Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.
Now, I've never been a big fan of The Iliad...I didn't dislike it, but it never remained all that memorable for me. It was simply a story to be read for class and then *poof!* I forgot about it. Then I saw this Orange Prize Shortlisted novel and thought that I should give this tale another go.
You guys, never again will this story or these characters be a hazy memory - The Song of Achilles forever cured me of that! Let me list the reasons why Madeline Miller's book is the best I've read so far in 2012:
- extremely well written
- character-driven but still a page-turner
- this book gives readers a greater understanding of the motivations behind the mythological events
- An emotional rollercoaster: I know this is gonna make me sound like a wet blanket...but I cried several times throughout reading the book.
- achingly honest and beautifully rendered romance
- The Song of Achilles makes me want to read some more mythology-based literature (anyone have any recommendations??)
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