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The Song of Achilles

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  197,424 ratings  ·  24,529 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
Kindle Edition, US Edition, 389 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published September 20th 2011)
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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 child…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 Patro…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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Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”We were like gods, at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

This book!!!
Gosh I loved this book!!!

The moment I read the first page I was already certain of two things:
1.) This would become one of my all-time favourites and I’d gush about it like crazy.
2.) It wouldn’t only leave me devastated and heartbroken but also sobbing like a little child.

Well, both of those things came true, even way earlier than I had initially anticipated. I wa
Sean Barrs
Madeline Miller did what the movie producers of the film Troy (2004) were too cowardly to do; she stayed true to the homosexuality of Homer’s Iliad rather than writing a censored version of the story which stank of homophobia. Achilles and Patroclus were passionately in love, which resulted in their respective destructions. They were not cousins or man at arms, but soul mates. The watering down of this in the film Troy was an insult to the LGBT community. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The attract
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 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
Cristina Monica
I feel so much. And perhaps my emotions are not my own this time? Madeline Miller for sure implanted them deep inside of me, without my consent, and now I'm urging her to withdraw them, or I will not be able to sleep through the night.

It took me a month to read this book, as I needed to take multiple breaks during the experience that is ‘‘The Song of Achilles.’’ I was about to curse the lyricism for welling too many emotions inside my body, too often, and therefore thwarting my reaching the endi
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
‘we were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.’

i must be a masochist because i can think of no other reason to endure the emotional and stunning pain of this story for a third time. but here i am. crying for my sweet, sweet patroclus. the best of men. the best of the myrmidons. <3

its been nearly 12 hours since i finished this and i still am at a loss for words at the beauty of this book. i dont
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
okay oKAY i get the hype
"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 o
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am shooketh. All the stars in the historical universe should be awarded to this book.

It took me completely by surprise!

I knew nothing about it going in besides the fact that it is based off events in Homer's, The Illiad.

Despite the fact that I took 4-years of Latin in high school, I couldn't tell you the first thing about The Illiad any more.

I was completely floored by the absolute beauty of this story.

The center of the tale is the love between Achilles and Patroclus.

Admittedly, I am not a
Jeffrey Keeten
”He was a marvel, shaft after shaft flying from him, spears that he wrenched easily from broken bodies on the ground to toss at new targets. Again and again I saw his wrist twist, exposing its pale underside, those flute-like bones thrusting elegantly forward. My spear sagged forgotten to the ground as I watched. I could not even see the ugliness of the deaths anymore, the brains, the shattered bones that later I would wash from my skin and hair. All I saw was his beauty, his singing limbs, the ...more
Lia (booksnpenguins)
ACHILLES, it reads. And beside it, PATROCLUS.


Can anyone please call my boss and let her know I may not go to work for a week or so? I need time to recover from this book that m u r d e r e d me.

No kidding, here. I think getting a Brazilian wax wouldn't have hurt this much.
I'm an ugly sobbing mess, running nose and hair pulling included.
What a-wow! I have no words.
I can't remember the last time a book made me weep so much.
This is the kind of books I like: zero dull moments, f
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5/5 stars

Beautifully heartbreaking and tragic, Madelline Miller’s first novel burst with palpable emotions.

Countless amazing things have been raised and sang for the Miller’s craft on The Song of Achilles and Circe, and that speaks volumes on how ridiculous it is that it took me this long to finally get around to reading it. In truth, there was a hesitancy inside me; The Illiad, the stories of Achilles, Hector, and Odysseus are stories that I’ve read and heard about so many times before in sev
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
patroclus: constantly gushing about achilles' outer and inner beauty, like 80% of the time
me: *remembering brad pitt's chiseled abs and legs in troy (2004)* same boi
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
✨    jamieson   ✨
“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

way back I said there was a review of this beautiful book to come and I never did it. So now it's June and finally, finally I am ready to review this book.

deidamia: marry me ach-
achilles: in case you haven’t noticed, i’m gay. i’m gay as fuck. i don’t like girls and i don’t want to... like girls. have you ever seen me without patroclus standing right beside me? that’s gay

In a
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: mlm couple

"i feel like i could eat the world raw" vs. "i will kill u & eat u raw"

(but actually, the only thing that was eaten raw was my heart)
*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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
“Why would I kill Hector? What has Hector ever done to me?”

Fun Fact of the Day: I was in a Latin class my freshman year where the teacher mentioned how gay Achilles was every single sentence. She could not bring up these two without mentioning that they were believed to be in a romantic relationship. That's honestly at least half the reason I picked this book up, so thanks, Magistra Vasquez, for being so extra. Can't wait to have you again next year for AP Latin. Can probably wai
may ➹
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to may ➹ by: dyl
5/9/20: yes it’s 5pm on a regular Saturday evening and I’m thinking about “I would know him in death, at the end of the world” and crying..... no one talk to me


3/16/20: this is one of those books that get better every time you reread it and by better I mean worse because you will cry over every little thing that happens


3/7/19: imagine being me and rereading this and having no care for my own emotions and wondering why I’m crying at 2 am

(I already want to reread it again)

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood, like a hundred golden urns pouring out the sun.”

I read The Song of Achilles many years ago, before I got into book reviewing, but it always bothered me that I didn’t have a proper review for this beautiful book. I was a little apprehensive about rereading it, because I wasn’t sure if it would hold up and impact me the way it did many years ago. But, friends, this s
Lily ☁️
“When I die, bury my ashes with this book.”—every person who finished reading The Song of Achilles, ever.

“IN THE DARKNESS, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

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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
Helena of Eretz ✰
Aug 01, 2018 marked it as not-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, adult
I'm sorry. But I have no interest in this anymore.

description description
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
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“ACHILLES, it reads. And beside it, PATROCLUS”

“IN THE DARKNESS, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun”

This book was just utterly heartbreaking and breathtakingly beautiful. I’m in love with every aspect of it.
The end, the end broke me💔! In the best and worst way possible.

BR with Khadidja (sorry, I just couldn't wait, had to finish this💗).
I will wait for you among the shades… ..
Just finished the last pages. As said to a good Goodreads friend here earlier today: Beautiful, brutal, raw, mythical, extraordinary and heartbreaking. How can I not give five stars?!
The fifth star did come in the last part of the book, which I loved. The final pages surprised me, emotional. This type of book is not immediately my genre, but after reading Circe, I find myself intrigued by Greek mythology and this writer knows how to tell great stories. Thi
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
yall remember tht part where it was like:

achilles: lol listen my mom can’t spy on us anymore 👅

patroclus: 👀

achilles: 👀
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. “No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.”

🌟 I have heard a lot of great things about Madeline and this book and I did not read it for the longest time. When she released her second book, I jumped immediately into it and I liked her writing but I was a bit bored and the plot could not capture my full attention then. I decided to give this book a ch
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, audiobook
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Heading their story and the trust they had in each other is something I’ll never forget. They were truly inevitable.

The plot itself is flawless, easily going from childhood to the end. The friendship was beautiful, and when more cams: that was better. The tragedy was heart wrenching, and the last chapter of the book was hard to read, but I’m so happy with the way it ended.

I like that Miller didn’t stick entirely to the story we’ve come to know about Achilles, the golden boy
Aug 23, 2012 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
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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

Articles featuring this book

While some tales are old as time, every so often a writer comes along with a fresh take that can make us see a familiar story in a completely diff...
274 likes · 59 comments
“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.” 2483 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…