Song of shocks, heartbreak and more


Leila Rexhepi

“The Song of Achilles” has been named 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and is a New York Times Bestseller amongst many other awards.

Leila Rexhepi, Staff Writer

While “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller was released in 2011, it has continued to be a fan favorite for over a decade shared all over “BookTok.” Fans have cherished the love story between Patroclus, the son of King Menoitius and Achilles, the son of King Peleus and sea-nymph Thetis.

The novel is written from the perspective of Patroclus and starts off when he is young and exiled for killing a boy. He is sent to King Peleus to live there amongst other exiles which is where he meets Achilles and their friendship and later love story starts.

“It is probably my favorite book I’ve ever read. Couldn’t stop reading it for three days straight,” said senior Charlie Hickman, who continued to buy another book written by Madeline Miller.

The beginning of the book had me adoring their relationship while eagerlying waiting for the epic love story I have heard all over “BookTok.” The novel takes multiple unexpected twists and turns, keeping me engaged throughout every page. 

Sophomore Zaaron Tyebjee said, “It has beautiful writing and plays really well with emotions. Definitely a character driven book.”

The beautiful writing carried the story having the right amount of sophysication but not too confusing seeing it takes place in Greece, 12th century BC. 

“I loved it. It’s the one book that I can read any time of the year. The description and dialogue, along with the character development is one of the best interpretations of the Iliad that I’ve read,” said senior Enya Orozco, who rated the book 5 stars.

However, even with the shocks that came with learning of Achilles’ choices for his future between “a long life and obscurity or a short life and fame” to Achilles being abducted by his own mother to Patroclus discovering he had married and conceived a child with the daughter of King Lycomedes, the book had me in anticipation with the pain I have heard from readers who finished the novel.

Fans and I alike adored the time when Achilles and Patroclus are together being mentored by a kind centaur named Chiron. It is only later when they learn that Achilles had been summoned to fight in a war. This is where I realized the true pain would begin and it for sure did.

The time during the war is where we see Achilles start to lose himself and his values through the choices and decisions he makes despite becoming the greatest warrior. Patroclus worries about Achilles even with helping him clean off the blood of soldiers when he comes home from fighting every day and so on. I felt deeply sorry for Patroclus and I desired for things to go how they were beforehand but obviously they didn’t.

Even with the upsets from earlier in the novel the true turning point came when Patroclus takes Achilles place in a battle. This is where Patroclus dies at the hands of a warrior named Hector.

Once Patroclus had died is where my tears really started coming. However the pain did not stop because with Patroclus’ death came Achilles’ death in trying to avenge his lover and kill Hector.

“It was hard to feel bad for Achilles at the end (though I did). Briseis deserved better and Patroclus is very relatable,” said sophomore Nora Zhou.

No matter how much Madeline Miller hurt us, especially in the last 50 pages she does give us a happy ending with Thetis arranging a joint burial for Patroclus and Achilles. Miller gave readers one more good cry in the last two sentences when she describes the lovers finding each other in the underworld.

Now having gone through the emotions of “The Song of Achilles” it is no doubt that I will continue reminiscing on this novel for months to come and continue to look at some of Madeline Miller’s other books such as “Galatea” and “Circe.” I recommend this beautiful piece of literature to not only readers but others also. If you are thinking of reading this novel please look at trigger warnings beforehand.