Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

by:  Madeline Miller
published by:  Bloomsbury Publishing
publish date:  September 20, 2011

Achilles, 'best of all the Greeks', is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men 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, Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus 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.

I was amazed by how much I loved this book.  I went in without too many expectations and came out blown away.  We all sort of get a vague education about Achilles in grade school and might pick up a few things here or there, but after reading this book it was like, WOW!  I kept looking stuff up to see if it was historically accurate and everything I looked up was, so this was an exceptionally well researched book.

Song of Achilles is told from the viewpoint of Patroclus, Achilles' sworn companion.  Patroclus begins his life as a disappointment to his father and is eventually exiled to Peleus' kingdom.  This is where Patroclus and young Prince Achilles become fast friends.  The book chronicles Achilles and Patroclus being educated by the centaur Chiron.  In this telling of the story, Achilles and Patroclus become lovers during this period of their lives.  As history tells us, Achilles joins in with the Battle of Troy and eventually becomes a great hero of that war.  The book describes his fight and death in beautiful detail.

I loved the fact that this book was told from the stand point of Patroclus.  That put everything that happened throughout the book through a lens of love.  All the actions that took place were understandable because they loved each other so much.

This is one of my top 3 favorite books I've read so far this year.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, it's a must read!


Linen and Silk said...

Ooh, great! I'll have to pick it up when I have an extra buck or two. Then both R and I can read it. :)


Linen and Silk said...

Or maybe you can have a giveaway of historical fiction... (hint hint) :)

Autumn said...

Ha ha...I don't think I have a copy of this book. I got it from the library. I'll double check though. I've got stacks of books at home and if its in there I'll let you know.

Carole said...

I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition

Dorothy Borders said...

Historical fiction is possibly my favorite genre and I've recently put this one on my TBR list. I may move it up a bit after reading your review.

Carole said...

Hey, great that you linked in.