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The Song of Achilles

Miller, Madeline (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Song of Achilles


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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.
Authors: Miller, Madeline
Title: The song of Achilles
Publisher: New York :, Ecco,, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 378 p. ;,24 cm
Notes: Includes a character glossary
"A novel" -- Dust jacket
Summary: 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.
Awards & Distinctions: ["
First Novels 2012", "
Bookmarks Best Books 2013"]
ISBN: 0062060619
9780062060617
Branch Call Number: FICTION
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Miller retells the story of the Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles' bosom friend. She captures both the huge mythic scope of Achilles and his godlike gift and the feeling of Greece and Troy, the wind blowing over the ocean, the smell of olive groves, the love between two teenage boys.

Report This Feb 15, 2014
  • petehoover98118 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

When a straight woman has the overweening conceit to attempt to write a book from the viewpoint of a gay man in a relationship she invariably fails because men are not women. And in Madeline Miller's book, Patroclus is a woman with different equipment. The book's insulting unreality was hard to put up with, and by the time that we got to the sacrifice of Iphegenia I had had enough of her assuming she could speak for people she clearly knows nothing about. Skip this book.

Report This Jan 13, 2014
  • artemishi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Song of Achilles is a poetic, moving, deeply human story set in Greece during the Trojan War. The narrator, Patroclus, is a compassionate storyteller, and an relatable character in many ways. Through his eyes, ancient Greece comes alive, complete with heroes and gods, all flawed and intricate. As a fan of Greek mythology, I really enjoyed this book. It's hard to classify it into a single genre: it's a coming-of-age story, it's a romance (very sensual and erotic, I might add), it's a story of warfare, it's a story of making family...I think, mostly, it's a story of human nature and humanity. Miller does an excellent job of sweeping the reader up in the story so that you believe everything the narrator tells you- yes, the gods exist and they are flawed and cruel; yes the heroes exist and they are motivated like normal men; yes, the sons of gods exist and they are not quite human. As detailed as Patroclus' narrative was, I felt like I was with him every step of the way (and so, I cried). Even if you aren't a fan of Greek mythology, if you like fantasy and stories about the element of humanity (and things that unite us all), I think you'll like it. If you like the human aspects of war, love, adventure, community, etc. I think you'll like it. If you like ancient history, I think you'll like it. And if you like romance, the epic kind, I think you'll like it.

Report This Nov 16, 2013
  • Estha rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The telling of the great legend kept me reading but...the novel reads like youth fiction, and the the "love language" is so sappy and overdone. Orange prize winner, really??

Report This Aug 28, 2013
  • forbesrachel rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A brilliantly devised look at the life of Achilles through the eyes of Patroclus. Both characters are given great depth in this way; always their relationship was mentioned, but never expanded on, but by doing this Miller has made them more alive than ever before. Things like the motives of the characters are set well in advance, so there is never surprise over the reason for their actions. Some changes were made to the original tale to accommodate all this, like the fact that Patroclus learned from Chiron when he never did. The author also subtly foreshadows certain events, like how no one has taken something from Achilles, but he thinks he would be mad (the taking of Briseus is what leads to his downfall). Even better is how much is added to Patroclus himself, for he was only ever a secondary character. All of this makes this a must read for those wishing for more than the Iliad provided.

This book is now among my favorites! It certainly wasn't what I was expecting when I first saw the cover. I can't believe it was her first novel she writes with such experience. I was hooked from the first page all the way to the last. It's a great story filled with love, loss, sacrifice, war, everything. I am tempted to read it again.

Report This May 29, 2013
  • yusuf12323 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

i love this book its like a love story, action and greek history/myth mixed in one story

Report This Apr 24, 2013
  • wonderlands rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book is absolutely captivating, and Miller's writing draws you in and keeps you there until the final ending page. A beautiful story of war and love from cover to cover, this book had me grabbing at some tissues. A great tale for anyone who loves lgbt themes and greek mythology!

Report This Apr 08, 2013
  • drok77 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Why did I let myself read this? As if I didn't know how it would end--me, sniffling and vainly wiping away tears to read the last few pages. The half bottle of wine doesn't help. The 3,000 years that have passed and my knowledge of the tale since boyhood don't help either. But it had to be done. I had to witness, bleary-eyed, the tragic beauty of a part of the story finally given deserving light. You should do the same, but be warned: the gods are cruel, and will tug viciously at your mortal heartstrings. UPDATE: Okay, I've had a few weeks to emotionally recover from this book. I still love it, I think it's a story that needed to be told, but I can be a bit more objective now. It does read a bit too much like a love story for much of the book, but Miller was trying to show that it is often love and relationships that drive huge human events like war. I think she could have brought us to the action sooner. Don't get me wrong--I loved spending so much time with Achilles and Patroclus growing up together, but the general reader needs some more conflict, which doesn't happen until you're almost halfway through the book. I have to agree with some of the other reviewers about Patroclus--he comes off a bit flat, and I don't really have a good sense of him as an individual until the end of the book, but he and Achilles were kind of lost in each other. Maybe they could have showed their individuality earlier on, along with the added conflict the story could have used, but how many self-actualized 16 year-olds are there? Re-tellings of epic stories are difficult. They get so scrutinized for trying to be a bit more human, more accessible than their ancient sources. Marion Zimmerman Bradley's The Firebrand had the same problem. How do you highlight a love story and personal struggles against the backdrop of one of the greatest tales of war and tragedy? It seems to be either a war tale with a love story subplot or vice versa. Everyone will prefer one over the other, but I don't know if you can effectively have both. You kind of just have to recognize the beauty in either angle.

Report This Mar 14, 2013
  • JCLGreggW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This debut novel by Miller is a breathtaking read that can be viewed as a coming-of-age novel, mythology, a love story, historical fiction, or a fantasy/sf, all in one. Tracing the route of Patroclus, an exiled Greek prince as he finds acceptance, friendship, and eventually love with fellow prince Achilles. Events follow the pair to the walls of Troy, where destiny plays out, with dramatic and emotionally devastating results. Miller gives us believable characters out of the myth: Achilles is usually presented as either a brat or as a killing machine - here, he's a fun and sympathetic character, trapped between love and duty and honor. If you like this novel, check out Steven Pressfield's "Gates of Fire" or Jo Graham's "Black Ships."

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algerich thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 69 and 96

Report This Apr 24, 2013
  • wonderlands rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

wonderlands thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Report This Aug 22, 2012
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

becker thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Report This Aug 23, 2012
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"She used to be known as the most beautiful woman in our kingdoms. Now they say she's the most beautiful woman in the world.....A thousand ships have sailed for her"

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Report This Aug 16, 2012
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller talks about the creation of The Song of Achilles.

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