SO I JUST BAWLED MY EYES OUT. I hate when people see me cry, so when I realised shit was gonna go down soon, I grabbed the book, locked myself in the bathroom and read the last few chapters crying silently. I don’t know what’s sadder, the way I read the ending or the ending itself.
Now, the fact that the ending is pretty freaking tragic is not a spoiler – this book is a retelling of the lives of Achilles and Patroclus, and their fight in the Trojan War. We all know how that ended.
I loved everything about this book. The writing is beautiful but simple (nothing too fancy – I’m not a fan of pretentious language), the plot is amazing (obviously this is not entirely the author’s merit, as it’s a retelling, but she managed to weave all her own inventions into the original story beautifully), and the characters are SO DAMN LOVEABLE. The story is absolutely addictive – I read the book in three sittings, and whenever I put it down it was all I could think about. There was not a single moment when I felt bored or like I wasn’t completely enjoying myself. It was perfect.
The story of Achilles and Patroclus is usually told as a strong friendship, but in this book it’s presented as a romance. That’s what made me want to read this book in the first place, because let’s be honest here, I’m always a slut for gay romance. Now, I may read a lot of stuff that includes LGBT+ characters, but that doesn’t mean I love all of it. There is some terrible representation out there, and I’ve read some really bad books. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THEM. Achilles and Patroclus’s relationship is pure gold. They are relationship GOALS. Their love is based on communication, they tell each other everything and never lie. This is the kind of shit I want to see. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to see beautiful couples destroy themselves because they’re too stupid to talk about their problems? THIS. THIS WAS SO GOOD.
Obviously, their realtionship has ups and downs, but ultimately they always support, love and respect each other. Patroclus is possibly the sweetest person in this world- he is such a likable character. If I had to go on an adventure and could choose a few characters from books to bring along, Patroclus would be one of them. He is respectful, loyal, caring, and he has such a good heart. Achilles was not as likable as Patroclus (in my opinion at least), but he was still an amazing character, and I rooted for him all the way through the book.
The author managed to combine romance with an epic war story in an extremely exciting way. The atmosphere in this book was always perfectly set, all the characters (even the minor ones) were memorable, and the ending, although tragic, was satisfying. There was this one little thing that I was waiting for, and I was really scared it might not happen – that would have left me sobbing and possibly not sleeping for days – but it did. It happened and I loved it so much. UGH.
This was Madeline Miller’s first novel, published in 2011, and I can’t wait to read more of her work. She has written a short story which is part of an anthology I believe, but no new novel yet. I hope she does soon, and I hope it will be just as epic and just as gay. Please.
‘Till next time and happy reading!