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The Song of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline…

The Song of Achilles: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Madeline Miller (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,2013691,256 (4.18)4 / 924
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.
Title:The Song of Achilles: A Novel
Authors:Madeline Miller (Author)
Info:Ecco (2012), Edition: 37696th, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

Recently added byprivate library, Arina8888, maddystefansky, louloudeviaje, hawkiodus, mcconnnieg, MariaFP2022
  1. 140
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 100
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  3. 100
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  4. 50
    The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (konallis)
    konallis: A very different view of Achilles, from the point of view of his captured prize, Briseis.
  5. 50
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  6. 40
    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. 30
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  8. 30
    Circe by Madeline Miller (sturlington)
  9. 42
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  10. 10
    Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (knhaydon)
    knhaydon: Modern retelling of a classical myth, narrated by a character with a less central part in the original source text(s).
  11. 10
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  12. 10
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  13. 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.
  14. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  15. 00
    The Hostage by Kathryn Berck (quartzite)
    quartzite: Set in Bronze Age Greece about descendants of Hercules seeking to reclaim their patrimony.
  16. 339
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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English (356)  Dutch (6)  French (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (365)
Showing 1-5 of 356 (next | show all)
It's been a while since I loved a story about two bros this much. I can't decide if knowing how it would end, how it had to end, made the story more delicious, or if I would have loved it as much without knowing. ( )
  jscape2000 | Jan 21, 2022 |
Madeline Miller’s “Song of Achilles” flawlessly melds reality with myth, creating realistic mortal characters who spring to life off the page and in the same breath, presenting gods and goddesses who meddle thoughtlessly in the lives of those mortals and who, for the reader immersed in the story, are every bit as believable. Mortal and divine, all are there in full flesh -- loving and petty, arrogant and forgiving, sly and manipulative by turns.

Miller has focused on the love affair between Achilles and Patroclus, and it is wildly, operatically romantic as Achilles moves inevitably toward the fate planned for him since perhaps the moment of his conception. And that’s the weakest point in the book. It’s easy enough to believe that the young Patroclus, exiled from his father’s court for a childish miscalculation, could be enthralled by the young Achilles. Miller draws a young hero who is kind, loving, and protective, and creates a deepening bond between the two boys that turns sexual as they mature. It’s harder to believe that this same loving and generous golden youth is the angry, arrogant warrior willing to see his countrymen die by the hundreds on the plains of Troy while he withholds his support from the battle, all over an insult to his pride.

Miller sticks fairly close to the Homeric version of the Trojan War, and finds an interesting connection between Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia and Achilles’ impulsive claim on Briseis which ultimately led to the deeper conflict between the two men. She also brings Achilles’ sea nymph mother, Thetis, to chilling life. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Jan 19, 2022 |
More like 2.5 to be honest. I love the first part of the book, it's sweet and discovering Achilles and Greece from Patroclus point of view. Then it gets slow and dense. Nothing happens. I mean, a lot happens, but nothing happens. Patroclus isn't a great narrator once they are out of the castle. NOthing happens when they are "training" with the centaur, nothing happens in the island, nothing happens in troy for 10 years... After Chiron I was sooo done with the story, it's boring. It got the .5 because the ending was sweet too, and that's about it. ( )
  Nannus | Jan 17, 2022 |
This was a difficult book for me to review without spoiling the story, so I’ll have to spoiler tag much of my review. A large part of this is because I was already familiar with The Iliad from having read it a little under 4 years ago, and many of my reactions and thoughts about this book were influenced by that experience.

If you’re familiar with The Iliad, many of the events that happen will already be familiar to you, especially in the second half of this book. The story is told from the point of view of Patroclus, starting from when he’s a young boy, before he meets and becomes a companion to Achilles. This is more of a friendship/romance story than anything else, but it does provide a lot more context for how and why things happened the way they did in The Iliad.

Now I’m going to move to spoiler tags so that I can type more freely!
The SFFBC group on Goodreads read this book 6 months after I’d finished The Iliad and at the time, aware the story would be about Patroclus and Achilles, I guessed it would be horribly depressing. After all, I knew how that story ended! I also wasn’t that interested in a rehash of the story from The Iliad so soon, so I decided not to join in on the read and planned to pick it up after more time had passed. And here we are.

I was a little confused at first that Patroclus was the one telling the story. After all, he dies even before Achilles does. At first I wondered if the story was going to end before the death and mayhem, but that seemed unlikely, so I wondered if the narration would change near the end. It wasn’t until 68% into the book, when Patroclus was talking about things that would happen after the war as if he had seen it for himself, that I started to suspect the story was being told by Patroclus’ spirit. I probably wouldn’t have liked that in another context, but in the case of this book it was one of the things I really liked. It added a little more suspense for me at the end. What would happen to their spirits? Would Patroclus be reunited with Achilles in the afterlife? I was happy that it allowed for a somewhat happier ending than I had initially expected, continuing a little bit past their deaths.

I enjoyed the first half more than the second. In the second half, the story was more familiar to me, I was feeling the dread of the things to come, and I was frustrated by many of Achilles’ decisions. I did like though that so much more context was given to why the characters did what they did. This book made Achilles more likeable, although I was of course angry with him about all the same things I was angry with him about in The Iliad. It was that extra context, plus seeing different events through the eyes of Patroclus, that helped me stay interested in a familiar story. And I did very much buy into and appreciate the way the relationship between them was developed and portrayed. I much preferred the earlier parts before Achilles went off the deep end, though.

I tend to gripe about books with too much romance in them, and this book is chock full of romance, but I enjoyed it despite that. If there’s any romance trope that’s likely to work for me, it’s the one where the relationship starts from a friendship like it does here. I also really appreciated their honesty with each other and the way they respected each other and tried to understand each other rather than just immediately getting angry at the least provocation. I feel like too many authors turn romantic partners into irrational idiots just to create conflict and drama, so I appreciated not having to slog through that here.
( )
  YouKneeK | Jan 15, 2022 |
Fascinating and strong. I loved it, even though it took me a while to get through it. ( )
  Venarain | Jan 10, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 356 (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
First words
My father was a king and the son of kings.
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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Book description
Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Haiku summary
Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


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