The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Book Summary

“At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist….A book I could not put down.”
—Ann Patchett

“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

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The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller) Book Reviews

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- Great book!5 star

A very hard book to put down once I started reading. In fact I’ve read it two times now.

- This book is great5 star

Ive seen a lot of negative reviews and it makes me sad that people say such rude things about this book. This is one of the most Beautiful things I’ve ever read and if you don’t agree, fine. But have YOU ever written anything as good as this? Don’t be too quick to judge. And if you don’t like it that doesn’t mean you can just comment it. The comments are to support the author and maybe a little feedback. Anyways This book is gre

- One of my favorite books ever5 star

Amazing story! I read this so fast and was so terribly sad when it was over! I fell in love with these characters!! I will be reading another one of her books next!

- The Love of Patroclus5 star

What a beautiful story! It could be called the Love of Patroclus, for he is the one who shines in this tale as the true hero. His dedication and undying love for Achilles, plus his humility and kindness in a world full of callous men, makes him the real star. I was so moved by this telling of the story. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a great read!

- wow.5 star

Genuinely astounded by how much I truly loved this book. Madeline Miller took a tragedy and somehow made it into so much more, truly a great writer. She still managed to weave in the typical aspects of a tragedy, the fatal flaw for example, but shift it in a way so that it was not the true focus of the book, only the afterthought. You really get that this book is first a foremost, a love story. A book that I could easily read over and over again. Most definitely worth the read!

- amazing5 star

such a beautiful book. filled with poetic descriptions and details. i recommend 110%

- Beautiful life journey of love and devotion5 star

I was recommended this book after having read “Call Me By Your Name” twice. This goes so much deeper than that... In developing the primary, and ultimately all other characters of note, the author fills one with an unmistakable sense of dedication, devotion, and true love that is so incredibly and plainly alive between Achilles and Patroclus. You know the book is good when you stay up at night, reading under the covers, because you can’t bare to feel and watch come alive the little sweet nothings that happen between them day in and day out. I’m so glad I found this book and will read it time and time again...

- Loved it ❤️5 star

A page turner.

- My favorite book5 star

Beautifully written, I don’t understand why people are complaining that its “slow” and gay, if you’re looking for action story about Achilles maybe don’t buy the one that states its a romance novel about two men in the description. Homophobes must not have brains.

- Great Book5 star

First things first, this book is INCREDIBLE. Despite what people are saying (and complaining) that their relationship is impossible, that’s not true. Unless you’re homophobic, this book is for you.

- Wow!!!5 star

Great retelling of Iliad. Side note for uneducated people: Greeks were hella gay. They had a tradition of homosexuality since most men could marry until later in life. Women were encouraged to cut their hair to ease the transition. There was a passage in the actual Iliad were one of them (I don’t remember if it was Achilles or Protrculus) described the others THIGHS!!! Plato even described their relationship in a similar light. Let’s not forget that they ‘mingled their ashes so they shall never be parted’. Wow, best friends!!! Total Bros!!!

- Holy Shiznit5 star

best book ever. if you’re on the fence about buying it, just go ahead and do it. you can thank me later

- Fabulous read5 star

This was a magnificent book. Couldn’t put it down. An enthralling writer. I will recommend to everyone.

- 5 Stars5 star

Read it twice, cried twice. A must read.

- God? Mortal? Both?5 star

”And we are all there: goddess and mortal and the boy who was both”. This is the story of Achilles: son of Thetis the sea nymph, and King Peleus, and lover of Patroclus. Achilles, the warrior, who fought his whole like for recognition as the best of Greece; the man who loved much and lost much, who saved many knowing his fate was attached to a fight with another. A man-god who wanted to simply be. Weren’t they his choices? Greek history says no. He was born and raised to fight. It was almost too easy, until it wasn’t. Madeline Miller’s ten years of painstaking research have brought the vulnerability of Achilles to the forefront in grand and glorious prose that reads like Homer and touches upon the man more than the god-man. IMHO- if The Song of Achilles is this good then her latest, Circe, has a big role to fill. Highly recommended. 5

- Marvelous5 star

Beautifully written, and a wonderful take on his story.

- Misunderstanding oh boy 11 star

I guess I should’ve read into this a little more before my purchase. I’m not at all interested in teenage boy love with a god. Really? Tried to delete this garbage from my bookshelf.

- Wonderful5 star

I have never read Greek mythology because it was too difficult to keep all the gods straight. This book is told in a tone and voice that seems to resonate with the tone of originals, but written so 21st Century mortals can follow easily. Her writing draws out mental pictures and emotions - a gift. Thank you, Ms. Miller!

- The Song of Achilles5 star

Great read!! Sad it is over.

- Fantastic Read!5 star

I’m a big fan of ancient historical fiction, sneaking in at least one a week while I’m sure I should be doing something more productive...this one was worth it! It is well-written, and I appreciated that the author used the context of Achilles' Song to introduce other heroes and pique my interest in their stories as well. I hardly want to dignify the comments of previous readers regarding the nature of the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles as the author described it in her interpretation, but will only to say that perhaps they have an opportunity to improve their understanding of human nature and this historical period in particular with further research. That being said, regardless of the preferences of Achilles and/Patroclus, there is nothing I could consider remotely explicit in the writing, and I enjoyed it very much.

- Best Read of The Year5 star

Penelope Miller does a great job taking you to Ancient Greece. Fast paced, well researched, and fun.

- Wonderful5 star

A lyrical and beautiful love song to a hero, about whom most of us know too little. Told by another hero who has never enjoyed the recognition he deserves. It carries us along and is full of wonderful details. Who knew?

- Really Guys5 star

For the people who have been commenting that Achilles and Patroclus are cousins, you are wrong. The only time that it is mentioned anywhere that they are cousins is in the movie Troy. Now for the homophobic commenters, it was actually common for men and women to be in same-sex relationships in Greece. Achilles' and Patroclus’ relationship has been up for debate for centuries, and we may never know the truth about it. So, why don’t we as readers acknowledge the fact that everyone has an opinion or belief upon this matter and the author’s is that they were lovers. I honestly dont understand why people are being so critical of this book because it is so well and beautifully written that almost everyone can enjoy it. Madeline Miller’s writing is amazing and I applaud for this book and especially the ending.

- I cried but it was the book I didn't know I needed4 star


- Wonderful despite the flaws5 star

Fell in love with the characters. Just wished that Thetis wasn't so cold and Patroclus was portrayed as a great fighter in the beginning like the Iliad. And I hate Apollo so much right now

- Impressed!5 star

I'm writing this review because as I was reading through them I kept seeing people saying things like "this was soft core gay porn" and calling it "gross." I just wanted to say I never once got that vibe. I thought the author described Achilles and Patroclus' relationship beautifully. She had a perfect balance of sexual desire and emotional connection between the two. If anything it could have been sexier! Lol. She does an amazing job showing how the characters grow and develop through out the story. I literally had trouble putting the book down. Madeline Miller has been added to my list of favorite authors! Truly a great, great read!

- highly recommend4 star

Every time I read this book is like stepping out to get hit by a wrecking ball of emotion... but I do it anyway. It's a very interesting interpretation of the Iliad that I thoroughly enjoy. It is a little slow at the beginning, but as it gains momentum, it really becomes a story true to the Greek tragedies. As a member of the lgbtq+ community, I always love seeing queer characters/relationships in media, but if that's not your thing, just move on. It's your loss. (If you're here solely to argue on Achilles' sexuality, stop. That's just exhausting. Nobody really knows and I doubt any old ancient Greeks are going to rise from the dead and tell us, so please leave) Anyway, overall I think it's a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.

- Song of Achilles5 star

Fabulous - so engrossing that I finished it in one night! Just couldn't put it down.

- An amazing book!5 star

I was reluctant to read this book at first because although the overall rating for this book is very high, some of the reader reviews were staunchly against the book. I took a chance, purchased & read the book. So very glad I did. Incredible writing skills by the author, I really enjoyed her style. And what an interesting interpretation of this ancient story. After reading the book, I thought how could anyone rate this book anything less than excellent? Then I went back and reread what those negative readers had to say again. Oh, I get it now; they are intolerant and would conform the world into the exact way that they are, no room for anyone who deviates from their "norm". For potential readers who are on the fence about reading this book as I was, do yourself a favor, this book will take you on an amazing journey you won't soon forget! There is nothing sexually explicit in this book, the references to intimacy are very tastefully handled.

- @ other people commenting5 star

All the comments denying Pat and Achilles’ relationship are so amusing. Although this is based on the Iliad, this is Miller’s interpertation of it. Your comments don’t do anything except make you seem homophobic.

- Misleading1 star

The writing was good and it was interesting but it was very misleading. The pace is terribly slow and then 100 pages in the book suddenly becomes a gay love story. Homosexual romance is not something I'm interested in and I would have liked to know that that was the angle this author was coming from before spending my money on this. The fact that they're children makes it awkward. Like soft porn. I didn't finish the book and I don't plan on reading works by this author again. Not unless there's an accurate description of her books in the future.

- Beautiful and compelling5 star

Hopefully for anyone reading this, the following won't come as a shock, but just in case I'll try not to spoil too far--I cried at the death that all readers of the classics were expecting, let's say. This book was fantastically written and excellently plotted. It was rich and romantic and does great service to the epic from which it's derived. As a classics major, I especially enjoyed the depth of Miller's immersion in the story. To those who would criticize Achilles' and Patroclus' relationship, try reading some more classics. Also, it's called "interpretation."

- Brokeback Mountain meets the Iliad5 star

Really an amazing retelling of the Iliad from the point of view Patroclus, Achilles' "companion". Reminiscent of "Wicked" in it's clever twist on a classic story. Beautifully written and hard to put down. For those reviewers complaining that it is "soft gay porn" or that Achilles "wasn't gay" I would suggest you brush up on your Greek mythology and/or read more soft gay porn, because neither is accurate. There are maybe 3 short scenes in the entire book that reference sex between Patroclus and Achilles and none are especially graphic,let alone pornographic. Also, whether or not Achilles and Patroclus were romantically involved has been argued since Plato so it's not like the author made this up to sensationalize the book. If the idea of a love story between 2 men is so off-putting that you can't enjoy an amazing book I pity you.

- Hi4 star

Guys in case you're wondering they aren't cousins. In the movie they are but in the book Patroclos is his companion it even says it in The Iliad and often times in ancient writing they make homosexual remarks on the main character...anyway this book is awesome

- Loved it sooo much5 star

I really only picked this book by chance for a reading group for school. How we made such a great choice I have no idea. It really pulls at your heart strings and three people out of the four in my group have finished it, two weeks ahead of schedule. LOVED IT

- A beautiful story5 star

I loved this book. The author portrayed a beautiful relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. The book had plenty of funny/tragic/crazy shenanigans by the Greek gods and provided a sensitive, multifaceted witness to the tragedies of war.

- Once it settled in, it became quite rich4 star

The early chapters read too much like schoolboy-romance for me, but once the boys went off to war, the writing became rich and the reading was rewarding. The author's knowledge of mythology is wonderful, and it was a treat to revisit these characters, after not having read them since college. Loved the ending. Lovely.

- Fantastic5 star

I was surprised to see myself enjoy the books so well, once I began reading it was hard to stop, she writes in an easy to understand tone. This book was a pleasure to read and I hope people choose simply to judge this book on its literary merits, and not their personal feelings towards homosexual relationships.

- The Soul of the Iliad5 star

Some reviewers complain that "The Song of Achilles" does not focus on what's important-- The Trojan War. I would argue, however, that there is a plethora, perhaps even an overabundance, of stories detailing battles and deaths and other acts of war. What this book offers is something completely different but no less vital; it humanizes the ancient faces of our history and gives them lives and spirits richly imagined and deeply realized. When we want to know of Achilles' triumphs on the battlefield we need look no farther than Homer. When we want to peer into his soul, to better understand that which makes him human and that which makes him godly, we should turn to works like Miller's. It expands and deepens our appreciation of those tales we have so long known from the voices of history. Coming away from 'The Song of Achilles', I feel as though the next time I read the Iliad, I may be moved to tears.

- Beautiful, tragic5 star

This book made my cry like nothing else. Romantic, historical, epic, and with a visceral writing style that would make turning it into a movie pointless (although it would undoubtedly make a beautiful film).

- Good love story4 star

It reminded of Mary Renaults novels, thou I enjoyed her works more. That Achilles and Patroclus were cousins was a movie adaptation in the 2004 film. The exact nature of their relationship has been a topic of discussion from Homer to Plato and on. Historicity aside and though slow at times, I enjoyed the book.

- Song of Achilles1 star

Stick to the facts or change the Title. Could not get past the 2nd chapter.

- Response to m9251342 star

I am only writing this to respond to m925134s comment. The question of whether or not Achilles and Patroclus were in a sexual relationship has been debated by many scholars for ages now. Needless to say, there are significant pointers to their homosexual relationship. In the Iliad, Achilles is described as staying up at night and longing for his (Patroclus')'manhood'. Also, in Plato's Symposium, where the issue of eros (sexual love) is discussed, Aristodemus uses Achilles and Patroclus' relationship as an example of erotic love, stating that Achilles dared to risk his death to aid his 'lover'. Whether or not they were in a homosexual relationship is non conclusive. You should however, be slow to dismissing her ideas, as there is a high possibility that there was some eros between them. Keep in mind that in Ancient Greece, homosexuality was widely practiced and the fact that they were cousins does not nullify the possibility of a sexual relationship, as we see in Homer's Odyssey that Alkinoos married his niece, Arete. The conventions of sexual relationships today are definitely VERY DIFFERENT from those of that time.

- Shame on the homophobes posting reviews here5 star

Unfortunately some of the reviewers here are more interested in expressing their bigotry than expressing a literary opinion. Maybe they are just insecure fundie trolls being paid by Focus on the Family to write mean spirited anti gay bs...

- Song of Achilles1 star

I read the book sample and hoped it would get better after purchasing the full book. No such luck! The pace was slow and I ended up skimming several pages. I would rather have my money back.

- The Song of Achilles1 star

What a disappointment!!! I'm not a homophobe but I found this to read like gay porn. It was just gross. Unreadable.

- No social commentary, please1 star

Achilles was not gay!!!! Patroclus was his cousin. Why on Earth would you take such a wonderful character and turn the book into soft core gay porn? To show how "with the times" and progressive you are? Such a disappointment!

- Not what I expected.2 star

Miller's style too slow at times. Also for an epic story, she focuses too much on the sensual aspect of the story. Not the right tone for me, too bad.

- Song of Achilles5 star

Enjoyed it. Recommend it for fans of Homer's The Odyssey and The Iliad.

- The Song of Achilles5 star

This book is wonderful. I couldn't put it down. The author gave live to Achilles and Patroclus. She told the story in such a way, it felt as tho I was there watching. I hope there are many more books from this very talented author.

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- Fantastic and heartbreaking5 star

A must read - one of my absolute favourites.

- Wow!5 star

This book is a must read. Kept me wanting more. Well done.

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- The Song of Achilles5 star

SoA is a compelling and great story set in Homer's Greece. Madeline Miller builds memorable characters out of Greek and Trojan heroes. An epic for the ages, rivaling the Illiad in its beauty and skill, I hope Madeline Miller will continue to write.

- What a lovely surprise!5 star

This almost makes me want to re-read the Iliad! This was a great twist on a classic story. While it isn't my usual genre I decided to take a chance and I most certainly was not let down. I couldn't put it down. I hope there are more novels to follow.

- Amazing read5 star

Having read a majority of Greek classics Including The Iliad , The Odyssey , Thucydides, and Aeneid to name a few and being a huge fan of the character Achilles, I was skeptical at first of this modern re telling of a classic myth. A few chapters in and you find yourself learning who Achilles truly was through the eyes of someone that he loved. You must be accepting of ancient Greek culture and their ways to get past some of miss miller's detailed encounters between Patroclus and Achilles. A beautifully written story, to call it a love story would be like taking its glory away. This is definitely a modern epic.

- Amazing, engaging, warm, compelling5 star

I've never taken the time to review a book on iTunes before but this is a must-read. It's breathtakingly beautiful and emotionally compelling as well as being an engaging story. Wow. Wish I could read it for the first time again.

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THE SONG OF ACHILLES ~ Madeline Miller “𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒔 𝒊𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒈𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒈𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒇, 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒍𝒍, 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒇𝒕 𝒐𝒏 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏…

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@bazblooms the song of achilles

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@PaleGlimmer: Just finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and I loved it. Beautiful love story framed in mythical ancient Gre…

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just saw a mdzs tumblr post w the song of achilles quotes and i have NEVER scrolled past something so fast i dont THINK so, demons

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@Nikru17: I just heard that The song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is gonna have a Vietnamese version, words cannot express how happy I…

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NUEVA ENTRADA Reseña The song of Achilles #book #libro #reseña #bookreview #novedadesliterarias #books2020…

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@wildescent the song of achilles hits differently 😭

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@yukacyllene yes, of course! The Song of Achilles 😭😭💔💔

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@twanderingheart Sorry for butting in, I was gonna comment on lotus, lotum, loti, loto, loto (A Level Latin!) but 👀 The Song of Achilles???

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@buckysea @DMAKron The Song of Achilles needs to be a film.

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someone yell at me to finish the song of achilles

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Genuinely one of the happiest moments at work was when someone came in to return a duplicate copy of Circe, with no…

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ma piú di tutti, l'edizione figa in hardback di The Song of Achilles, quella sarà sempre il mio rimpianto n°1

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@garethrussell1: I finished reading “The Song of Achilles”, perched on a balcony, with this sunset. It was a moment of other-worldly lov…

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‘and perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone’ — The Song Of Achilles

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