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The Song of Achilles – Review by Kaela, Teen Blogger

The thing that drew me to read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was the fact it is all about Greek mythology and the author was actually inspired by the original works of Homer. In my experience, a lot of books about Greek mythology are based on the more modern versions of the stories and are kind of like a remake of a remake. The nice thing about this one was that the author had studied these subjects and drew on the originals for inspiration.

The book is all about the famous Greek hero named Achilles but is actually told from the point of view of one his greatest companions, Patroclus. Patroclus is neither a god nor a half-god like Achilles but an exiled prince. When the two were both boys, Achilles’ father used to foster boys with no homes and that’s how the two had met. The book details the transformation of Achilles from child to man through the eyes of Patroclus. The two grow up together and later support each other in the war against Troy.

One thing I didn’t like about this book was its lack of explanations about the gods. I understand that it is a book about Achilles journey through his life, but the book seemed to ignore the backstories about the gods and other events that happened beforehand. It seemed like it was referencing many other events and people in Greek mythology without actually talking about them.

While the book lacked in explanations about the mythology, it was very detailed about the people’s traditions in ancient Greece and I enjoyed that. It’s very interesting to read about things from so long ago, because while some parts were very fantastical like the gods’ roles in the story, the parts about their culture and traditions were very much real. The author even included some translated Greek words, which made the book seem more authentic.

*Spoiler alert*

Another interesting thing was the author’s interpretation of Achilles’ and Patroclus’ relationship. Throughout history it’s been debated on the type of relationship they had because the original stories were vague. I liked that she interpreted them as best friends and later partners. The author did a great job developing their characters and later their love story.

*Spoiler alert ends*

Song of Achilles is above all about friendship and loyalty. It is also about the choosing between right and wrong and a man’s honour. The latter being a very valuable thing in the times of ancient Greece.

If you’ve ever read books like Percy Jackson and enjoy reading about Greek gods and myths, you’ll definitely love this book as well. The Song of Achilles is available at Halifax Public Libraries.


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