Traveling in time to Ancient Greece | The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

As I was reading «The Song of Achilles» I couldn’t help myself but compare this book to «Circe» also by Madeline Miller. Both of them follow a famous figure from Greek mythology, both a very heavy influenced by Ancient Greece, and both are told in a very beautiful way. While «The Song of Achilles» was a fairly quick read (in comparison to «Circe» which took me over a month), I feel like I will forget it just as quickly.

It might be due to the fact that this was an epic love story, or maybe because none of the characters in this book sparked love or even admiration in me. «Circe», on the other hand, is the book that will stay with me for a long time. I read it in July of last year and I still remember how it made me feel, I still think about it from time to time.

goodreads blurb:

Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.

Achilles, ‘best of all the Greeks’, is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.

In «The Song of Achilles» we follow Patroclus, an ordinary young man, born as a prince but exiled from his home when he was still a child. He was taken in by King Peleus, where he met his son Achilles – the perfect, golden son, with god blog in his veins and hero’s future. 

When I picked up «The Song of Achilles», I was recovering from a strike of “meh” books and had very high hopes for it. But it didn’t deliver. 

The first half of the book was my favorite part. I gobbled it up very quickly and wished for more of Patroclus and Achilles adventures as young boys. But everything innocent must come to an end. The second half of the story was much darker, much bloodier. Sadly, it didn’t captivate me as much as I hoped it would. 

The main and most important thing that threw me off was the lack of that “spark” in the most epic love story. I wasn’t convinced of their feelings, it felt very one-sided and emotionally dependent. There were many times I wished they would just let each other go, part ways, and, hopefully, be happier in the future. 

Because of this, I couldn’t properly connect to the characters and the story. There were many moments that left me emotional, but not enough to tear up or smile. 

My rating:

Nonetheless, I’m glad that I chose this book for my traveling month. Inspired by Greek mythology, it was a real pleasure to learn more about famous mythological figures, to travel to different Greek islands, and to experience epic victories.

Have you read any of Madeline Miller books? And if you read «Circe» and «The Song of Achilles» which one did you prefer?

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20 thoughts on “Traveling in time to Ancient Greece | The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  1. I’m Team Circe over TSoA. But I still loved TSoA. However I get you. There is something in TSoA that made me a little more detached from the romance than I was expecting and Circe for me just hit every note perfectly. It had that feeling of a family saga that takes place over generations which I loved. Plus I thought it was super smart how Miller took all these threads of different myths and made them Circe’s own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay!! 😀 «Circe» was pure perfection. Even though it took me a while to get through it, and I have to admit that it was exhausting to read it at times, I still think about it from time to time. The Song of Achilles just didn’t leave the same impression.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I was reading TSoA I kept messaging my friend Gabby with my reactions. It’s her fav book and I think her hype got me really into it! ☺️☺️☺️ But I agree that Circe is just a much better book. I think it’s got a more coherent structure. I think the characters are more interesting. I think the story is more compelling… but I do still love Patroclus and Achilles! 😅☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to read this book so badly! I’ve been pushing it off ever since I read CIRCE in 2018, it’s becoming a bit embarrassing 🙈 – glad you loved it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I own both TSoA and Circe, but haven’t read them yet. I don’t know why. I love Greek mythology. Greece is my dream destination. There’s really no excuse. 😉 I’m anxious to see how I’ll feel about them.

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  4. I’ve read both TSOA and Circe and I love TSOA more! It might be because I read it first and because I’m always a sucker for tragedy, but mostly because I feel it has more plot and I love how it gives life to the characters, like how history remember Achilles as this fierce and proud warrior but while it’s true, we also get to see the softer side of him through Patroclus eyes. It’s very captivating and interesting and made me wonder how much of the stories we heard of various events and characterization (not only limited to the Trojan War, but also real historical feats such as the War of the Roses) are the truth and how much of it was exaggeration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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