The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller 4.5 stars

I felt like I read 3 different books in one. The first quarter of the book was okay. While Patroclus’ childhood story was interesting it was not 5 star worthy and I didn’t understand what other reviewers were seeing. Then I got into the second quarter of the book and it started to go downhill. What I didn’t realize from reading the book description is that this book is a love story. It’s Patroclus’ homage to Achilles, which is definitely a unique take on this old myth. I love romances, but Patroclus fawning over Achilles became gag-worthy. Instead of the Song of Achilles it became My Obsession with Achilles. His golden hair, his tan skin, his bulging muscles, the oil he uses on his feet and on and on in every other paragraph Patroclus kept describing all these details of his perfect Achilles ad nauseam. It was Harlequin worthy at best. Thankfully, this only lasted a few chapters.

Chapter 11. That’s when the magic happened for me. By the time chapter 11 rolled around I was a little less than half way into the book and my gag reflex and eyeball rolling had reached maximum peak. But then off we go sailing with Patroclus and Achilles towards Troy seeking fame and that’s when Miller added some serious awesome sauce into a common myth. The writing and story felt different. Again, like I was reading a different book compared to the first half of the story. I loved it and became obsessed with the story.

I loved the way Miller incorporated the mythical portions into everyday life to give this story a fresh and unique look. For example, Patroclus having to deal with an evil mother-in-law is such a common thing most of us deal with at some point. However, make that mother-in-law a bitchy, human hating goddess and now you have yourself an interesting story. Let’s just put it this way- I don’t envy Patroclus!

So overall, I ended up enjoying this book and I see why it received high praise. My advice is to persevere through the Harlequin chapters because it does get better.