The Song of Achilles


Written by Madeline Miller

Published by Harper Collins, March 6, 2012

My star rating: 4 stars


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 into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. Find it on Goodreads

spoiler free graphic


I picked this one up (finally) upon the urging of my fellow book bloggers. This book has come up on so many favourites lists, and I was informed that I absolutely MUST read it! I didn’t know what to expect going in. But I knew that it was about ancient Greece, royalty, gods and war. I kind of assumed that this would be an action book all about war and anger. SO not the case! What ended up happening was a beautifully told book about boys becoming men, relationships, balance between conscience and obligation, and dealing with gods vs mortality.

Magical realism is a tricky thing for me. It either works or it doesn’t, and I can’t really explain why. There were more magical realism elements than I expected. We have Achilles who is born from a mortal man and a goddess. We also have a centaur who trains both Achilles and Patroclus. The way that it was written was SO flawless and beautiful! There was such a connection between the mortal world and the world of gods. The relationship between the two created this larger than life connection and how the gods can cause influence with men. It’s strange for me to say, but the magical/fantasy elements ended up being my favourite thing!

Her writing was absolutely flawless and stunning. The story she weaved and filled with atmosphere and emotion was breathtaking at times. It was so easy to read this and feel transported to the time and place, as well as into the hearts of these characters. This book covers such a large period of time, which can also be tricky. We follow Achilles and Patroclus from the time they are young boys through to their late 20’s. It was such a joy to watch them change and grow. Due to their close relationship, their character development was one in the same as they grew together. The author showed how people can sometimes grow together or apart, and how they can share and hide things depending on the situation. Always with the other one’s feelings in the back of their mind.

The biggest thing that I enjoyed was the balance in their lives. Both boys were born as princes. One is still held in high esteem while the other is in exile. They needed to learn when to push and pull in their friendship. The balance between their obligations with their name sake and what they felt in their hearts. The fine line between what their family wanted for them and what they wanted for themselves. And even in war, when they knew what they think should be done opposed to what the leaders felt needed to be done. It was all an intricate dance that propelled the story into something amazing!

The romance was wonderful and hits you right in the heart. It felt so sweet and caring while also being forbidden. It’s not a very descriptive romance. Just a slow burning and deeply emotional relationship. It was so wonderful!!

I did feel like something was missing though – yet I can’t for the life of me put my finger on it. Maybe it’s because I went into it thinking that it would be a war book and it ended up being more emotional? Maybe it had to do with the large span of time and the ever growing cast of characters? I don’t know. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, but something felt a little off.

In the end I enjoyed this book immensely! The writing hooked me almost from the beginning and I plan to pick up more from her in the future!!

Until next time, happy reading!

23 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m glad you liked it!! I started reading this one awhile back and got about 40% of the way through, but I moved on to other books and put it on hold. Maybe I’ll pick it back up again soon. Have you read Circe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I haven’t read Circe yet. But I have a feeling it may be my next purchase!
      I thought that the beginning of this book was a little slow. I hope you get the chance to pick it up soon

      Liked by 1 person

  2. malanielovesfiction says:

    yayyyyyy i’m so happy you read it and loved it omggggg!!!!!!!
    and your analysis is so perfect, just everything you said ❤
    the one thing off for me is the cover for some reason??? it's so petty but for some reason the book cover annoys the hell out of me xD and it's just an innocent normal cover but i hate it?????????
    i'm horrible.
    i need to start getting more hours of sleep c:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cover isn’t the greatest I have to admit! I think that’s the reason why I didn’t read it in the first place 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh dear, another one I’ve been planning on reading but not getting to it. Maybe soon! Glad to hear you liked it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! It was published in 2012 and I’m only getting to it now lol. Hopefully you enjoy it if you get to it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (I recently finished the Iliad so I’m in the correct historical period :P)
        I’m seeing quite a few reviews of her newer book “Circe”, but I guess that one will have to wait doubly long…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. From what I understand, the two books are not related. So you could read one before the other 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha, yes, I meant more I felt the pressure was on to read the first one… and the pressure would *have* to build yet before I embarked on the second 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Justine says:

    Loved your review and so happy you liked this! The one thing off for me was the strong feelings from a 10 year old, but it was okay later in the book as the boys grew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny you mention that. I kept going back and forth checking their ages!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Wonderful honest review Shanah!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this book years ago and when Circe came out I couldn’t help but to buy both books. I loved The Song of Achilles enough that I am always careful to temper my tone when recommending it to avoid overselling it. I had the benefit of reading it before all the hype and I loved it enough that I can be a little much when talking about it. . I am really glad you read it and enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never really planned to read it so I stayed away from the hype. I knew nothing going into it. And I was so glad for it! It was such a surprise! I need to pick up Circe right quick!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love when a book captures us like that don’t you?! I have Circe right here but it is 10 down on my TBR. Soon……

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love that you have a set TBR! I usually don’t know what I’m reading next until I finish my current book 😂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t be impressed for even a moment. These are just the ten books that I couldn’t squeeze onto my shelf. I had to have some plan!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Birdie says:

    I’m way to scared to read this book. I think I would love it, and yet I know it ends tragically so I don’t know if I want that grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol it does, but it was really beautiful actually!

      Liked by 1 person

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