“Name one hero who was happy”: The Song of Achilles, A Book Review


Picture of the front cover art of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Lizzy Khater, Senior Staff Writer

This book contains some adult themes and foul language. 


“Name one hero who was happy.”

They were only 15 then when Achilles asked Patroclus for an answer. Still hopeful, ambitious young things. Living on Mount Pelion under the shelter of Chiron’s pale rose quartz cave. Among the fig and olive trees, snow and rivers, under the stars. Learning to gather berries and fruit, carve wood and spearheads, use bows and arrows. At night, they sit by the fire telling stories. There, Achilles plays the lyre and sings. He was meant for such, they both were. But the ignorant wars of men driven by greed, hang onto his and Patroclus’ thread, tightly woven by the Fates. He was dragged into the killing of the Trojan War simply for his half god nature, lured out of the cave by the pride and honor of a hero. Aristos Achaion, the best of the Greeks. 

They were meant to live under the stars, telling the stories of the constellations, among the moss of the river banks after winter. 

“I’m going to be the first.” Achilles declared, ambition gleaming in the green of his eyes. 


In The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller tells the classical story of The Iliad in a slightly new light. This retelling, told from the perspective of Patroclus, starts from the very beginning of his life and takes readers on a beautifully written journey. Readers are immersed into Miller’s storytelling, watching the book and its plot unfurl before your very eyes. You find yourself standing only a couple steps behind the characters, taken back centuries to Ancient Greece, watching two souls intertwine. 

Leaving readers overcome with emotion, this book remains memorable and well-loved by many such as French teacher Mrs. Leigh LaMonica. 

“I always really like when a book takes a story that we already know and goes a little deeper into it. I feel like most people know about the story of The Iliad. You know the traditional story and it’s fun to see it from a different point of view,” Mrs. LaMonica said. 

I found that reading the story surrounding the Trojan War from Patroclus’ perspective placed an emphasis on the beautiful relationship formed between him and Achilles. It reaches readers at an emotional level and helps forge a connection with the characters. 

Picture of the back cover art of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Junior Leah Renner slo found a special connection with this book and the characters she got to know through reading. 

My favorite thing about the book was definitely the love story between Achilles and Patroclus, how they started out young and growing up together, and how their relationship with each other was very wholesome,” Leah said.

Madeline Miller strings together the perfect words to form the beauty of The Song of Achilles. Each word meaningfully and purposefully placed to build up the story and shape the relationships between characters. The soul-stirring ending leaves me hanging on to the book after days of having finished it, giving me reason to rate it a 5 out 5 stars.