The Song of Achilles Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Madeline Miller earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught Shakespeare, Greek and Latin to high school students for 20 years. Additionally, she studied in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on adapting classical texts to modern forms. According to her biography information on her website, all of this and more led to her authoring her first book, The Song of Achilles, in 2012.
This extensive study of Classics, including Greek mythology, and the unique aspect of transforming the stories into contemporary forms works perfectly for her to author this book.
The story is of Achilles, one of the greatest warriors in Greek mythology. Born of a human father and Goddess mother, the traditional tales are of his part in the Trojan war and his warrior strength that is unequaled.
Miller’s tale holds true to the traditional aspects of his story, but weaves intricate details of imagination and intrigue to his life not found elsewhere.
Many Greek characters appear in the story, all fitting perfectly into Miller’s dream of what Achilles would have been while remaining loyal to their historically known characteristics.
While I enjoyed Circe, by Miller, more (see the book review I did in June of N3), this was an entertaining, utterly unique novel I am glad to have read. It’s certainly not for everyone - as Greek mythology goes - there are scenes that aren’t for the faint of heart. So long as you know what you’re getting into - and that the novel shies away from nothing present in classical mythology, the story is fascinating and enjoyable.
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