‘The Song of Achilles’ Reignited my Inner Percy Jackson Kid

Growing up, I loved reading all things fantasy. Any book or series that could take me away from my normal life in my normal town was immediately right up my alley, whether it be a European wizarding school or a high school full of secret vampires, I was hooked. However, my favorite series was easily the Percy Jackson books by author, Rick Riordan. The way he wove together thrilling stories about average kids my own age with the myths from ancient Greece made me excited to read, to learn, and to live through these experiences from the books myself. As I have gotten older, I have looked back at these novels fondly and can still to this day recite every Greek God or Goddess and what they had control of. Over the winter break, I found another book that brought back these same feelings and allowed me to flex my Greek Mythology muscle that I hadn’t utilized in years. If you are an ex-Percy Jackson kid like myself, I cannot recommend The Song of Achilles enough. 

This book, written by Madeline Miller, is a more adult-level retelling of the ancient Greek myths that Riordan had acquainted my middle school self with, as it revolves around the hero Achilles and his close friend, Patroclus, as they navigate the events of the Trojan War.

*Mild spoilers from here on*

In Homer’s writing, it is rumored that the pair are lovers but in Miller’s retelling, this rumor is confirmed as she writes a story of love, loss, and war all set on the backdrop of stories familiar in the literary canon already. This book held my attention for the full time I read it and I hardly wanted to put it down. Achilles’ fate is one sealed in history but I still begged Miller to change his destiny as I neared the end of the novel and grew attached to the relationship formed between him and Patroclus. The way she writes romance is moving and tender and made me openly cry at times. The way she writes loss is even better, with the emotions being felt by not only her characters but by the readers as well. 

As someone who grew up obsessed with the Percy Jackson series, it felt like a fun cameo everytime a new God or Goddess or Mythical being was mentioned that I was already familiar with, such as Chiron, the centaur who trained heroes for war. Even if you did not grow up a fan of these novels, I cannot stop recommending this book to everyone I have encountered since the day I finished it. It was the perfect blend of romance, adventure, and history that left me excited to read more of the Greek myth retellings put out by Miller.