Review: The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed reading The Song of Achilles. I liked it more than I liked Circe, which I thought quite highly of. It’s not my favorite book I’ve read so far this year, but it really captured me and put me firmly in Patroclus’s court as he tried to reason with seemingly everyone in the book. I liked the way the women in the book, both in the foreground and background, were represented, their silence only imposed on them by the men who wrote history. I prefer this to some of my other images of Achilles and his time that I’ve gotten from books I’ve read, notably The Odyssey and The Gate to Women’s Country, even if it is probably less realistic.

I recommend The Song of Achilles.

Dates read: January 8-9, 2022

I was lucky enough to receive this copy of The Song of Achilles from a gifting chain off Facebook, and I devoured it. There’s so (so!) much hype around this book that I was already pretty sure it wouldn’t live up to it, but it impressed me. It did feel a little flat at times, which is something I noticed in Circe as well. Less so in Ariadne. I have two more mythology retellings on my TBR, A Thousand Ships and Daughters of Sparta, and I’m wondering if I’ll feel the same about them as I have Madeline Miller’s interpretations.

I did read a Norse mythology retelling toward the end of last year called The Witch’s Heart. I really enjoyed it and found the characters and the story to be quite vibrant and resonant, so perhaps it’s truly Miller’s books. Either way, I’m still looking forward to her next book.

As I read other reviews of this book, I’m pretty well aware that I’m in the minority by not giving it more than four stars. Is there anyone else out there who, like me, thought The Song of Achilles was good, not great? Let me know I’m not alone!

Til next time,

-Emjay

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