The Song of Achilles

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Whenever I come across the Trojan war, I have been rooting for the Trojans. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense – we all know how it ends with the horse and the burning of Troy. It was reading The Song of Achilles that I felt I might have to reconsider, at least for the duration of this novel.

Earlier this year I read Circe, Madeline Miller’s other Greek mythology inspired novel and it was great so naturally I wanted to read this one as well. I was never a big fan of Achilles, with his hubris and stubbornness and his overall arrogance – The Best of the Greeks. All of that is still there in this story – as far as I can tell it stays very true to the original – but there is a little more, a little humanness for want of a better description, added to the hero. It seeks to answer why Achilles reacted as he did after hearing of Patroclus’ death. And because one knows that this is what the novel is building towards it added extra tragedy to their growing relationship.

For me this was a very quick read. The writing made it so tempting to continue reading that I put it down only once, to get some sleep, and the next day I just continued until it was finished. I liked it even a bit more the Circe, and I can’t wait to read whatever Miller publishes next.

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

12 thoughts on “The Song of Achilles

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    1. Yes, but it was also due to circumstances I guess. I read Circe right at the start of the pandemic – and I am pretty sure that meant I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I could have. This one however I read on a beautiful summer evening where I just picked up the book and only noticed how much time had passed because it had become dark and I really couldn’t read the pages anymore – That is my ultimate way to enjoy a book. So, I am sure that helped.

      FYI, I don’t like Achilles either. (And Odysseus neither) – I just think I am not that partial to the old Greek kings now that I think of it. (rooting for the Trojans)

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      1. I rather prefer the Trojans, too. Have you come across Natalie Haynes’ book A Thousand Ships? It is in part told from the POV of the Trojan women, and unlike Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls it does not randomly change to the POV of Achilles or Patroclus.
        If you haven’t come across it, this is another one that might work for you.

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      2. I still have a copy of The Silence of The Girls – my book club was raving about it, and A Thousand Ships also looks very interesting.

        I guess this will be a year with a lot Troy-themed reading. Also read Heroes from Stephen Fry. Can’t really tell where the sudden interest came from. It is like a decade since translating the Iliad in school…

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      3. Haha. I had a spell in August last year when all I wanted to read about was Ancient Greece / Rome. Heroes was one of the books I read last August, too.
        The way August is going this year, I might just as well declare it an official Ancient Greece / Rome theme again, too. (I just finished The Children of Jocasta this afternoon.)

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      4. It might be the summer which turns on this Rome/Greek reading. I took a quick look at The Children of Jocasta – and that also sounds very interesting. At this pace I’m going to seriously hurt my ongoing efforts to lower Mt. TBR 😉

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  1. Yesss, I loved this book too! I read it in almost one sitting, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely adore Madeline Miller’s books, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. Great review 💕

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