My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Note: This review is longer than my usual ones!
Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles tells the story of Achilles and Patroclus – Patroclus, a prince who is part of an unfortunate accident, is exiled to the court of King Peleus and his son, Achilles the demi-god. The two become good friends, often spend time together playing games and learning to fight, despite the protests of Achilles’ mother, Thetis the sea-nymph. Very quickly, the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus blossoms into something much deeper and serious and when Helen of Sparta gets kidnapped, Achilles is forced to go to war and fight the battle of Troy. Patroclus goes with him, unable to leave his side and a battle for love, honor and pride begins.
I was fortunate enough to receive a physical copy of this book (mm, physical copies [sniffs]) because of my friend Amy – she read the book and completely raved about it, rated it five stars and was a blubbering mess on the floor for a few days. She decided that I needed this book in my life and purchased it for me, so thank you again Amy! I was very happy to be able to dive into this book, simply because I had been looking for a book with a M/M romance in it for a while. Needless to say, I found a new favourite M/M romance book.
This book was so incredible. I don’t often find books with a rating over 4.0, but The Song of Achilles was one of them. I quickly figured out why people love this book so much. For starters, the writing in this is absolutely amazing. Miller writes in such a pleasant, descriptive way that everything flows nicely. She mixes long sentences with shorter ones, and it just, I don’t know, it read so nicely. The story was very description heavy at times, which I personally love a lot because it helps me create an image of what is being told and it never became dull.
Both Achilles and Patroclus were strong main characters. I thought for sure this book was going to be focused mostly on Achilles, but it wasn’t. The book really presents you with these two young men when they first meet, you learn about their backgrounds and you learn what they’re like, what makes them tick, what makes them smile. It really did feel like a giant love story and not necessarily a book about Achilles’ achievements in life. At one point, it even felt like I was just reading about fictional characters – Achilles who? All I pictured was two young men so fond of each other that they refused to go through life without the other. It was amazing.
Which brings me to the romance between Achilles and Patroclus – can you handle my squeeing? Because Amy had already told me, I knew they were going to fall in love and it developed pretty quickly in the story as years went by. The story is told from Patroclus’ point of view and the way he looks at Achilles, like no one else does, was enough to bring little happy flutters of joy rush through me. They became incredibly close, even when the story at first did not hint at a romance at all – they were like best buddies, going everywhere together, taking care of each other. It was so lovely to read about. When the romance finally did kick in and we got the first few ‘sexy times’, if you will, I was not disappointed. Miller wrote about their sexual experiences in a classy, beautiful way. I never felt like I was reading erotica, but it was sexy and got me all hot and bothered all the same.
The side characters were all fine, though I was more attached to some than others. I especially like Briseis, who I connected to almost instantly and Odysseus intrigued me a lot. The rest were mostly sons and kings and princes and they all had incredibly long names that I couldn’t keep up with, but they added to the story and that was the only thing that really mattered to me.
The ending to this book was spectacular, I have no other words to describe it. It was intense, beautiful and just a perfect conclusion to the book. I cried for about ten minutes just because the ending was so well-written and beautiful and quite frankly, I love it when books make me cry. It’s undeniable proof that I, as a reader, went on a journey with these characters. I got invested and that is what you want from a book. You want new friends, you want new lovers, you want a new world – The Song of Achilles gave me all of that.
The only thing that bothered me while reading this book was that the writing sometimes jumped tenses. Sometimes something would be written in one and the next paragraph, it would jump to the other. It wasn’t very bothersome, but it was enough for me to notice it. About halfway through the story I had the book at a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. By the time I got to the end and I could barely read the text because of my teary eyes, I bumped it back up to 5 stars. The changing tenses was strange, but it did not happen mid situation, mid dialogue – it happened between certain scenes and I think that’s what made it less annoying.
5 out of 5 stars for The Song of Achilles – a legendary love story told so vividly and so intensely that it is practically impossible not to be swept off your feet.