The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

🏆Top 5 Books of 2018: 3rd Place🏆

A lot of people have a lot of opinions on this book. Ostensibly a retelling of the Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus, starting in his youth and following his childhood and young adulthood with Achilles, the story follows the pair through the events of the Iliad and out the other side.

Achilles has long been one of my favourite ‘literary characters’, and this is one of 2 books in my Top 5 this year that examine him through another’s eyes. Miller takes on what no one has before and outright explores the romantic relationship between Achilles and Patroclus using a modern lens. It has been described as ‘Ancient Greek Fan-Fiction’, and I’d actually agree with that – but to me that’s not a bad thing! I’ve read around this subject a lot, and while I agree with the ‘flaws’ in Miller’s retelling, what she’s created here is a beautiful, incredibly moving and compulsively readable love and coming-of-age story focused on ancient heroes.

If you like the Iliad for its visceral violence, probably don’t read this. If you like it for other reasons, or have never read the Iliad, or are unfamiliar with Greek myths generally? Read it: it will break your heart, and you’ll love it.

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