The Queen’s Book Talk # 21 : The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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Kindle Edition, US Edition, 369 pages

Published March 6th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published September 20th 2011)
ASIN B006IE2IO8
Setting : Troy 
Pthia (Greece) 
Literary Awards : Orange Prize for Fiction (2012), Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel (2013), Chautauqua Prize Nominee (2013)

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The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must 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 Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career. 

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I have always been fascinated by Greek Mythology so that will always be a plus point but I wouldn’t have liked this book much if the writing did not get to me. Except it did. And it was amazing. Miller got me right from the very first page. She doesn’t have that need to describe everything happening but rather she makes the readers work for it and think and for once not resort to spoon feeding of rather obvious conlusions. I liked that she kept feeding us minimal information yet we still don’t feel so left behind.

The story, it focuses on Achilles and Patroclus and their relationship and how it molded both of them and how certain parts of history also changed them. I adore the dignity this two people have towards what they want and for that they will nevwr be forgotten in my history. I can’t say anything more without spoiling you readers but know that this book will make and break you all the same time.

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So let’s start from the start so I can attempt to gather my thoughts. You know me and probably expect every review I make to be chaotic so please bear with me.

Patroclus. From the start we all saw him as a weakling of a prince cast of just because he’s not strong or talented or anything at all. He accepts these because he actually thinks that he cannot do anything at all and just accept that he’s a weak prince. Then there comes he’s exile and he meets this strong boy much like he’s age that is everything he’s not. Then he suddelny shows interest in him and then they become friends and he finds his confidence and it is freaking fantastoc what a person can do to another just because of companionship and support and I love it. It is everything a person craves and what anyone should get that is why these two breaks my heart everytime they kiss or hug or whatever because its just so fucking magical.

Achilles. I would have liked to read some point of view of his because I will always wonder why he chose Patroclus. Not for the obvious reason people will ask that why did he choose a guy for a partner but why did he choose Patroclus when he could have someone stronger and more profitable than him? Maybe because Patroclus didn’t gave him the swooning reaction those other guys gave him that makes him craves his attention or just because he felt that pull Patroclus also felt. We’ll never know.

I love how inseperable they are. I love the sacrifices they made for each other. How they got through every thick and thin of the relationship and how they stood always for each other. Those moments were even so much than what couple of the opposite sex have in their lifetime.

Thetis. I just want to include her because even though she despised the relationship of the two, she is also a mother who will love anyone who loves her son as deeply as Patroclus did Achilles. I could imagine Patroclus pouring his heart out to Thetis in that final moment. Telling her all their stories and things that make Achilles who he is and not the kills he made. It made me tear up and for a book this intense it was inevitable.

I also want to point out that I would rather label this as a retelling rather than a LGBT novel because it was hand down one of the best and accurate retelling I have ever read. It pointed out and given us a reason why Achilles was ravenous after Patroclus’ death. I didn’t it label LGBT because for me really I didn’t felt that the love they have at all is different from any other love. Labeling it makes it different so I prefer not to. Nonetheless I love our LGBT community and will definitely find a better book to suit them in my Reading Challenge.

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In conclusion I give this masterpiece 5 Royal Stars and a spot in my hall of fame forever.
Thank you for reading!

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