Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Song of Achilles” as Want to Read:
The Song of Achilles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview
Read Excerpt* *Different edition

The Song of Achilles

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  32,117 ratings  ·  4,792 reviews
The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become ste
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Ecco (first published September 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Song of Achilles, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kiara I have just finished the book, and I think it is not that improbable but I wouldn't wish it for us.

Tyler Durden said it first; "We’re the middle…more
I have just finished the book, and I think it is not that improbable but I wouldn't wish it for us.

Tyler Durden said it first; "We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. (...)" Such love is common when we're kids, and more common still under extraordinary circumstances. Achilles and Patroclus were boys still when they reached Troy and grew up under the most extraordinary of circumstances; a war. Death in close proximity always robs us of our over-thinking, our scheming or doubts. It leaves behind only the most primary of your thoughts and emotions, and if we're lucky they are love and concern for our loved ones and a singular desire to protect them from harm.

Maybe I am not yet rubbed raw from life that I believe in such love, but the ideal love we always read and watch about always happens with a plot that puts a deadline to it, and the running time makes everything else irrelevant. I am sure such great love stories were lived but not written during WWII, or back when smallpox was taking lives. It is all too possible that, had they survived, Achilles and Patroclus might have had problems with the demands of being a prince, or keeping things secret or the fact that at some point one of them might want kids.

And I wouldn't wish it for us because great love stories seem to come at the cost of a happy life. Health, prosperity, order, a bright future for the next generations are all important too. And such love stories seldom have happy endings too. There is this saying in my country: "Love is when you can't unite."(less)
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Recommended Historical Fiction
291st out of 2,169 books — 2,100 voters
L'Adieu aux armes by Ernest HemingwayLe Roi des aulnes by Michel TournierLe Silence de la mer by VercorsLes Bienveillantes by Jonathan LittellHHhH by Laurent Binet
Récits de guerre
56th out of 116 books — 10 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rick Riordan
A new take on the Iliad, written by a high school classics teacher -- how could I not read this? The Song of Achilles retells the story of Greece's greatest hero from the point of view of his best friend Patroclus. The big twist: Madeline Miller casts the story as a romance between Achilles and Patroclus. While staying true to Greek legends and the works of Homer, Miller creatively and convincingly fills in the blanks, giving Patroclus a back story that makes perfect sense, and tracing the frie ...more
*This review is dedicated to Kelly without whose question I would not have thought so hard about why I loved this book.

Miller has called this book “The Song of Achilles”. The title could refer to a song sung by Achilles. It could also refer to a song sung about Achilles. This double meaning is significant as the book retells the story of the Illiad but with a very different focus. The title is significant too because it deliberately recalls the start of the Illiad: “Sing, goddess, of the wrath
Clau R.

This and this and this.


Sólo edito esto para decirles que TIENEN QUE LEER ESTE LIBRO OMG. Favorito del año hasta ahora. Lo amo lo amo lo amo y no hago más que pensar en él. Definitivamente lo voy a releer.
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review can now be seen at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud!

And how wonderful it is.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Judith Starkston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria Schwab
Raeleen Lemay

DON'T HATE ME. I know I'm in the minority here, but this book really wasn't my jam. I think when it comes to ancient history and mythology like this, I prefer to see it rather than read it. I found the plot to be way too dry and dull, at least for the last 2/3 of the book. I really enjoyed the beginning! I loved reading about the childhood years of the boys, and their friendship and romance that blossomed. Oddly enough, I was hoping there would be MORE romance, and I feel like it was lost a
I'm conflicted here, and 3-stars is my go-to rating when faced with conflict. How ironic, then, that this would be a book about one of the greatest conflicts of all time: Greece v. Troy. Too bad it only sort of is, though. About Troy, I mean. What this book really is about is a relationship: Achilles and Patroclus'. Playing that card means that the characterization had better be all aces.

Jacks, it turns out.

I could have easily 4-starred the book for its writing. Miller has a way with the word a
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book in two days, and kept pinning the remaining pages together to see how much I had left. It was the sort of book that I kept wanting to go through slower, wanting it to last longer. I'm not entirely sure what it was about this book that got me so involved, but I guess I'm just a sucker for this crap.Maybe it was the Iliad story itself, maybe it was the slow-built romance and friendship between the two leads, maybe it was the lovely poetic prose and the striking description. As lov ...more
May 17, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned
Shelves: historical
Up to page 55, The Song of Achilles is nothing but a romance between Achilles and Patroclus. There is nothing wrong with that, except this romance is a mopy and gushy wide-eyed affair. I have a hard time believing that a 10-year old boy would wax so poetically about his beloved's appearance, down to his feet:

"In the huge hall, his beauty shone like a flame, vital and bright, drawing my eye against my will. His mouth was a plump bow, his nose an aristocratic arrow." (p. 26)

"His dusty feet scuffed
We despise spoilers. We avoid them at all costs, cover them with spoiler tags, and castigate those who share them. But a great book is one that we can appreciate even when we already know the ending. That's how it was with The Song of Achilles: I knew the fates of the characters beforehand, but no matter how much I tried to brace myself, the last few chapters still broke my heart in the best possible way.

What had Deidameia thought would happen, I wondered, when she had her women dance for me? Ha
Lucía Lorena
Mi reacción al terminar el libro:

Laura Marcela ✎・:*:・

4.5 stars

This and this. The way his hair looked in summer sun. His face when he ran. His eyes, solemn as an owl at lessons. This and this and this. So many moments of happiness, crowding forward.

Blurb: 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
Okay so I'll make this brief because I don't need to belabor how much praise I have for this book.

I think that personally for me this will be the best book I read this year and it's only February! But I already know. Mainly because of this: this is the first book in my life that has moved me to tears, and lots of them. I spent the last three chapters with tears streaming down my face and I was enjoying every agonizing second of it.

I knew from opening it I would love it, based on the beautiful w
Aug 26, 2012 K rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Orange Prize and high goodreads rating
I am going to disagree with the Orange Prize committee. I am going to disagree with thousands of goodreads reviewers. This book is crap.

Okay, all you trolls. Go ahead and tell me what a philistine I am, how ignorant I am of Greek literature and mythology, and how my failure to appreciate this book reflects my limitations rather than those of the book. You don't really need to bother defending this book, because the masses seem to agree with you.

But if you ask me, this was a Harlequin. Boring Pa
Jul 02, 2012 Megan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mythology buffs, people who read too much slash fanfiction, mary renault fans
okay, this is gonna be edited cus I'm at the library right now and I'm hungry but here's my quick verdict:

You'd think that I'd be all over this stuff (gratuitous background: former/failed classics student, mildly ashamed reader of trashy slash fanfiction). But I found this novel disappointing, especially since I had read so many gushing reviews. Despite Miller's credentials as a classics instructor at Brown), the book feels curiously fanfiction-y?? Don't get me wrong, the writing is beautiful in
This has been one of the most difficult reviews to write in a long time. It's been awhile since I've read a book that had stuff I really liked and stuff that left me feeling really "meh."

There's no real need to give a summary of the plot because it's basically: "Achilles and Patroclus meet, gradually fall in teenaged love, and the events of the Iliad that we all know about happen."

Which is one of the reasons why, when I finished Miller's book, I was left with a feeling of "Eh." The story is no
I’m done with my exams, so I can finally write a review for this book…

I’ve been fascinated by Greek mythology since primary school and the Trojan War was my favourite part of it, so the book made me feel a little bit nostalgic. And after reading it I was more than a little bit depressed, which was weird considering the fact that I knew how it was going to end.

This novel focuses on Patroclus (who is the narrator) and Achilles and their relationship, which grows stronger while they grow up. Madel
David Lentz
I don't know quite how to say this without sounding irreverent but the lyrical qualities of this novel read better to my ear than any translation of Homer's "Iliad" I have ever read. You might say that Madeline Miller has hit a Homer the first time up to bat. She spent ten years writing this novel and it shows. The language has a telling simplicity and vivid clarity and economy all of which speak of a literary novelist's supreme gifts. The luminous quality of the language must be read to be beli ...more
If the only thing that this book does is send you to the bookshelves to find that old copy of the Iliad, that would still be quite an accomplishment. But this novel, faithful in many ways to the characters (human and otherwise) and events of the Iliad stands on its own merit as a powerful love story. Yes, there's plenty of wonderfully depicted fight scenes (Achilles, the best warrior of all the Greeks is a killing machine), but these war scenes, the whole ten plus year siege of Troy, are seconda ...more
This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved...


**PLEASE NOTE** If you are not familiar with The Iliad and/or the Trojan War, this review may contain some (vague-ish, but I'm bad at judging these things, so maybe not-so-vague) spoilers. But considering that The Iliad was written nearly 3,000 years ago, I'm not putting spoiler-cuts anywhere. For what it's worth, though, knowing the basic story beforehand does not at all influence its impact and
Gail Carriger
Correctly hailed as the scion of Mary Renault, this is a retelling of The Iliad told in first person from Patroclus's perspective. As I have always found Achilles's foil the most interesting character in The Iliad, I loved the idea behind this book. I wish we had a little more insight into why Achilles loves him so devotedly, but their relationship is believable and quite sweet. There is a great twist as to how Miller manages to finish the story of the war even after the inevitable. If you have ...more
Well, it's about Achilles, and of course Achilles’ story has already been told quite a few times. So it begs the question: why another version of Achilles’ legend? Why not just read the Odyssey, or skim wikipedia while watching Troy?

This novel’s answer, in my opinion, is that Achilles deserved to be portrayed by he that had loved him most, he who knew the hero and the son of a goddess but who also shared his most intimate moments.

And of course, by ‘intimate’, I mean gay sex.

So it's unabashedly l
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
At Uni I studied the Iliad --a bit. It's a wonderful classic tale that has been examined and reexamined under multiple lenses and from multiple perspectives. And I was really looking forward to Ms. Miller's rendition, particularly as she has a master's in Latin and Ancient Greek, and because the School Library Journal described the book in such glowing terms. However, as it turned out, I was disappointed.

The book starts out wonderfully. I was immediately engaged as the 'voice' of the book, Patro
I am trash. This was amazing. I actually did cry on a train whilst reading this. And I cried properly at home when I finished reading it.
Fucking amazing. I never normally like historical fiction but goddamn if I wasn't like 182% into this. I mean I regretted starting this book when about 2 pages in I suddenly remembered that it was going to be fucking tragic, but also I regret nothing because this was wonderful.

Idk it was gay and it was Achilles and it was Ancient Greece I mean <333
Reign Lauren
First of all, I want to thank my friend Shelby for giving me this book. I probably wouldn’t have a physical copy if it weren’t for you. You were also so convincing about this book, and I thank you for the beautiful damage it brought me :-)

I was a bit skeptical about this book since I don’t really branch out from YA and NA and when I do, they’re usually just books by Haruki Murakami. I’ve never read historical fiction before (unless The Infernal Devices counts), and I was scared that I won’t be
In Homer's Iliad, Achilles is a loose cannon who avenges the death of Patroclus by desecrating Hector's body. In her first novel, classics teacher Miller delivers Patroclus's side of the story. Achilles's BFF tells us how his sad, friendless childhood changed completely when the half-god prince took him under his wing. Patroclus's views don't contradict tradition; they are an intimate look at Achilles that brings out the hero's best qualities. This view is an example of how Miller pays tribute t ...more
Wow this was such a beautiful book. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The writing was so beautiful, I was absorbed and lost in the description of this world.

The characters and the journey they went on was beautiful as well. Patroclus' character development especially was very powerful and had me in tears at times.

As someone with no prior interest in Greek mythology I didn't know the story so didn't know what was going to happen. Reading the last few chapters I was an emotio
Apr 18, 2013 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the classicists
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: prize nomination
Boo-hiss! I hear you cry. For I have only given this book three shiny gold stars when others might argue that even pulling the Pleiades from the heavens and inserting them in digital format at the top of the page would not do this book justice.

Yes, it is a lovely story and yes it is one of the oldest love stories ever told (or never told, for Greek myth leaves a little to be desired on the clarification front) but for me the real hero of the story was Odysseus.

The Song of Achilles is a paen, no
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Persian Boy (Alexander the Great, #2)
  • Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2)
  • The Song of Troy
  • Ransom
  • Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)
  • Achilles
  • The Lonely War
  • An Arrow's Flight
  • As Meat Loves Salt
  • Brethren (Raised by Wolves, #1)
  • A Royal Affair (A Royal Affair, #1)
  • Skybound
  • Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War
  • Whistling in the Dark
  • The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)
  • Painter of Silence
  • The Soldier of Raetia (Valerian's Legion, #1)
  • The Lost Books of The Odyssey
Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of ...more
More about Madeline Miller...

Share This Book

“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.” 687 likes
“Name one hero who was happy."
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason's children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus' back.
"You can't." He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
"I can't."
"I know. They never let you be famous AND happy." He lifted an eyebrow. "I'll tell you a secret."
"Tell me." I loved it when he was like this.
"I'm going to be the first." He took my palm and held it to his. "Swear it."
"Why me?"
"Because you're the reason. Swear it."
"I swear it," I said, lost in the high color of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.
"I swear it," he echoed.
We sat like that a moment, hands touching. He grinned.
"I feel like I could eat the world raw.”
More quotes…