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The Song of Achilles

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

28 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

This was a wonderful book.. It was impossible to put down. Homer

This was a wonderful book.. It was impossible to put down.
Homer's epic is vividly retold, full of drama, gods and men, triumph and in the
end pity and tragedy.
For anyone interested in the Classics this is essential reading.
It is one of the finest novels I have ev...
This was a wonderful book.. It was impossible to put down.
Homer's epic is vividly retold, full of drama, gods and men, triumph and in the
end pity and tragedy.
For anyone interested in the Classics this is essential reading.
It is one of the finest novels I have ever read.

posted by dearreaderCT on March 14, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

Average

Although I enjoy Greek mythology I was surprised by the homosexual content and would have been better without some of those details. I would not recommend this for children under the age of 16.

posted by pixiedoodle on June 23, 2012

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    Miller’s ‘The Song of Achilles’: A review Huma

    Miller’s ‘The Song of Achilles’: A review
    Human Emotions
    ‘The song of Achilles’ is the story of the mythical Greek hero by Margaret Miller. Based on the ancient classic Iliad by Homer, the author has brought to life the myth of Achilles. It is written from the point of view of Patroclus , a minor figure in the epic, and has a very humanistic approach to the story. It explores the relationship between the two men with the background of popular myth. It tells a dramatic tale of emotions from love, sacrifice, jealousy, hatred and anger which are easy for anyone to identify with.
    The author depicts the two men as very different people who are drawn to each other. As the narrator, Patroclus describes himself as an awkward lonely young man who is not remarkable in any way. He is not loved by his parents. His father rejects him emotionally for his physical drawbacks and his mother is shown to be mentally unstable. Patroclus grows up unloved and unwanted. When he is nine he accidently kills another boy and is banished from his home to the court of Peleus, King of Phthia. Here he meets Achilles the golden boy. Achilles is everything Patroclus is not. Son of a human and a god he is perfect in every way. Called ‘The best of Greeks’ he is described as a perfect warrior and is destined to be a hero.
    Achilles singles out Patroclus and despite the differences they develop a strong friendship. Achilles is shown to be very protective of his friend who in turn worships him. As time goes on this friendship becomes stronger and they fall in love. Achilles mother, Thetis who is a goddess of the sea does not approve of this and tries to separate them. Against all odds the two remain committed to each other and overcome all the obstacles. Their love is strong, pure and withstands the tests of time.
    Meanwhile Helen the queen of Sparta is kidnapped by Trojan prince Paris setting into motion the famous Trojan war. This war is tied to Achilles’s destiny to become a hero. Reluctant at first he finally gives support to Menelus, Helen’s husband, and Agememnon . Patroclus follows him to the battlefield. Not having the disposition of a soldier he uses his knowledge of healing and medicine to tend to the wounded. As the war wears on Achilles becomes disillusioned and refuses to fight. Patroclus is worried as this may reflect badly on Achilles and might tarnish his legacy. Pretending to be Achilles he wears his armor he goes into the battlefield. He gives the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for his love. On hearing this news Achilles flies into a rage and kills Hector fulfilling his destiny. In the end the ashes of the two are intermingled giving them an eternity of togetherness.
    This story is ultimately of unconditional love and sacrifice. It is simply told but affects the reader in a very deep way. With its mythical background it shows that human emotions have not changed since time immemorial and that love is a very powerful force. It can change destinies.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    WTF

    Great book, then he goes gay. XD it really caught me off gaurd.

    2 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Great for history buffs

    Great book,loved the way the characters developed as well as the story. Even though you know the end it was very well done. Hope she continues to write.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2014

    Not for everyone.

    From what I have read this a very well written variation of the life of Achilles and Patroclus. However if you are not comfortable with descriptive homosexuality I would definitely recommend that you do NOT purchase this book. It is definitely more a love story between the two as they grow into manhood and find their way to their inevitable and famous deaths, than anything else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    So bittersweet...

    It is a different reading a book where you know all of the characters and their fates from the start. Every turn of the page just filled me with dread. But I kept on because it was also fascinating to see how hard they fought to get around their fates, and stretch their time together....but the harder they worked the more it sealed their fate. I think this is why I took a break in the middle of reading for a couple days...some days I want a happy ending and some snuggles and puppies, and I knew this book would not give it to me. It would break my heart. So I had to take a couple days to prepare. I am too soft-hearted for all this tragedy.

    It did break my heart, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It is undeniably Patroclus's story, a story about love and acceptance, and pride, and most of all never losing who you are despite the influences that conspired to change you. Achilles wanted to be someone else. He WAS someone else than who others wanted him to be. His mother wanted him to have glory and fame above all else. And not for him, but for her and her pride. The Kings of Greece wanted him as their hero and tool....but Achilles was underneath it all a gentle person, who loved music and loved to sing. That was his true self and that was who Patroclus always saw. There is a point in the book when Patroclus is asked what it is about him that Achilles loves. He was not handsome, or very smart, nor could he fight, or was of any consequence that anyone could see. What was it? He said he did not know. To me it was simple...Achilles loved him and treasured him because he was the only one that saw him for who he was, and was the one that reminded him of that daily. He did not demand that Achilles be someone he was not. He did not want anything from Achilles, but his love. But even in that, he made no demands. He allowed Achilles to maintain his sense of self even through all the outside influence. As long as Patroclus was there and saw him, understood him, and loved him....Achilles would always be the person he saw as his true self. Not the hero or killer...but that gentle boy that loved music. Yes, he lost contact with that boy near the end and failed to live up to all of Patroclus's expectations of him, he was selfish and jealous,and cruel and above all prideful....but again....due to the love he was able to share with Patroclus...he was able to find that boy he once was again. What a sad and tragic figure he was in this book. He tried so hard. I was rooting for him, even if I knew how it would end up. Achilles mother was wrong just as he said; it was not Patroclus that was the unworthy one.

    I liked that this was told in Patroclus's point of view...because without him...Achilles would only be seen through his legend...the cold killer....the warrior ...the hero....but like the relationship in the book....through Patroclus...we see him with kinder eyes and through love. That would make Patroclus happy, because it was all he ever wanted right up until the end. For Achilles to be seen as more than his legend, and more than his ability to kill. And isn't that what's love about? Seeing and bringing out the best of each other. Even if we fall short some times, we should never lose site of what it is made u love this person in the first place. Ah, getting sappy. But I loved this book, and I am happy that in the end they got some peace. Those last scenes almost made me cry. Together in life. Together in death finally, what more could anyone ask for

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  • Posted November 18, 2012

    Very interesting interpretation of a legendary hero, well writte

    Very interesting interpretation of a legendary hero, well written, the story moves quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2012

    Sing, O Muse, of the Best of the Greeks

    A finely written modern narrative of Homer's "Iliad." Ms. Miller's prose is gripping, and she brilliantly imagines the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles as it grows from boyhood friendship to full homosexual love. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but felt the concluding sections after Achilles slays Hector were too rushed.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Timeless tale written from a new perspective

    Millers vision of the Iliad through Partoclus eyes. A modern re-telling of an ancient and timeless tale.
    Miller has done her homework! She takes many 'B' characters from the original poem and weaves more mythology around them. Her choices of story arcs are very complimentary to the original poem. Her story has appeal to fans of classic and fantasy. Well written characters with complex emotions and very human faults. The heroes and villains all have strong well defined archetypes without going over the top.
    I had to re-read Homer after I finished Song Of Achilles. A fun read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2012

    Well worth reading

    I learned a lot about the legend of Achilles, not based on Hollywood, but based on the old legends. For instance, I did not know that the part of the story about Achilles being immortal except for his heel, was added to the story much later. I admit I was a little uncomfortable with the homosexual references, but that's on me. I enjoyed the explanations about the different gods and goddesses. If you are interested in the old legends, you will most probably enjoy this book.

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