The Song Of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline MillerThe Song Of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline Miller

The Song Of Achilles: A Novel

byMadeline Miller

Paperback | August 28, 2012

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“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.

Madeline Miller grew up in Philadelphia, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Latin and Ancient Greek from Brown University, and has been teaching both languages for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales for a modern audience. She lives in Cambridge, Massachuse...
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Title:The Song Of Achilles: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.94 inPublished:August 28, 2012Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062060627

ISBN - 13:9780062060624

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Breathtaking The Song of Achilles is utterly heartbreaking but so rich and beautiful, that I would highly recommend it to everyone.
Date published: 2017-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely amazing I have read this book a hundred times and will read it a million more. I can't get enough!
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not sure... I so badly wanted to like this book, but I just found it to be written too much like a fan fiction. The romantic aspects were too fluff, especially when you consider the fact that they were around 13-14 years of age. I will mention that the descriptions and settings were beautifully written, but I just couldn't get into it.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it The Song of Achilles is utterly heartbreaking but so rich and beautiful, that I would highly recommend it to everyone.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LGBTQ+ representation at its best This novel is narrated by Patrocles, the paramour of the legendary hero Achilles. Miller's description of their romance is refreshingly simple and tender; while the cannon forces the author to enact the Bury Your Gays trope, she nevertheless manages to give the tragic heroes a bittersweet ending. TSOA is a fantastic read, whether you are new to Greek mythology, or have intensely studied the Iliad and Helenistic cannon.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE This is one of my favourite books. Beautifully written and mythological
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Really enjoyed it, love the story. I will reread it again in the future. It's awesome.
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book love Greek mythology and the story of Achilles...and this one was great with a little twist. Kind of slower to start but it is a beautiful story and I loved the ending! would definitely recommend!
Date published: 2017-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing story I love Greek Mythology and this book did not disappoint!
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Absolutely loved it. I'm a big fan of books based around mythology, especially greek mythology. Would defiantly recommend, even if it made me ugly cry.
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome From A Classical Perspective I study Classical History and this book was on the lips of many of my classmates. This semester my class intently studied the Iliad so it seemed like a great time to read it. I was blown away. I couldn't put it down and envied the lovely relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. It made my heart hurt and fed my need for adventure. I made my boyfriend read it as well and recommend it to anyone that asks. Definitely the best work I've read this year.
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3.75/5 stars I haven’t read the entire Iliad. I did take a mythology course last year where we spent quite a bit of time reading most of it and discussing it in class. One thing that hasn’t change from reading the Iliad and now having read TSOA, is that I still hate Achilles. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. The Iliad isn’t my favourite epic because Achilles just made me so angry…which, ironically, the first word of the Iliad in Greek is “Anger”, so I guess it served its purpose. His pride (hubris) made him cruel, self-centred, and unrelatable. I had hopes that The Song of Achilles would change my view on Achilles, but unfortunately it made me hate him even more. The Iliad never really focused on Achilles childhood and his relationship with Patroclus. What I liked about TSOA was that it did explore that. I learned a lot about Achilles and Patroclus that I didn’t know before. And I slowly fell in love with both characters. But then the events of Troy came to pass and it felt like being stabbed in the stomach by Hector’s spear. We see how pure and good-hearted Achilles is for the majority of the book, and then everything is twisted in on itself as soon as he is denied his “honour”. One thing I liked about the Iliad was that since it didn’t focus on Achilles’ childhood, there was no reason to like him or feel betrayed by his character. The Iliad never felt personal while I was reading it. I didn’t feel for the characters a whole lot, except for Hector and Patroclus. What Madeline Miller did well was use this opportunity to explore the past, and in that way, she made us feel for these characters. When Achilles betrayed the Greeks because of his pride, I, as the reader, felt betrayed. And that, in itself, is kind of a good thing. What I can’t get over though is Patroclus’ love for Achilles. It was understandable up to the main turning point. But then Achilles decides to step down and not fight and Patroclus is left to watch his friends and companions die. He feels betrayed, and hurt, and angry. And he has a right to be! Even after constant entreaties by the other Greek kings, Achilles doesn’t budge. What I can’t understand is how Patroclus could still love someone who did what Achilles did. It doesn’t make sense. I get that Achilles is a hero, and that he is partly divine and believes he deserves a certain kind of respect and honour. And I understand that the culture at this time focused heavily on honour and winning spoils from battle. But one can be a hero and not be so prideful. Peleus is a good example, as Patroclus notices himself that despite all his success and riches, Peleus remains humble. This quote by Briseis to Achilles really stuck out to me and I feel its relatable in this instance: “You have never deserved him. I do not know why he ever love you. You care only for yourself.” Maybe I’m being harsh, but I feel like Briseis has a point. And unfortunately, it’s too late for Achilles to make up for his mistakes. I know what I’m saying is just opinion. Madeline Miller stayed true to the plot of the Iliad, but it still bothers me. I could never forgive Achilles for what he did. Because of his pride, hundreds of soldiers were killed. Because of his pride, Patroclus died. His pride didn’t make him more respected, but hated. And that’s what annoys me. To me, he isn’t a character to be looked up to, but a character who should act as a warning to everyone; of what can happen if you think only of yourself. I guess all good stories have morals we can learn from. One slightly controversial (maybe) opinion I have is that I was hoping beyond hope that Patroclus would end up with Briseis. I knew it wasn’t going to happen, cause it doesn’t happen in the epic, but the minute Briseis was introduced, I fell in love. Her character isn’t talked about much in the Iliad, besides being the girl that was taken from Achilles. That’s another thing I loved about TSOA. Madeline Miller fleshed out some of the characters that didn’t play a huge role in the Iliad. Briseis has to be one of my favourite characters! She’s so pure and good and I think she and Patroclus could have been very happy together. This quote by her almost broke my heart: “Best of men. Best of the Myrmidons. It is the truth. Let it stand, for once.” Most of my complaints have nothing to do with Madeline Miller. You can tell how much time and effort she put into making TSOA as accurate as possible. Her writing is beautiful and simplistic, which made this book a relatively quick and easy read. I absolutely loved how she really expanded on the characters that weren’t mentioned a whole lot in the epic, and overall I think she’s a brilliant writer. Now to answer the question…do I prefer the Iliad or The Song of Achilles? I think I’ll have to go with TSOA. Mostly because it made me feel something for the characters, which the Iliad lacked. I loved the backstory and learning about Achilles’ and Patroclus’ childhood. Briseis was just amazing! Odysseus and Diomedes relationship made me LOL so many times! Even though I hated Achilles more than I did in the Iliad, it was also a feeling that I think was very authentic to what Patroclus felt. And I think because of that, TSOA is a very well-written book.
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful I bought this novel based on my interest in mythology, but I was blown away by the beautiful writing, stellar plot, and well written characters. Miller tells an emotional, well written story, and I definitely recommend buying.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Fave! I'm a big Greek Mythology buff, so of course as I heard about it; I wanted to immediately read it. To say this book is simply good is a big understatement. You can clearly see that Miller used her blood and tears to write this novel; the very fact she spent 10 years researching to make sure she can properly retell the Iliad in an respectful and accurate manner is just mind blowing. Even if you don't hold a lot of knowledge about the mythos, specifically the Trojan War, don't be scared. Miller was kind enough to include a character glossary in the back of the book and she does explain quite a bit about any background information to help the audience understand the story better. Now that I am done gushing over The Song of Achilles; the big question, is this for everyone? Nope. Why you ask? Let's just say there's a reason why this is under the lgbtq+ category.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Beautifully written. I really enjoyed reading this.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly good! Well I have to be honest that I discovered this book only because it was on sale on Chapters lol. Since I always enjoy Greek myth and history, I guess it won't hurt to give a try. I'm quite skeptical at the beginning, but just after reading the first few chapters, I was surprised that how much I love it and proud to have bought the last hardcover copy in the Montreal downtown Chapters store (RIP, I still couldn't get over how that store got replaced by Victoria's Secrets). The lines are so beautifully written. It feels like that this version of the story between Achilles and Patroclus had finally filled the blank of their life and relationship in which I've been trying to picture in other books. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves Greek myth, or simply, enjoys reading a good book :)
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! I really enjoyed the romance in this.
Date published: 2017-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Although I knew what was happen, I still cried, a lot. It is easily one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good! It is written so beautifully. It made me cry even though I was already familiar with the myth!!
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and heartbreaking Possibly my favourite standalone book ever. Her writing style is captures the original poem perfectly. Oh and I cried. A lot.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Broke my Heart A refreshing view of the Trojan war and life of Achilles from the person closest to him, this story was absolutely heartbreaking.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from True Love Story Just a simple read, but one you can't put away, and one you'll be thinking of for long afterwards. Like I, you may return to it a few times to re-live through an ill-fated mythical love story. One of my favourite reads!
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My copy is tear stained I read it the first time 2 years ago and cried like a damn baby. Our main characters have such a pure and wholesome devotion to each other, it's heartbreaking. They were really fleshed out throughout the plot and gives so much more substance to the story. The setting is idealistic and almost mythical and has a wonderful timeless quality. Combined with the prose of the writing, the reading experience is really quite the treat. Briseis stood out to me, I was very happy with the direction Madeline Miller took with her character. I recommend buying a pack of tissues along with this book because you will need more than what you already have at home. Also very impressed that Madeline Miller went to Ivy League schools and one way she utilized her degree was to essentially write fan fiction (of course I can't complain)
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved their journey This was such an achingly beautiful story. I wish I could read it again for the first time.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Good!!!! I've read this book so many times and I love it, even more, every time I read it!
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cried my heart out I've always liked Greek mythology- Iliad was tackled on my high school too so I was familiar with the story. but god, this novel tore my apart. I couldn't put it down. So many of my friends recommended this to me, but I don't know why it took forever for me to read this. Love this. Love this so much.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ripped me to pieces! Most wonderful story! After a week of processing The Song of Achilles I’m sitting here trying to formulate words to make you understand my love for this book but I’m afraid no words will ever be enough. This novel was so wonderful that it shot into my favourite’s shelf as soon as I read the first page. As a fan of Greek Mythology I knew the story of Achilles and was a bit skeptical about reading a re-telling about a story so widely known however, even knowing everything I knew this version was so wonderful and the tears were real. Madeline’s writing has a certain quality to it that the words just flow through your mind like silk. Going into this one remember that the POV is not through Achilles but instead the awkward, kind, shy Patroculus. You fall in love with this character so deeply that knowing what happens makes you believe you may be ready for the ending, but trust me, you won’t be ready for anything this story throws at you. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly for character as I felt for Patroclus. I love being able to say with complete confidence that this book is a 5! The only negative comment I have is that IT ENDED. I cannot wait for the next book this author writes for us because I know it’ll be wonderful.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breathtakingly Beautiful! This book is beautiful and tragic and every wonderful thing in between! A must read!
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly, a must-read The author has a beautiful way to write, very poetic. It had me completely hooked only a few paragraphs in. The descriptions of the sceneries, the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, and the unfolding of the story were absolutely--stunning. I often felt breathless when reading the book, impressed by the beauty of each and every single element of it. The ending is no spoiler, but I couldn't help but bawl my eyes out when I reached it. I truly, truly loved this book, and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to read a fresh, new take on the story of Patroclus and his philtatos... Achilles.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from just lovely This book is a must read for any lover of greek mythology and romance.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ONE OF MY FAVOURITES ACHILLES>..... PATROCLUS.... OMGGGG. In the tradition of Mary Renault, Madeline Miller breathe new life into a tale that already endures.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful The Song of Achilles is beautifully written with a beautiful story. Loved it!
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEAUTIFUL the writing style is just so utterly BEAUTIFUL. LIKE IT'S JUST <3 AND THE STORY & THE END JUST KILLS ME EVERY TIME <3
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! An amazing retelling of a classic tale. It was so beautifully written, engaging from beginning to end, I couldn't put it down!!
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Just amazing. Really great work.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The characters grow so much in this book, as you see them through their childhood into adulthood. Everything about this was fantastic. Eternal ship (Achilles & Patroclus ). <3 I need to read the Iliad now.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Passionate, My Favourite Book Honestly, I could read this novel over and over again! Miller brings the characters to life vividly, in turn making hearts soar and plummet over the course of the protagonists' trials and moments of peace and tranquility. I've recommended this to at least five friends, and every one of them said the same thing. You can never be the same after reading this book, it's phenomenal
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lyrical and poignant story I cannot even express how much I LOVE this book! Telling all the familiar mythology through the eyes of Patroclus, with the caveat that Patroclus and Achilles were genuinely in love, Madeline Miller has written a masterpiece. I laughed, I cried, and I devoured this book. If you like historical fiction, classical mythology, or love stories, you MUST read this.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book is one of my favourite pieces of historical fiction. The storyline and the characters envelop you 100% and even though you knew about achilles and patroclus before, now you care about it and see it new light. Far from dry, historical myth, this is a beautiful story. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AHH Oh my god, I love this book so much, I already knew the original story of Patroclus and Achilles, but hearing the story from Patroclus' point of view is WOW. I cried. So much. The narration is well written, and right from the start it hooked me in, and I could not put this book down. It made me want to just know more about the characters, it's so engaging. Brilliant!!!
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written, Wonderfully Executed This was a beautiful novel. I'm glad my friend lent me her copy because even after she had recommended it to me a while back I still hadn't managed to get myself a copy (I had intended to right after I finished it, too, if not for her generosity in gifting it to me afterwards). The narration and writing style was perfect from the very beginning. I was hooked from page one and I loved every second I read. There was no scene that was boring and though I may have skimmed through fight scenes I still did my best to pay attention to the writing. The author's descriptions were great, too; it was precise enough that I knew the image the author wanted to present yet vague enough that I could use my own imagination to fill things in (like descriptions of Thetis). The friendship and romance between Achilles and Patroclus was so well done. The characters were made individuals first, shown how their identities were before their relationship began, and then they blossomed and changed from simple children to the men they became in tales. The sexuality was done simply but effectively and the sex scenes were just the right amount of intriguing without being vulgar (in fact, my favourite scene might be the "tell me again" scene). I cared for their relationship and was bothered by Achilles' experience with a woman and annoyed with Patroclus' own first-hand narration of sex with a woman (although I think it was more uncharacteristic of him in general; I don't believe that scene did much besides show how compassionate he was but it didn't feel necessary to me). I cried at the end. The way the novel fell into place so perfectly, and how all the characters met with fates so befitting to them, was just beautiful. Foreshadowing and the narration in general (like how Hector had never done anything to Achilles) was so well done that even though I knew what was going to happen the story compelled me to hope for a different ending. More so, I was almost hurt by what I thought was going to be a tragic end for Patroclus but the way Thetis gave in and saved his soul was so perfect that I cried even more at the finality of all the threads. I wish I knew more about Greek mythology to appreciate the novel better but it wasn't necessary in order to fall in love with the writing and the plot. I wasn't sure whether a five star rating was too high for this book, but from the way I was captivated and how I cried at the end I felt like it deserves a place with my other five star books because it is definitely reread worthy and more so just a good book in general.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Even if you don't generally gravitate towards history, you should still read this book! A beautifully written tale of Achilles told through the perspective of his lover. Very well written, with imagery that sparks the imagination!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't question, just read it A retold story of Homer's Iliad, so beautifully written, one of the most wonderful books I haven't read in recent years.
Date published: 2016-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GO READ IT One of the most beautifully written novels I have ever read. The imagery and language used is astounding, and the unique but still accurate depictions of Illiad characters are two of the reasons that I had to hide my ugly sobbing in public while reading it. You fall so in love with the characters and the world that its hard to let go of it once its finished!
Date published: 2016-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS If you're thinking about buying this, DO IT!!! Definitely one of the best books I have ever read. The plot was fast paced but not difficult to understand, and the romance aspect of it was perfect! I read it in one sitting :)
Date published: 2016-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LIT i love this book with all my heart i will be buried with it
Date published: 2016-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great summer reading Even though I knew what was coming, I was still surprised at how the author weaved this story. Very entertaining read.
Date published: 2015-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This and this and this I loved this book so openly and publicly that three of my friends immediately started reading it and texted me their experience. It's so wonderfully done and hurt-y and lovely and perfect.
Date published: 2015-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Song Of Achilles I found this to be my favorite version of the story of Achilles... let the reader be warned it does have some homosexuality in it but nothing prolific.... Its a very enchanting story with lots of sentiment felt that only a good story of Greek Gods and mortals can tell... I highly recommend it...
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Song Of Achilles This was an astounding story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from the first page to the last. This book was interesting, refreshing, absorbing and surprising. quite a few tears too.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well written Pretty good for the authors first book ever written.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well written In all the books I have read, (which is a lot ) I have never found a book as captivating as this . The action packed ,fast pasted style of writing really leaves you wanting to read and read . The delicate love story of a Greek Demi god and his unlikely companion touches the heart and you do fall in love with the characters..... Splendid book with a tragic yet heroic ending which I found tear worthy .... A MUST READ
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Song of Achilles This book is a masterpiece. Miller draws us into the story, the relationships and their outcomes, exactly as the title says, like a song. The pacing reminds me of Duras' "Moderato Cantabile". So many writers have been fascinated by the fall of Troy from the Trojan perspective, but this looks at the long, drawn out destruction from the Greek side. The way Miler paints the love between Achilles and Patrocles binds us into their emotions. The skilful weaving of the human and the divine, richly enhances the narrative, as does the insight into the very human psychology of both gods and people.
Date published: 2014-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Song of Achilles A great retelling of an ancient classic
Date published: 2013-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to follow, makes you feel like you were there I thought this book was very creative in weaving mythology, heroes and gods all into one flowing story. I noticed that I held my breath when reading about what Thetis said, or what Apollo did. Very well written! Interesting story that is easy to read and just "go with its flow"
Date published: 2013-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Song of Achilles A different take at an old tale!
Date published: 2013-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love comes in many different ways. An amazing story of love. It was a great read! Not what I expected at all. Truly a great surprise. The author has a great gift for settings and describing them.
Date published: 2013-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I have read This is one of the best books I have read. Ever. The plot was fascinating and the writing was mesmerizing. It tells the story of the famed Achilles from the point of view of Patroclus, Achilles' closest companion, who is usually mentioned in passing. This book made me feel and it made me think. I cannot recommend it enough.
Date published: 2013-04-29

Editorial Reviews

“Extraordinary… Beautifully descriptive and heartachingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find.”