Eight Reasons Why You Need to Read The Song of Achilles

The ancient Greeks associated 8 with unhappiness and imperfection. I rate this book 8 out of 5 stars because  a) it will leave you in tears and b) you will curse me.

  1. It’s the first Ancient Greek retelling that has actually made me want to go read the original. I mean, you recommend me Shakespeare and I’ll give you a dirty look. But this book made me want to find the Iliad (by Homer) and read it in Ancient Greek. It was that good ~ I’m seriously regretting not taking the Classical Civilization courses offered at my school.


    Me. With books written before the 1700s.

  2. It’s a retelling in the eyes of a minor character. The Iliad is about the Trojan war, so it features all the major players (Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Paris, Helen and Hector). So I was a little unsure of who exactly I was reading about, but it all worked out in the end.
  3. The prose. Dear lord, the style of writing! Light, descriptive and very very sweet. A sort of stream-of-consciousness but also very heart-wrenching, this book has already made my top books of 2016.


    ’nuff said.

  4. Patroclus. An amazing character and even better point of view. Troubled, observant, he truly makes for an amazing narrator. His realizations are sweet and profound and he is dynamic. If Helen’s face started the war, then Patroclus is the one who ended it. Those of you that have read it before will know what I’m talking about.
  5. Achilles. A flawed character filled with hubris and a whole other bunch of greek words that mean bad things. He is put on a pedestal and at the same time, torn off of it. Seeing him through Patroclus’s eyes makes him more nuanced and likable.
  6. Thetis. Excuse my language, but THIS. BITCH. You need to read her so you can rage along with me. Was she the original homophobe?

    At first, I was like : Why?


    And at the end, I wanted to claw off her sea nymph face.

  7. The romance. Yes, its LGBTQ. Yes, it is sexual. But in a sweet way. It feels more like an actual representation of a relationship (and what comes with it, wink wink) than fetishization. It deals with homophobia (in ancient greek times), masculinity, and jealousy. Neither parties are perfect and they really are perfect halves. They are OTP material.
  8. The war. While many people have complained that book does not focus as much on the actual war in Troy, when it does, it does it well. The last half of the book is wonderfully tense and entrancing. The descriptions and battles are amazing – the prose really shines here. However, do not go into this book expecting war from page one. Like the summary says, the story is mainly about Patroclus’ and Achilles’ relationship.
  9. The ending. Everyone needs to read this so that when they finish reading it, they stay up all night reflecting on their feels (as well as occasionally cursing the gods). You regret it, but you don’t regret it. #myinnerphilosopher #aristotlecan’ttouchthis

I totally lied about 8 reasons. But I’m not lying about the Greek curses!

“βάλλ’ εἰς κόρακας” – Throw yourself to the crows

As in, Sarah, I hope you go to hell after giving me a book hangover.

κόπρος – Dung.

As in, Sarah, you are a piece of dung for telling me about this book

kuna  – Female dog

As in, Thetis is a class-A female dog.

Honestly, these were the most appropriate I could put on my blog… but let it never be said that the Greeks didn’t know how to throw shade.




30 thoughts on “Eight Reasons Why You Need to Read The Song of Achilles

  1. Bookenstein says:

    OMG. This is hidden deep on my TBR list. I think I might have to bump it up. Classical Greek myths are my absolute favorite, and I actually liked reading the Illiad way back when. Also… bless anything that puts Patroclus and Achilles together. Awesome post! This made me so much more excited about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex says:

    I have this book but I haven’t started reading it…….yet. I love the history of Ancient Greece but I don’t know anything about it except for the Trojan War. I’m really excited to start reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hiraethforthepages says:

    This book isn’t like my usual reads, yet it looks great and maybe I’ll be giving it a shot! One of my friends has read it, loved and raved about it but I was still a little hesitant (you see Ancient Greece is something I LOVED studying but the myths were something I have never really read into), but after this post I think you may be changing things 🙂 It is quite hard to resist a 8/5 star book XD

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sublimereads says:

      I know! Honestly, I don’t think I would have picked it up if not for the goodreads reviews of some of my favourite bloggers! You don’t really need a background in the myths, thankfully. If you’re lucky, you might even find the edition with the discussion and explanation at the back! Haha, I think 8 is my new favourite number 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Danni Mae says:

    My fiance wanted to write a modern translation of The Oddessy at some point but nixed it because there were too many things that wouldn’t translate well to modern text, and he’d have to practically change the story- or the way it was intended to be read. Interesting to see there’s someone that actually did that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria says:

    Great review, I love the format you chose. Song of Achilles has been on my list for so long; I actually purchased a copy and haven’t read it yet. This definitely makes me want to pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

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