Literary Friday: The Song of Achilles

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"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.

The Song of Achilles is a poetic, moving, deeply human story set in Greece during the Trojan War. The narrator, Patroclus, is a compassionate storyteller, and an relatable character in many ways. Through his eyes, ancient Greece comes alive, complete with heroes and gods, all flawed and intricate.

As a fan of Greek mythology, I really enjoyed this book. It's hard to classify it into a single genre: it's a coming-of-age story, it's a romance (very sensual and erotic, I might add), it's a story of warfare, it's a story of making family...I think, mostly, it's a story of human nature and humanity.

Miller does an excellent job of sweeping the reader up in the story so that you believe everything the narrator tells you- yes, the gods exist and they are flawed and cruel; yes the heroes exist and they are motivated like normal men; yes, the sons of gods exist and they are not quite human. As detailed as Patroclus' narrative was, I felt like I was with him every step of the way (and so, I cried).

Even if you aren't a fan of Greek mythology, if you like fantasy and stories about the element of humanity (and things that unite us all), I think you'll like it. If you like the human aspects of war, love, adventure, community, etc. I think you'll like it. If you like ancient history, I think you'll like it. And if you like romance, the epic kind, I think you'll like it.

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