How to Rip My Heart into A Million Pieces: The Song of Achilles

A recommendation for you: don’t look at a list of heart-wrenching books unless you want to be sobbing for hours.Trust me when I say I haven’t cried this much since Clockwork Princess, and before that, never this much. This book was honestly just so perfect, so prepare for plenty of fan-girling. After all, it is Fangirling Favorites Friday! 

P.S. I’m in the airport as I write this, as I’m traveling to London for my very first time! I’ve tried to schedule my posts ahead of time, but if WordPress fails, I apologize.

It is Ancient Greece. The age of heroes. The young awkward prince, Patroclus, has been exiled to Phthia, home to king Peleus and the perfect Prince Achilles. Despite how different they are, the two young boys become friends, as they become more learned in the arts of both medicine and war. Eventually, they become something more, much to the displeasure of Thetis, Achille’s cruel goddess mother. When Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Achilles goes to war to fulfill his destiny. Patroclus, though torn between love and fear, goes with him, unaware that the following years will test everything that they treasure.

Where to begin, where to begin? Why don’t we start from the outside this time: with the writing. Everything is written from the perspective of Patroclus, and the events that transpire in the end of the book make this feat even more remarkable. The writing is so smooth and everything just flows, almost like a song, hence the title of the book. It just grabs your attention and refuses to let you go, refuses to let you remember the whole story of the Iliad and what must happen until events are unfolding faster than you can foresee them. Speaking of speed, the pacing too was perfect. In other hands or perspectives, parts of the book such as the siege portion might be considered slow, but if there was not a lot of action happening outside, there was enough going on with their personal lives.

The world too, of Ancient Greece, was one of my favorites. I’ve always been fascinated with ancient civilizations, especially Greece, as well as their mythology. In my opinion, the tale of Achilles is one known by many but never really retold nor expounded upon, despite what an unlikely tale he has. For example, in many versions, he is almost completely invincible. This is because as a baby, his mother dipped him into the River Styx, which would turn him impenetrable, but held him by his heel. This never really made sense to me. Why wouldn’t she then just dip his heel too? And why would Achilles become so enraged as to kill Hector, which would in turn eventually be his end, according to the prophecy? As loyal as he may have been, it did not make sense that the death of one friend would lead one of the greatest warriors in history to desire his own death.

Personally, Miller’s version makes much more sense to me. Achilles’ greatness as a warrior, especially his speed, is mostly attributed to his godly side, that of his mother Thetis. Achilles is a charming and honest young man, though almost a bit naive. He is very trusting, which sometimes leads to others attempting to mislead him. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Thetis is constantly watching over him, making sure that his fame and path to godhood is free of obstacles. One such obstacle, in her opinion, is Patroclus. Patroclus too, is honest and kind, but he is more wary of the world due to his childhood. He always seems to want to give more and more of himself, to make sure that others are happy, before he himself is content. 

Patroclus and Achilles are just soooo damn cute together! I couldn’t help but swoon over them 24/7! I once read that rereading a book is like looking through the baby albums of your OTP and watching them grow up again. Rereading this book just this morning, I thought, “Never have I felt this more keenly.” They had an easy chemistry together, no matter how much other’s wanted to tear them apart. Their desire to protect each other was so fiercely strong that it left no room to doubt their love.

Honestly, I don’t know why you wouldn’t read this book if you haven’t already. It is one of the best books I have ever read. Ever. A word of warning though: when you do read it (when, not if) be prepared for a major book hangover. And whatever you do, don’t  forget the tissues!

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3 thoughts on “How to Rip My Heart into A Million Pieces: The Song of Achilles

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