through his personality I found them believable.

One thing I would have liked is to have seen more of Achilles. Patroclus whole universe revolves around him and yet, Achilles rarely gets any words printed. He is what Patroclus thinks he is, not a person on his own right. In a way this reflects the way the myth creates the characters but although I believe Patroclus loves him, I can´t seem to share in the sentiment because Achilles is, simply, too far. Patroclus himself, on the other hand, as well as many other characters in considerable less depth (Tethis, Odysseus) become individuals but not so his philtatos.
( )
1 vote Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
I read this one for the book club. It's a retelling of pre-Iliad and Iliad events through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles' childhood friend and later comrade and lover.

It's pretty bad when my favorite characters end up being Thetis, Achilles' sea goddess mother, and Chiron, the boys' centaur teacher. As for the main love story, it just didn't grab me--just because it's slash fanfiction doesn't mean it's automatically deep.

Things that turned me off were the wandering verb tenses (some text is in present tense; some in past tense, with no rhyme or reason), typos (Phoinix/Phoenix), and the presence of threatened and actual rape (although I do think the author kept it to a minimum).

Positives: The political maneuvering between the immortals and mortals, and giving us the sense of just how LONG the siege of Troy dragged on. But overall, it just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Retelling if The Iliad with gay Achilles and awkward Patroclus ( )
  Mumineurope | Jul 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (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 (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Madeline Millerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, FrazerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary 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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Book description
Haiku summary
Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


No descriptions found.

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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