The legend begins...
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.
©2012 Madeline Miller (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
“[Miller] makes a persuasive argument for the timeliness of her subject. …Miller’s winning debut focuses on Patroclus, a young prince living in Achilles’ golden shadow. Miller also gives voice to many of the women who were also consigned to the shadows.” (Publishers Weekly, Spring 2012 Preview, Top 10 Literary Fiction)
“You don’t need to be familiar with Homer’s The Iliad (or Brad Pitt’s Troy, for that matter) to find Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles spellbinding....her explorations of ego, grief, and love’s many permutations are both familiar and new....[A] timeless love story.” (O magazine)
“A psychologically astute Iliad prelude featuring the heady, star-crossed adolescence of future heroes Patroclus and Achilles.” (Vogue)
I had heard good things about this book, and it had been recommended to me, so I was definitely looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations.
My main problem with the book was the characterization and character development. In this story, Patroclus is stripped off the status as a great warrior he dons in Homer's Iliad, and becomes a shadow who will often dwindle in self-pity. He can't fight, and he won't even try to learn. And by the time the book ends, not much has changed in him in comparison to the time he befriended Achilles as a child, at the beginning.
The love story between Achilles and Patroclus did not have a foundation solid enough for me to become emotionally involved. Patroclus does not understand why does Achilles come to love him so much, so fast. Neither did I. Their story seemed like something out of a fairytale: beautiful on the surface, but lacking in substance, in actual development. The same could be said about Achilles himself.
Some things I did enjoy, though. Odysseus was fantastic. Some of the imagery was very interesting. And the narration was definitely very good, and what kept me going every time someone pointed out how Patroclus was pretty much useless and "could not fight".
Not sure if it was the performance or the writing, but I couldn't figure out why anyone, let alone Achilles, would be into this guy Patroclus. He's such a whiner!
Not sure. He wasn't bad - just kinda mopey. Again, that may have just been the writing.
It was fun because I like the classical elements. And cause I'm a big mo.
Just a simple girl living the simple life. Nothing is complicated when the power of imagination leads the way. Close your eyes & just listen
The narrator can make or break a book. This is a perfect example of a tremendous yet unexpected love story with such great narration. You are swept into a fantastical and deep heart-wrenching saga - gasping and longing as if you are the characters. To define a 'romance' is difficult because everyone has their own ideals of what a typical romance should be. THIS is one that takes you to 'THAT' different level of love and sacrifice.
Sorry...can't do it in 3 words..
This is so well done that I can\t thing of anything bad to say. The emotional feel of the book is perfect.In the end I owe the performer for the incredible experience of seeing Achilles through Patroclos eyes and making me believe it.
Despite containing two of the elements that I tend to stay away from : first person pov and a sort of poetic sentimentality, I absolutely adored this book. It is so well written , each sentence imbued with such feeling that I couldn't help but feel like I was almost there and witness to the whole story. I have to say that what really made this such a great experience was the narrator. For once an audiobook that I wished could just go on and on. Frazier Douglas does such an awesome job narrating this story! His cadence and tone are just perfect. At first I found his Achilles voice a little too low but overall, wow!! A truly great and unique account of the legendary Achilles, Patroclus and Trojan war saga, minus the focus on Paris and Helen (thank the gods!!)
This was the first and I'm a convert :)
Patroclos, because ultimately it was his story
Nothing else but awesome/
Not the story of a hero - it didn't seem to relate to anything I knew about Achilles. BUT - it was a good story, well told by an excellent reader. It felt like someone was telling me the story of his life. I was drawn into the story from beginning to end. Great listen. There is a male/male relationship, so you might want to stay away if that is not for you. That part was mild compared to a lot of books out now. The book and the reader were well matched. I enjoyed the experience. Well worth the credit.
I love books, but busy mom that doesnt have time to read them. So having audible has been a blessing to me. Shower or car listening is great
I really enjoy learning about the Greak Gods and thought this was well written.
I haven't read a ton about them but this was abetter one than some others I've tried.
There were a couple of times I had to rewind to verify which character it was talking, so I do wish there was alittle bit better variation in the voices but all the main characters were very destinctive from each other so it didn't bother me much.
They story I thought was fun and entertaining and I defintly was surprised at some of the twist and turns but all in a good way!
I would defintly reccomand this book to others, but am not sure that close minded people would enjoy it as much as those that are open minded.
This is a beautiful retelling of the story of Achilles, from the point of view of Patroclus. Admittedly, it has been years since I read the Iliad, but the story seems pretty faithful to its original sources, and it manages to incorporate the complexity of the Trojan War and all the various players and their motivations without overwhelming the central story, that of Patroclus and Achilles. It is a love story, a tragic love story because from the start, we know how it ends, and that knowledge made it quite difficult to get through in parts, which speaks to the excellence of the storytelling and the audiobook narrator. Highly recommended.
Nothing can better the Illiad but this book is a must for those who love the story of Achilles and Troy
Achilles. He is the original superhero character and one that has survived the test of time for thousands of years.
Excellent narration. The voices that he chooses for each character are fantastic and consistent throughout the book
I was uncomfortable with one particular scene of a homosexual nature! Thankfully it did not escalate further later on in the story.
A great story retold from a fresh perspective
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I couldn't choose another book for days afterwards. Nothing seemed as good as this book.
Cried like a baby over a death that happened something like 3000 years ago. Miller managed to make this story and its characters come to life. The narrator is excellent, although his "female" voice is not great (as none of them seem to be).
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