The Song of Achilles: Book Review


DISCLAIMER: This book will probably ruin your life.

“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.”

     When I picked up The Song of Achilles, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d always been interested in Greek mythology, but I hadn’t read The Iliad beforehand. So, in short, I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to connect to the characters if I didn’t completely know their backstory. I was skeptical to say the least, but it had encouraging reviews on and a bunch of my friends said that it was amazing, so I decided to give it a shot. Because of this choice, my life has improved immensely to say the least.

     The story takes place in Ancient Greece and—the way Miller writes it, at least—the two main characters, Patroclus and Achilles, are so in love that it physically hurts. Patroclus is this cute, awkward lil’ thing that gets sent away to Achilles’ father after he gets in trouble. Achilles is gentle, humorous, deeply conflicted, and unable to truly connect with anyone on an emotional level. Until he meets Patroclus, it seems as if he is just going through the motions. 

     These two boys stick together through thick and thin, and always end up finding their way back to each other. There is so much character growth (for Patroclus especially) to be seen as the book progresses. This book begins in Patroclus’ childhood and captures a majority of his life. He’s such an open and honest character that it’s virtually impossible to not fall in love with him. Only through his point of view do we gain a different perspective of the Trojan War. 

     Miller incorporates other famous people from Greek mythology, and the way she implements them into the story is genius. Characters that we might have been introduced to in previous stories make an appearance to help shape the book. Patroclus’ point of view also shows us just how deep his love for Achilles runs. Their love surpasses jealous women, an evil mother, and even a war (goals). This isn’t just about a love story, it also deals with major internal conflict. Achilles must choose between the love he feels for Patroclus and his duty to his country. As the story progresses, his fight to stay true to himself and remain the man that Patroclus loves becomes harder and harder.

     Miller has a unique way of painting these characters that emotionally invests you and makes you want nothing but the best for them. It was so great to read a book that not only contained Greek mythology, but also discussed a love story that took place in such a restricted time period. I loved reading about these characters and experiencing everything they went through. Miller has a way of making you feel as if you are actually in the story instead of simply just reading it. It was such a heart-wrenching book, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. You should definitely give this book a try if you enjoy romance, war, and crying! Happy reading!