The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book made me cry, which is hard to do. It is ultimately about relationships rather than war, but war is such a central part of the story that I include this in my military reviews. And honestly, relationships must be such a part of the soldier's life, that the emphasis on the relationship in this story is just right. The first time I read The Iliad, I had to write about it in college. I came across that essay later and was surprised to find that I had made an argument in favor of Paris and Helen. When I read The Iliad later, several years ago as a book club selection, I hated those two and fell head over heals for Hector, what a man! I can't say that this book made me fall for Achilles, but it helped me see a few things from the Greek side, and I loved Patroclus and even understood Thetis better (his goddess mom). I think I have some friends with hearts as big as Patroclus. This book embodies the magic of The Iliad, with its larger than life, complicated characters.
Here is a short quote that could sum up The Song of Achilles:
“There is no law that gods must be fair, Achilles,” Chiron said. “And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone. Do you think?”
Miller is absolutely believable in her mythology writing. Also, the audio is a real masterpiece. I do agree with others that the sex scenes don't work and are distracting, but the book is so powerful in its ultimate purpose that I count it among my top reads of the year.
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