The Song of Achilles narrates the tragic love story of Patroclus and Achilles. It follows
Patroclus, who murdered a boy and was exiled to a different kingdom, where he soon meets
Achilles. While wary at first, the two form a close bond and run away, where they meet Chiron
and train with him. Everything seems to be going fine, until Achilles is called by his father.
When the two arrive at the palace, they are greeted by Odysseus, who draws Patroclus’ name,
telling him he has to fight in the Trojan war. Achilles, however, is kidnapped by his mother and
taken to an island, where he is forced to dress as a girl and has a child with a girl in order to
avoid being sent to fight in the war. Patroclus eventually runs after Achilles, but he is followed
by Odysseus, who uses a clever trick to find Achilles, who gets caught and soon has to fight in
the Trojan war as well. During the war, Achilles fights under the name of Agamemmnon, a cruel
leader who murdered his daughter in order to appease Artemis. While Achilles fights, Patroclus
heals and soon rescues a slave girl named Briseis, who he later befriends. However, Achilles
mother issues a warning, that Patroclus will die, and that Achilles will die at the hands of Hector.
Seven years pass, and Achilles has not killed Hector. The men grow tired and eventually
Patroclus decides to wear Achilles’ armor to scare the Trojans, growing tired of Agamemmnon’s
cruelties as he takes Briseis back as a slave. Consequently, things do not turn in the favor of
Patroclus and he soon dies at the hands of Hector. Achilles, blinded by his rage and grief, kills
Hector, but is stabbed in the back by Paris, the prince of Troy.
I must have gotten a different copy than others because I did not like this book. I know
others may say this because of how sad it was, but for me it wasn’t that much of an impactful
death. The book dragged for a while, even though it was only around 380 pages, and I’ve read
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell in two days (yes, I’m bragging). Anyway, I found the book to be
really boring, considering all the 5 star reviews that I read, which may have raised my standards.
While the book itself isn’t that great, I did particularly like that this version of Patroclus and
Achilles wasn’t censored, unlike the movie Troy. It’s historically accurate that Patroclus and
Achilles were lovers instead of cousins. Also, I feel like that was a major reason that people liked
this book: just for the romance. Let me just say, it could have been better than Patroclus talking
about Achilles’ feet for three chapters in a row. I feel that I could’ve liked or even enjoyed this
book more if it had been written in Achilles’ point of view instead of Patroclus. That way, it
would have shown the true grief and anger that Achilles went through in more detail (and made
it sadder?) instead of Patroclus narrating after his death. Anyway, The Song of Achilles was an
anticipated read that fell flat. However, I did enjoy Circe by Madeline Miller so that could have
raised my standards as well.