I was blown away by Circe last year, which made my list of Outstanding Reads 2019. So treated myself to the Audible edition of this offering, hoping I’d like it as much. I am including this review in the Wyrd and Wonder 2020 event.
BLURB: Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess…
I’ve truncated the blurb, because I’m not going to assume that everyone who reads this review knows the complete story of the Trojan War and if you don’t, then the second half of the blurb gets far too spoilery, in my view. I loved the narration – Frazer Douglas does a stormingly good job of depicting awkward, sensitive Patroclus, who is the opposite of Achilles in almost every way. I always enjoy a story told in first person viewpoint if it’s done well – and Miller’s writing is sublime. We see, taste and smell ancient Greece without sacrificing any of the narrative drive or characterisation. I particularly loved how Douglas portrays the other characters, such as Chiron, the wise centaur who taught the boys on Mount Peilion, and particularly, smooth-tongued Odysseus.
There was a point in the story, given it is told in Patroclus’s viewpoint, where I wondered how Miller was going to cope with taking the story forward. But she dealt with it extremely well and made it entirely believable. In short, this was another masterful retelling, that had me gripped right to the end. And given that I knew what was going to happen – that’s a huge achievement. This book has garnered a great deal of attention and praise, which is richly deserved. I’m conscious that I’m late to the party, probably only next door’s dog hasn’t yet read this one, but in the unlikely event that you haven’t yet manged to fit it into your reading schedule, I highly recommend it – whether you enjoy Greek myth retellings or not.
I’m kicking myself that I haven’t read either book, something I need to remedy at some point. Lovely review, Sarah😁
Thank you, Tammy – they are both sublime reads…
Great review!!!! Everytime I think of this book, I remember how I wept towards the end. Such an amazing and memorable read it is.
Thank you, Sahi:). It was a real heartbreak – though as I already knew the story, I was sort of prepared…
I think being prepared was worse for me… I started sobbing in anticipation before the event even happened in the book 😬😬😬
Lol… well, there is that! But her magic is making us really CARE about them – particularly as the classic version regards them as a selfish and uncaring pair, caught up in their own concerns and heedless of the damage they caused…
I don’t even know the classic version, atleast the book. I’ve only seen tv or movie versions but I can see what you mean. Her words are magic and it’s so easy to get lost in them 😍😍
I have Circe lined up for one of my future reads, and I’m thrilled at the idea of an author exploring the old Greek myths, which were a constant source of fascination back in my long-lost school days…
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
It is a wonderful read – while I loved The Song of Achilles, I preferred Circe as I particularly loved the feminist aspect.
I’m so glad to hear you loved this book too. I thought it was just such a beautiful retelling. I still need to read Circe, but I fully expect it to be equally as wonderful based on all of the reviews.
I absolutely loved this one, but I personally preferred Circe by a whisker as I found the female protagonist riveting…
I enjoyed this one too and need to pick up Circe – soon.
I’d love to get your take on Circe. I loved this one – but I preferred Circe, which I thought was an astonishing feminist take on a character who was vilified and then dismissed in the typically male-centric society of ancient Greece.
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Oh, I do love the sound of this! I’m such a sucker for myth re-tellings 🙂
It’s wonderfully done, too:)). As is her book, Circe – which I liked even more. She is a lovely writer…