My interest and enthusiasm for mythology is something I’ve been sharing through my social media platforms for a long time now. So, when I would tell people that I hadn’t in fact read the most hyped mythology retelling - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - people were often confused. I mean, I get it. For a while I was also kind of confused as to why I hadn’t read it. But, I have always struggled when it comes to reading books which have received a lot of hype online. And honestly, I can’t think of a book which I have seen receive the same level of hype as The Song of Achilles.

I read Circe by Madeline Miller at the end of 2022, and I think on some level I started with Circe because it was the less hyped of the two. I didn’t enjoy Circe anywhere near as much as everyone else online seemed to, which was disappointing - although, I didn’t hate it by any means, I gave it a three star rating.

So, when it came to choosing the first book for my book club Mad About Mythology, I knew that it was finally time for me to read The Song of Achilles.

What I liked about the book

I really enjoyed the writing style - more so than in Circe actually. I also enjoyed the character development, and how much Achilles and Patroclus grew throughout the story. There were a lot of moments which demonstrated the emotional journey (I hate that phrase!) that both these characters went on, both separately, and together. Their relationship and the way they viewed each other changed a lot over the course of the book, and I really appreciated that. Their feelings for eachother reflected the events of the novel, and I feel like Patroclus especially reacted to a lot of things in a very realistic way. I don’t often see that level of development in a book like this, so when it is there, it really stands out.

What I didn’t like about this book

Okay, I don’t say this very often but - I think this book actually could have been longer! I just feel like there was more to this story. I think my main problems when it comes to The Song of Achilles aren’t actually with the book at all, but rather with the way that people online talk about it. So many people push this book as ‘spicy’ which (in my opinion at least) it absolutely is not. There are romantic/sexual scenes within the book, but they are not graphic when compared with the books which usually receive the ‘spicy’ label online. When I see people talk about this book on social media platforms - especially on TikTok - it is described as a ‘heartbreaking romance’ and I mean, it is sad, and it does have a romance in it, but it is so much more than that. So I don’t have any big criticisms of the novel itself, other than the fact that it didn’t make me cry. Everyone told me it would make me cry, and I don’t know if it is just because I knew the story, and I knew what would happen, but I didn’t even get a little bit teary. It was sad, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t make me cry…

So, overall, I am glad I finally picked The Song of Achilles up, after all this time. It was a great book to kick off my new book club with, and I gave it a solid four star rating.

Have you read The Song of Achilles? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!