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The Song of Achilles

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  40,053 Ratings  ·  5,912 Reviews
This is a breathtakingly original rendering of the Trojan War - a devastating love story and a tale of gods and kings, immortal fame and the human heart.'Mary Renault lives again! A ravishingly vivid and convincing version of one of the most legendary of love stories' Emma Donoghue, author of number 1 bestseller, Room 'The Song of Achilles is at once a scholar's homage to ...more
Hardcover, Limited editon of 500 copies. Without dust jacket. Signed,, 359 pages
Published September 5th 2011 by Bloomsbury UK
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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)
Holly This is not a Twilight-like book. The Song of Achilles sticks pretty closely to the plot of the Iliad. I think the one major difference was that…moreThis is not a Twilight-like book. The Song of Achilles sticks pretty closely to the plot of the Iliad. I think the one major difference was that Patroclus was a capable warrior in the Iliad but while he's less of a fighter here, though he does ok when he's forced into the role. The society and attitudes portrayed here are very close to traditional Greek myths, such as the sexism of the time, how honour and glory are treated as more important than life itself, etc. I was a big fan of how the gods were portrayed in this book, which I think is very close to the myths. They're mysterious and capricious, extremely vengeful and I think Madeline Miller did a great job of portraying how very far from human they are.(less)
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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Ana {The Good Gif Fairy}
{BR with Anne and McKenna}

Those seconds, half seconds, that the line of our gaze connected, were the only moments in my day that I felt anything at all.

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Oh cruel, cruel fate! I had found myself thinking why there was so much heartache. Then I remembered this is Greek mythology. Few things interest me more than the monsters, heroes, gods, semi-gods and creatures of the greek myths.

I easily get caught up in reading the fates of the legendary heroes. Achilles, Heracles, Odysseus, Hector, Per

"Achilles. Who was he if not miraculous, and radiant? Who was he if not destined for fame?"

Reading this is like reading Romeo and Juliet. We all know the story. We all know the outcome. We all know that our desperate prayers for someone, anyone to step in and save these characters from themselves will fall on deaf ears.

Gods. What a bloody trainwreck. Even though I knew how it was going to end, I was not prepared for how much I cared.

This is the story of the fall of Troy. Or rather, a part of
*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
Richard Derus
Apr 06, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 20, 2015 Lucía rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Mi reacción al terminar el libro:

Victoria Schwab
Aug 07, 2015 Victoria Schwab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simona Bartolotta
Apr 05, 2016 Simona Bartolotta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english
EDIT 05/04/2016: As predicted, I changed my mind. I read this book months ago and not a day goes by when I, for a reason or another, don't think of it, its characters, its beauty. It's a full five.
Given the storm of feelings that right now doesn't let me think straight, I dare say that those four stars are likely to evolve into five in the future, so my actual rating for the moment is 4.5 stars out of 5.

"He was spring, golden and bright. Envious Death would drink his blood, and grow young aga
Brian Yahn
It's pretty hard to mess up The Iliad, and Madeline Miller's magical narration and unique perspective definitely don't. She manages to tell the tale from angles never before seen and put a fresh spin on one of the best known stories of all time. On top of being mostly accurate, what Madeline Miller does especially well is make this story accessible to anyone. A lot of the sybolisms that make The Iliad great are easy to miss, but in this version, that's not the case. And the way she structures se ...more
Raeleen Lemay
Oct 08, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, lgbtqia

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
Juliana Zapata
Dec 19, 2015 Juliana Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Hermoso y desgarrador! Amo la mitología y todas sus historia, y el mito de Aquiles es uno de mis favoritos, por lo que sufrí mucho leyendo este libro, ya que al conocer la historia supones como va a terminar.

Me encantó
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Ô, Patroclus, what did you do to me? After having hesitated for a long time, I decided to give 4 stars to The Song of Achilles, no matter how flawed I thought it was. The reason for this is that I know that this book will linger, and that I treasure this kind of feelings above everything. This being said, it does not mean that I'm able to overlook what annoyed me, and I will try to give it the fairest review possible - if such thing really exists, which I doubt.

Look, I'm not going to argue ove
May 17, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura Marcela ✎・:*:・ |spoilers af|

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
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
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
Feb 04, 2016 Lin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 jazz. 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 lo ...more
Viktoria (seelieknight)
I knew the ending before it happened, but the tears were as real as if I hadn't.

Despite the title, the real protagonist of this story was without a doubt Patroclus. I fell in love with his awkward boyishness, and I hated myself for it because I knew there would be no escaping the fatal finale. I think Miller puts the word BROTP on the charts. Honestly, Achilles and Patroclus' relationship is something to be cherished. There were so many scenes, especially their nightly dalliances, that had my h
Will Byrnes
Jan 17, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-and-children
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bury me in a tomb on the beach, because I am dead.

This book killed me. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. Joyful and strange and confusing and then fucking heartbreaking. Just terrible event after terrible event, but the book itself revolves around a conceptual spoiler; we know how it's going to end. But for some reason, we hope that it might be different this time. It won't.

There's nothing I can, in good conscience, criticise: I hated Achilles with his infuriating hubris, and I hated the loom
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 did not like it  ·  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
Jan 10, 2016 ily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
*Wipes away a tear* Patrochilles

I just finished the book and am devastated. If I try to put my feelings into words I know I'll fail miserably; this book deserves so much better.

BUDDY READ WITH MY AMAZING FRIENDS Ana and McKenna. To read Ana's beautiful review, click here.
3.8/5 stars

I just want to point out that my rating of this book does not mean I don't love it.
It only says: I had problems that marred my overall enjoyment of this book. This is just me trying to make sense of my feelings. I'm just being honest with myself, So please

I just had to give that small speech because a lot of people love this book.

The writing and Narra
Jul 02, 2012 Megan rated it liked it  ·  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
If more romance novels were like this one, I'd be a much bigger fan of the genre.

This was such a beautiful book. Beautifully written, full of nostalgia, perfect length and pacing. It's so wonderful to see an M/M romance done well and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves romance and/or Greek mythology.

Full review to come!
Liz Janet
May 03, 2016 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“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.”

This book is emotionally draining.

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

This is often told to be a re-telling of The Iliad by Homer told from the perspective of Patroclus, yet to me is much more a love story, and it makes me freaking
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
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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...

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“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.” 926 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.”
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