The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, belongs to the historical fiction genre and is a retelling of Homer's Iliad. When Patroclus is exiled from his home for an act of violence, he meets Achilles, the son of a sea goddess, who is destined to be the greatest Greek hero ever known. The two form a friendship despite the disapproval of Achilles' mother. When news reaches them that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped by the Trojan prince, Achilles, with Patroclus in tow, leaves to join other Greek heroes to fight in the war as he is enticed by the promise of a glorious destiny. Unbeknownst to them, their futures are influenced by forces over which they have no control.
The Song of Achilles is beautiful read. The novel is a retelling of a famous story yet it tells it from anew and original perspective. Patroculus' narration may seem naive or childish to some readers but I appreciated that the novel did not glorify the lives of legendary Greek heroes without acknowledging their flaws. The development of Achilles' and Patroclus' relationship seems to be rushed so that the 'real plot' of the novel can start, however, once the main conflict of the novel begins, the sequence of events is logical and convincing. The most fascinating aspect of The Song of Achilles is that it retells a story that most people are familiar with yet still leaves them devastated with the ending.