Book Review

Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

the song of achillesPublished: August 28 2012

Number of pages: 369

Format: paperback

Publisher: Ecco

Genre: fantasy, gods and myths, LGBT, romance, tragedy

Audience: adult fiction

Rating: 5/5 owl hoots

Find it on Goodreads | Chapters Indigo



Achilles, son of king Peleus and the legendary sea goddess Thetis is strong, swift, and beautiful. Petroclus is an awkward prince exiled from his homeland after an act of crime. The first day Petroclus and Achilles met, they were inseparable despite the god’s wrath.

They are trained by the centaur, Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped by the Trojans, all the heroes of Greeks are called upon to lay war against Troy. Achilles joins the Greeks to fulfill his destiny as the best of all Greeks, but is torn between love and fear for his companion, Petroclus. Little do they know that they will be tested by the cruel Fates who demand a terrible sacrifice.

My Review: 

This is like the classic Greek version of Romeo and Juliet: a story about two lovers whose love is frowned upon by a god and is determined to tear them apart, while their love is also trialed by the cruel Fates. Some people on Goodreads have described this story as a retelling of The Iliad and sadly, I haven’t read that one yet, nor have I read The Odyssey since I’m not a huge fan of reading epic poetry. But after finishing The Song of Achilles I suddenly feel inspired to read these classics one day.

I love reading stories about Greek myths and gods but I haven’t been successful with finding one story that I enjoyed. But after VE Schwab recommended this to all of her readers on Twitter, I trusted her word for it since I’m a huge fan of her books. Schwab didn’t let me down as I found myself devouring this story! The Song of Achilles is a story about one of Greek’s greatest heroes, Achilles, the Aristos Achaion told in the perspective of Petroclus, and how an awkward prince shamed by his father meets the king’s perfect son. A story about opposites attract is one of my favorite romances because the chemistry always starts awkward at first! Reading how Petroclus describes every detail of Achilles, from his glistening muscles to his golden hair, the way he tosses his head and laughs, and the way he feels so embarrassed that he notices these details are pretty cute, but you can also tell by the tone how Petroclus is struggling with his emotions. This isn’t an insta-love story but once the romance sparks, the chemistry grows with some sexy scenes included.

Petroclus is an odd character that grew up weak and lanky with knobby knees and zero musical talent. He’s not the type of guy you would find attractive at first, but inside he’s very gentle, innocent, and loyal and later grew up to be one of the bravest Greeks during the battle at Troy. Achilles on the other hand, is like the perfect boy every girl has dreamed of: his sculpted body, his golden hair, and his talent with the lyre, and winning every award for every physical test there is. It’s no wonder all the other boys are either jealous or admire him, but underneath that perfection I also get the sense that he’s tired of everyone admiring him, even frighten to go against him because he’s half man and half god. But Petroclus isn’t like the other boys which caught Achilles attention, and beginning one of the best love stories there is.

This is more than a story about love and loss, but also a story about two boys who grew up to by men and going against the god’s wrath, they fought together in the most legendary wars in Greece. Just watching Petroclus evolve from a shy wimpy boy to a strong and confidant warrior were the best parts of the story, and seeing Achilles compassionate side towards women and his men, shows that beneath his god-like perfection he’s still human at heart. How I wanted these two to live happily but sadly, even the best love stories don’t end that way.

I’m so thankful for VE Schwab to recommend this book and if you haven’t done so already, then I recommend this book to you! And don’t worry, you don’t have to read The Illiad to follow this story, but you might feel persuaded to read the Greek classic that inspired this book later on.


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