Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Book Reviews

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Gone with the Words Review

5 Stars

The Song of Achilles is an absolutely striking novel. The writing is exquisite and lovely; it’s sparse but uses the most wonderful descriptions and turns of phrase. I’ve read and watched my fair share of Troy adaptations but this is the best. It felt fresh and original, accessible, and brought to life these magnificent doomed characters. Ohhhh how you feel for them. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is everything you could wish for in a tragic romance. Whether you know the story or not (I did), you can see the twists of fate that bring them closer and closer to impending doom and ugh, it’s horrible not being able to do anything about it!!!


Madeline Miller humanizes Achilles and makes him a compelling hero worth following, while she raises Patroclus to new heights. There are traces of the gods but it doesn’t feel hokey or intrusive, any more than it is supposed to. Odysseus, Thetis, and Briseis also shine as characters. I felt transported back in time to this incredible story. The emotions are overwhelming and burrowed into my soul. The language is evocative and the action is fierce, the romance tender. Historical fiction fans must read this; I’m so glad I did. I hope we don’t have to wait much longer for Miller’s next novel!

Tumblr is a treasure trove of mood boards, fan art, and on-point fan reactions to The Song of Achilles. Here are a few links to check out:
The Song of Achilles aesthetics
Achilles/Patroclus moodboard
Modern Patrochilles AU aesthetics
The Song of Captain America
Spoilers for Disney fans

Book Info

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Published by Ecco
Pub Date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 378
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult FictionHistoricalLGBT
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

14 Responses to “Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller”

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    Kat C

    I thought this book was great too. Unlike you I knew nothing about the story so it was all new to me. I’m going to have to check out those Tumblrs !

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    Cait @ Paper Fury

    I sooo want to read this! I see it occasionally mentioned now and then?! BUT THIS MAKES ME SURE I WANT TO TRY IT. :D Plus who doesn’t like a tragic romance and wonderful action scenes and good writing?! I NEED. :’)

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I KNOW YOU LOVE TRAGIC ROMANCE! Cait, you have to read this, I really think it is your kind of book. Plus it’s just so amazing. I’m glad my review makes you want to try it, you’ll have to let me know what you think!

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    I need to read this book! I recently read Captive Prince which often gets recommended with this one and I really enjoyed it. This book sounds so amazing@

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I can almost guarantee that will happen haha. I hope you enjoy the book! It really is lovely. Also you will love that Spoiler Disney link, if you didn’t click it I’ll send it to you someday when you read the book ;)

  4. Avatar

    Kris @Imaginary Reads

    It’s been a while since I read this one, but I remember loving how Achilles’ story is told through the POV of someone close to him. It adds another dimension to his character; I agree that this novel humanizes him.

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    you know this books hurts me if I even just see the cover. The feelings, they are too much. Also, Angie is evil for that and I am going to go yell at her on twitter for it.

    This is the book I want to show general adult writers and be like “see? You CAN write a really shippy romance in a literature novel. LEARN FROM MADELINE MILLER.”

    Personally, I would never have found this without you and Ellis. I am so so glad you both flailed and felt about this so much because it is easily one of my favorite-all time reads. Like you stated, I think that has a lot to do with how well the characters are developed — Achilles, Patroclus, and Briseis. UGH. FEEELINGS. I need to go lie down. And or rereread this.

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      IT HURTS SO GOOD. I’m always on the verge of wanting to reread it but then I pull myself back. Someday. VERY EVIL, MUCH EVIL.

      Oh gosh, isn’t that an amazing point! I so rarely ship ship an adult book romance, even if I like an adult romance (like in Kate Morton’s books. I root for the couples but I don’t fervently ship them per se).

      I’m starting to wonder where I found it from, I think Ellis as well! I know Meg has read it too. But I’m really glad I did and I’m glad to pass on the flailing as always. The feelings are toooooo muchhhhh. The characters! So much love. Although thinking about Pyrrhus fills me with irrational fiery anger. Like mixing Joffrey with Ramsay Bolton. What a trio that would be.

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