Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful— irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.
They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to 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 cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
This book is fascinating retelling of Homer's Iliad. It is a look into the life of Achilles, one of Greek mythology's greatest war heroes. In my opinion, Achilles has often been portrayed as a self centred and entitled demigod who's fate is sealed in the Battle of Troy. This story is told from the point of view of Patroclus, Achilles' best friend. We learn that behind his godlike strength and arrogance is a young boy who is conflicted and vulnerable.
This book has it all: a coming of age story, a love triangle and a wooden horse. It was refreshing to get a different perspective on Achilles' life and the events leading up to Battle of Troy. It made a well known story seem new again.