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The Song of Achilles: A Novel | [Madeline Miller]

The Song of Achilles: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (539 )
5 star
 (271)
4 star
 (155)
3 star
 (60)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (26)
Overall
4.1 (487 )
5 star
 (250)
4 star
 (134)
3 star
 (56)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (27)
Story
4.4 (489 )
5 star
 (304)
4 star
 (121)
3 star
 (46)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Zachary Bechtle Cincinnati, OH USA 06-15-12
    Zachary Bechtle Cincinnati, OH USA 06-15-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Completely Misleading"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like romance novels


    What could Madeline Miller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Advertised the book accurately. It is pitched as a story between friends who go to war, not a romance novel between dudes (which is what it is)


    What three words best describe Frazer Douglas’s performance?

    Nuanced but breathy


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The prose style was eloquent, and her ability to delve into the psyche of the characters was admirable.


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointing. My first negative review on audible

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-25-13
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-25-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    93
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Golden"
    Where does The Song of Achilles rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really liked the story : it kept me going


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Song of Achilles?

    When they met the menator


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many parts it is hard to find just one


    Any additional comments?

    I couldnt stop listening : in car , at home , on patio I was really involved ; i wanted to hear more

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna United States 04-13-13
    Donna United States 04-13-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Book contains homosexual sex"
    What disappointed you about The Song of Achilles?

    This book wasn't my style. There is homosexual sex described in detail. Sex scenes in such detail are not to my liking, gay or straight.


    Has The Song of Achilles turned you off from other books in this genre?

    This is not my style of story. I wouldn't have even tried it if I had known. I don't really go in for explicit sex in any story, so its inclusion in several scenes made me stop listening before the end.


    What about Frazer Douglas’s performance did you like?

    His voices and accent were good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It could have been good. It wasn't a bad story at the start. Others may really enjoy it.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki United States 02-22-13
    Vicki United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful Story"

    This book and narrator conveys such longing. The love between the main characters is so pure and strong, I really enjoyed this story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Pinson, TN, United States 01-07-13
    Cindy Pinson, TN, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "PLEASE advise of sexual content!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I only wish there had been even a HINT regarding the sexual content in this story so I wouldn't have used one of my precious credits on it. I should have read ALL the reviews instead of the first few. Will do that from now on!


    What was most disappointing about Madeline Miller’s story?

    I prefer heterosexual content.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    N/A


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Couldn't finish it...


    Any additional comments?

    There should be a sexual content rating system.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Hayward, CA, United States 12-26-12
    Sarah Hayward, CA, United States 12-26-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A new perspective on an old story"

    This is really a love story with the background of war and mythology. The heart of the novel is the romance between Patroclus and Achilles, which is at first confusing to them, then sweet and full of joy, and then adult and full of sacrifice and acceptance.

    I enjoyed the character development and the vivid description of the sights, smells and sounds of the time. There were parts of the novel that dragged a little, but it soon picked up. In general, it was an entertaining story, and for anyone who has read The Iliad or seen the movie Troy, it was a new way to look at the character Achilles, the origin of his personality and his motivation, and an honest look at a relationship between two men.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tara Saur Sharon, MA, US 12-05-12
    Tara Saur Sharon, MA, US 12-05-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Achilles - aristos achaeon!"
    What did you love best about The Song of Achilles?

    I'd been waiting for years for a telling of the Achilles/Patroclus story the way I had imagined it - and Miller has delivered! And it is a sexy, sexy book. Miller is supposed to have been working on this book for ten years - and it shows. Not only did she rely on Homer's Iliad, but she used books from the entire extant Trojan cycle (Cypria, Little Iliad, et al.).


    What does Frazer Douglas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    To preface, I think that Douglas did a great job. His voice is nice to listen to. However, this is Miller's first book, and it shows in the tone of the first few pages. It's not distracting, but Frazier Douglas' wistful performance didn't help. Also, I was definitely not a fan of the baritone voice he gave to Achilles, especially prepubescent Achilles. I get that it's mostly a class thing, but it didn't do much for me.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Song of Achilles and why?

    Briseis, whom I hated (HATED) in the movie Troy by the way, was very much a strong character here.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bonnie nelson 11-12-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "bodice ripper"
    Would you try another book from Madeline Miller and/or Frazer Douglas?

    no


    Has The Song of Achilles turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I expected a scholarly retelling of the Iliad, not a Barbara Cartland set in Homeric Greece.


    What about Frazer Douglas’s performance did you like?

    Expressive, articulate reader


    What character would you cut from The Song of Achilles?

    all


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne Washington D.C. 08-06-12
    Marianne Washington D.C. 08-06-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Phenomenal"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This shows a different side to Achilles and patrocolous that is so well written.


    What other book might you compare The Song of Achilles to and why?

    Obviously The Illiad.


    Have you listened to any of Frazer Douglas’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you could rename The Song of Achilles, what would you call it?

    I would not: the title is perfect.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone interested in the story of Achilles should read this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Bennett San Something, CA 04-06-12
    Brian Bennett San Something, CA 04-06-12 Member Since 2014

    The Dude

    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    187
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want my credit back"
    Would you try another book from Madeline Miller and/or Frazer Douglas?

    NO


    Would you ever listen to anything by Madeline Miller again?

    NO


    How could the performance have been better?

    I liked the Frazer Douglas but the book was just bad.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Song of Achilles?

    I would cut page 1 and stop at the last page.


    Any additional comments?

    I feel Audible pushes books and let's the publisher write reviews. New rule never buy a book without 500 or more reviews. This had 10 and had close to 5 stars. What was I thinking? I doubt 500 people will read this book.

    8 of 26 people found this review helpful

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