“The Song of Achilles” Book Review

A decade of running from fate; ten years of love finally catch up to the two young lovers, ending in a heartbreak like no other.


The Song of Achilles, written by Madeline Miller and originally published in 2011, is a beautiful retelling of Homer’s Iliad from the perspective of a young exiled prince named Patroclus. From cover to cover, The Song of Achilles offers a tender story of love, faith, loyalty and heartbreak.

Set in the Greek Heroic Age, Miller writes of two young men who meet in Achilles’ homeland of Phthia after Patroclus has been exiled. Immediately, there seems to be a gravitational pull between these two teenage boys; a deep sensitivity to each others’ presence that quickly grows into a beautiful friendship. Sensed by all around them but seemingly appreciated by none, the friendship blossoms into a young love as the two boys spend a summer together on Mount Pelion, where the centaur, Chiron, helps them to appreciate the beauty and delicacy of life before they are forced into the world to begin lives of their own. 

At the hark of a prophecy, Achilles is taken from Mount Pelion by his mother, the sea goddess Thetis, and Patroclus doesn’t stray far behind. Almost immediately, Patroclus sets out to find the boy whom he has grown so fond of in just a few seemingly short years. When he is found, the heavy prophecy that sparked Achilles’ disappearance is revealed to Patroclus, bringing to light the hard truth of an event that Patroclus had previously forsaken. 

As the Greeks set sail and prepare for the siege of Troy, misfortune and rage seem to befall the men who have vowed to stand side by side with each other in the army that is to be headed by “Aristos Achaion.” Throughout the war on Troy, men grow angry, greedy and jealous, acting out of turn. Patroclus and Achilles seem to be caught in the middle of the madness, having nothing but each other to help them through their seemingly endless days.

As the prophecy that faces Achilles looms overhead, both he and Patroclus become desperate to prolong it for as long as they can. A decade of running from fate; ten years of love finally catch up to the two young lovers, ending in a heartbreak like no other.

Written for young adult audiences, The Song of Achilles offers an intricately crafted story of two fated lovers who are determined to stand side by side, facing all odds hand in hand. This book gives great representation for the LGBTQIA+ community, offering a timeless story that all can appreciate.