The Song of Achilles | Book Review
Genres: Historical Fiction
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
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. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, 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 then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
I had heard amazing things about this book, and all the emotions I was going to feel. The Song of Achilles follows the story of Achilles and Patroclus and their journey to Achilles glory.
I was disappointed with this book. It moved too quickly, and I just didn’t feel any attachment to the characters. The ending of the book was never going to be a surprise but I just didn’t feel it was done well. The story had no discernible driving force, and I thought that the majority of it dragged. Overall, this book wasn’t a winner for me.
As I mentioned above the story let me down, and I really struggled to keep up with what was happening and why. Everything moved so quickly and it left something to desire. There wasn’t any action driving the story forward. It began to feel as though the story was rushed. I struggled with this, I couldn’t connect with the story, and it made for a dull read.
One thing The Song of Achilles did well was the focus on the mythical aspects of Achilles life. I loved the introduction of his mother and her dislike for Patroclus. She became a great story, and she moved the story forward at a reasonable pace.
If you like a slow moving story with a lot of different elements, and a slow burning romance then this is probably the book for you. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t do anything for me.
There were some interesting characters within The Song of Achilles. As mentioned above the story and plotline let them down. I wasn’t able to connect with any of them, I felt as though they were all superficial and there for show. Almost like the previous infamy of the story made up for the lack of explanation.
Our main character is painted as the perfect warrior that lives a isolated existence. That is until Patroclus comes wandering in. The problem I had with Achilles was there was nothing there for me to relate to, no hardship. Something that wasn’t emphasised enough was the decision to go to war. It was too simplistic and dare I say it not enough angst.
Achilles and Patroclus’ relationship. It was unconvincing and lacking. I struggled to believe that these two people genuinely loved each other. Achilles’ manner with Patroclus seemed to be businesslike and stiff. I wasn’t a massive fan of the two of them together.
The main narrator of the story. He was self-doubting and a little bit pathetic if I’m completely honest. I’m not sure whether that was the point or a sore side effect. Either way the character failed to grip me and his narration made the book painful.
His relationship with Achilles was worse. There seemed to be a lot of meaningless sex and none of it seemed to go anywhere. The whole relationship seemed forced and superficial. The ending was weird and didn’t go quite as well as I thought it might off.
Would I recommend it?
No not a chance would I recommend The Song of Achilles. I think there are better books out there. I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on it.
Did you read this book? What did you think? Did this book let you down as much as it did me? Let me know in the comments!