Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review Time! - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller











Title: The Song of Achilles


Author: Madeline Miller

Genre: LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F,) Mythology, Historical Fiction*, Fantasy*, Magic Realism* (*ish)

Amazon: UK - USA





A few starting notes:
If any queer men have reviewed this then let me know! I'd love to link to your review.

This was actually a recommendation from the lovely Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging - who was spot-on with her rec! :)






Premise:

This is a retelling of the story of the Iliad (the Trojan War and all that jazz) from the point-of-view (POV) of Patroclus, the beloved companion of hero Achilles.

What follows is a Greek tragedy of love and war.






Best bits:

Uerkjnhrylojmnprkmtnoltknklnmnbreope!!!!!!!! This bookkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guys, I love Patroclus - HE WAS A PURE PRECIOUS LITTLE GEMSTONE, AND THEY DIDN'T DESERVE HIM DAMMIT!

The strong voice of Patroclus comes through the POV - and I think this was a smart plan. Achilles is a lot more likeable through Patroclus' eyes than I think he would be in 3rd person.









Honestly, Achilles can be a bit of a douche - and it's only through Patroclus' love and light that we see him as more than just the boring role of 'the perfect hero.'

Patroclus is the first and foremost strong point of this book - he is just so exceptionally... lovely and wonderful, that I would love to actually meet him.

And even though I had some knowledge of the story of the Iliad, and knew how this was going to end, IT STILL RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND HANDED IT TO ME (in a good way.)

And the writing is completely awesome-sauce and good quality :)





Not so great bits:

*rolls up sleeves* - Look, for a book that won a women's fiction prize, I expected less of a sh**y role for the women.

We have few female characters - in a way, that's not too bad, because we're at war with a Greek army, so I wouldn't expect that many women around.

But every woman in this book gets either married off to the highest bidder and/or against her will, raped, murdered, or some combination of all three.

There's a lot of rape here - and it's used as a throwaway plot device, just something that happens. Again, probably not unrealistic - but the emotion, the trauma, and the victim seriously needed more attention.











I've seen - out and about there in Internet-land - criticism of Patroclus' representation.

Some people seem to think that he was overly feminised or forced too much into the 'wife' role in the relationship, but without knowing the backgrounds of the reviewers, I honestly can't tell you whether this is a legitimate concern from queer reviewers, or masculine insecurity from heterosexual reviewers.

What I can tell you is that I didn't find him overly feminised at any point.

There's some sexy-times, much violence, and swearing, as well as the aforementioned references to rape.





Verdict:

OK, there were some issues. But I loved this book.

AND I ADORE PATROCLUS - HE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART DAMMIT!!!!! THEY DID NOT DESERVE HIS PURE GOODNESS!!!!!!!!




Update 19th Feb 2017: I've become aware that this book has issues regarding the Bury Your Gays trope. If anyone has a post or review which discusses this, I would be more than happy to link to it.




















12 comments:

  1. A BOOK BASED ON THE TROJAN WAR THATS ALSO LGBT???? WHY ISN'T THIS IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW?! Sorry for screaming but I just get really excited over Greek Mythology lol.

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    Replies
    1. Lol, this is a great book - and I honestly think you'd love it! :)

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  2. I actually just bought this book a week ago, so I am looking forward to reading it! It's a shame about such a bad portrayal of woman though. It kind of breaks my heart a little bit as well. I just think even if you are trying to refer to the past, there will at least the odd strong female character.

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    1. There are strong female characters... but even the strong ones can't escape the sh*ty treatment of women in this book, unfortunately.

      Don't let that put you off though - overall this is a really enjoyable book, and I loved it!

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  3. I loved this book too! It's SO AMAZING. And I agree. I always thought Achilles was kind of an arrogant ass before, but looking at him through Patroclus' eyes makes him seem so much more likeable.

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    1. Totally agree! Poor Patroclus *sniffles*

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  4. I had never heard of this, but from your review it sounds so good! Definitely putting it on my TBR :-)

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  5. SO I JUST RECENTLY BOUGHT THIS AND I'M REALLY EXCITED. MY FEELS ARE READY. (Um, probably not. Ahem.) But I see people review this a lot and all the reviews I've come across are flailing. So. I definitely need this. (Although, that saying about "my feels are ready" I've owned it for about a month and still haven't read it yet.😂 Am I procrastinating the pain???? I AM MAYBE NOT READY.😂)

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    Replies
    1. READ THE THING AND FEEL OUR PATROCLUS-RELATED PAIN!!!!!!!! ;)

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  6. Ahhh so glad you loved this!! Yeah, it has some issues, but like your fave can be problematic but still your fave if you address the problems. And like you said, a lot of it is probably historically accurate - that doesn't make it okay or acceptable, but it's fitting for the story and the time it's set in. But it's just so heartbreaking, isn't it?!

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    1. THEY DIDN'T DESERVE HIM DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And no book is perfect. As long as we keep our eyes open to their shortcomings, it's fine (THEY DIDN'T DESERRRRRRVVVE HIMMMMMMMM! KFNTHTPIRKNHLKPE!)

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