Genre: novel, romance, historical fiction.
By | Jesse Woo
The Song of Achilles, a historical fiction by Madeline Miller, talks about the life of Patroclus, an exiled prince who befriended the soon-to-be Greek god, Achilles. The story gives the reader a glimpse into the troublesome times the two faced together.
Patroclus, once living with his father, is exiled after killing a prince accidentally, and sent to Phthia. There, young prince Achilles befriends him and the two share a close bond with Achilles—the latter even requesting for Patroclus to be his brother-in-arms.
Over time, they are trained by the centaur, Chiron, and start sharing romantic feelings for each other. Word then spreads and the kingdom of Phthia calls for Achilles and Patroclus to return as Helen of Sparta has been taken by Paris.
This war lasts for many years, with plagues and disasters happening as the Trojans and Greeks go to war, with neither side winning.
After being dishonoured by Agamemnon, Achilles refuses to fight, believing himself to be superior. As the Greeks subsequently lose battles and soldiers die in battles, Patroclus and Achilles have to make the decision of defending Achilles’ honour or winning the fight for the Greeks.
A sequence of events occurs, causing both men to be torn between love, and fear, for each other.
A key theme I noticed in the book is the theme of love and power. Achilles as an upcoming god could have obtained so much power, but instead was torn between his love for Patroclus.
In Patroclus’ view, he is torn between love and fear. He loves Achilles so much, but his fear for Achilles’ future shadows the love he has for him.
Without this particular relationship between the two characters, the book wouldn’t be quite a thriller.
An important part written was the time the two spent in Chiron. Then being isolated formed a new bond and completely changed their perspectives and relationship with each other.
‘Song of Achilles’ is very vivid and descriptive, keeping me on my toes throughout the story.
I am always eager to read more about the interaction between Patroclus and Achilles and anticipate what brings for the two in the future. There are a good deal of incorporation and expanding of ideas in Greek Mythology.
Overall, The Song of Achilles would definitely catch the eye of readers who are looking for a book about romance with an influence of Greek myths. It will also keep the readers at the edge of their seat, anticipating more as the story evolves.
The theme of love really tugs at the heart strings and draws the reader into the author’s world.