I hate to admit it, but the book's cover first drew me in. It was just so shiny. The real gold, of course, lies beneath the cover, tucked among the pages of Madeline Miller's first novel, Song of Achilles.
The magnificently crafted and gripping bestseller took my breath away. The students in my study hall can attest to my irrepressible outbursts and gasps over the course of my reading. To say I finished it in a couple of days would be an understatement; I devoured it.
Miller's cleverly adapted rendition of Homer's Iliad is what makes the book brilliant. The immense research she must have conducted in order to produce such mesmerizing and action-packed details is more than noticeable.
While the book does satisfy any Greek mythology junkie's thirst for blood, vengeance and precise military strategy, its profound exposing of the human heart tugs hard at a reader's disbelieving heartstrings.
Song of Achilles chronicles the relationship between the fleet-footed and glorified Greek hero Achilles and his quietly brilliant and painfully observant companion, Patroclus. Although Achilles' agility and skill throughout the Trojan War are stupefying, the relationship between these two childhood friends is more astounding. The reader is transported back to a time of lyres and princely oaths to follow the friendship of two boys from the age of 14 as they face themselves, their families, the gods and the most pressing of decisions.
The book features the familiar, such as Odysseus, Menelaus, Zeus and Apollo, along with numerous other characters from The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Miller's attention to detail is undeniable elegant. But her ability to intertwine and seamlessly blend such classic epics while adding new details and perspectives is most incredible.
Good luck trying to keep a clear head as you bear witness to the eternal bond of these two young men sandwiched between the expectations of the gods and the brutally macabre realities of war.