Sunday, November 4, 2012

{REVIEW} SONG OF ACHILLES by MADELINE MILLER

The Song of AchillesSeries: Stand alone
Publisher: Ecco (Imprint of Harper Collins)
Publication Date: 3/6/12
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: Received from publisher for review.



Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful-- irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.



"I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me."


You may know how this epic mythological tale ends, but you've never read the story of Achilles and his beloved companion, Patroclus.

I really have no words for how much I loved this story, how much I believe that it deserved the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. I was approached by the publisher about a feature of the book on my blog, with an offer for a review copy. I initially turned that offer down, thinking I had no time to fit for this book. But then I took a closer look, and several friends, wanting to read it themselves, urged me to give this book a try. I'm upset to think that I almost let The Song of Achilles pass me by.

Author Madeline Miller's re-imagining of the story of Achilles is simply brilliant. It takes a special magic to entice readers into taking an adventure in which they already know the ending. With her beyond gorgeous narrative, and a focus on the beautiful, doomed love between Achilles and Patroclus, The Song of Achilles is a story to fall in love with.

To take Patroclus, a largely unremembered character from The Iliad, and build this story around him and his love for Achilles, was genius. Miller built a man who was stronger, braver, and more loyal than he could ever realize. His story was achingly tragic, and more thoughtful and beautiful than I can say.

Helen of Troy may have been the face to launch a thousand ships, but Patroclus was the force that gave Achilles the push to become a hero.


Favorite Quote:

  "I savored the miracle of being able to watch him openly, to enjoy the play of dappled light on his limbs, the curving of his back as he dove beneath the water. Later, we lay on the riverbank, learning the lines of each other's bodies anew. This, and this and this. We were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but each other."  (pg.103)

  "I conjure the boy I knew. Achilles, grinning as the figs blur in his hands. His green eyes laughing into mine. Catch, he says. Achilles, outlined against the sky, hanging from a branch over the river. The thick warmth of his sleepy breath against my ear. If you have to go, I will go with you. My fears forgotten in the golden harbor of his arms."   (pg.368)

You can purchase Song of Achilles at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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10 comments:

  1. Fantastic review, I really want to read this book now! (:

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  2. I can't wait to read this now that I know how awesome it is. Thanks for the review! So excited I won your giveaway a while back. :-)

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  3. This sounds really fantastic! I had not heard of it before, but I am a sucker for Mythology and can't get enough of it. Awesome review chick!

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  4. I didn't realise that I liked mythology in my novels until I read the Darkness Becomes her series but Kelly Keaton, and now I crave it. I think I would love this and by the sounds of it lots of people feel the same way as you. I hadn't heard of it before, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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  5. Oh wow, what a great review Andrea! I'm definitely going to look for this one. I have to admit my first reaction was as you described -- I already know the story, why would I want to read a re-hash? But it sounds like this author did a lovely job in her retelling. I'm even more enticed because it's a stand-alone and I have so little time to read series these days.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Wonderful review. I love Greek Mythology. I haven't heard of this book before, thanks so much for sharing it.

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  7. Looks interesting. I do like Greek Mythology. Maybe I'll try it.

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  8. It seems like I may have been offered this one awhile back (I might be remembering wrong though) and I turned it down just cause I was so overwhelmed with books. Your review makes me really want to read it now though! It sounds like something different for me and that's always good. I'm glad this was a winner, I will have to remember to pick it up in the future.

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