Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: August 28, 2012

Dates Read: September 22 – October 16, 2015


Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. It was so much better than I expected it to be, and I’ve only heard amazing things about it. That’s how good it is.

Expect this review to be brief, because I still have no words to properly describe my love of this book.

I can’t help but wonder if I would have felt differently about TSOA had I not already studied the Trojan War in a classical mythology course last year. Part of the reason why it ripped at my heart so much was because of all the foreshadowing – if you’ve seen some of my updates, you know I’ve yelled at the pages whenever Achilles or Patroclus said something heavy with foreshadowing. Seriously. It almost physically pained me to read those lines because I knew exactly what was coming next.

Madeline’s writing was absolutely beautiful, poetic and always flowing. Her words just brought this story to life in a way that I’ve never experienced before. And I never tired of the story – it was always interesting, from the intense war scenes to the hillside chats between Achilles and Patroclus. Miller made even the most average events vibrant and brilliant.

If there’s one thing I had a problem with, it was probably a certain character’s death. Because I like making my reviews spoiler free, and because I have to assume not everybody knows the story of the Trojan War, wording this is going to be tricky. But the death of… Andromache’s husband… seemed a little anti-climactic to me. For some reason I remember it being a much longer process in my textbook readings, or maybe I’m just remembering the movie Troy’s version of events. Either way, I think it happened a little too quickly, especially for a dude who loves his wife and kid, but it doesn’t bother me enough to take away any marks.

One of my favourite parts about this is the development of Patroclus, particularly near the end. My baby grew up so fast! And the change in Achilles when he goes to war was fantastically written, as well.

But the best writing, in my opinion, comes in… trying to avoid spoiling again… a certain character’s grief. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve read it. I didn’t cry, because I’m heartless, but the despair, agony, and utter heartbreak was almost tangible. I felt that pain deep in my bones.

Overall: Just so much yes. It’s my new favourite book.

This review was originally posted on my booklr on October 17, 2015.


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