Aaron's Reviews > The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
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's review
May 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

This was a really strong novel the delved into the story and relationship of the Greek hero Achilles and Patroclus. You would probably be most familiar with them as characters in Homer's The Illiad. Miller provides a fresh take on the tale, which is told from the perspective of Patroclus.

Starting when each are young, readers join Patroclus as he travels to the selection process for Helen in selecting a husband. It is an agreement resulting from her choice that brought about the united Greek army to take on the Trojans after she fled to Troy with the prince Paris.

Patroclus returns home only to be exiled years later when an accident causes the death of another boy. Patroclus' father sends him north to Phrhea, where Achilles' father is king, to be fostered. It is there that the two boys get to know each other better, much to the surprised of everyone. Achilles is a talented athlete the Fates have deigned will be the greatest of the Greek warriors. Patroclus is a quieter boy with a interest in medicine and learning. Ultimately, the two boys become more than just friends.

This all happens much to the chagrin of Thetis, a minor sea goddess who is Achilles' mother. She has done everything she can to protect his fate, and she has no intention of letting the love between the two young men interfere with that.

The story continues along the well-known path, but the insight provided by Miller throughout while letting Patroclus be the narrator results in a unique and interested take. The romance that flows through the background of the story provides an interesting background as Miller also weaves in pieces of many well known myths relating to many of the other characters.

This is definitely worth a try.

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