Book Review – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the author’s first novel, retelling the life of the ancient Greek hero Achilles and the events of The Iliad by Homer. The story is told from the perspective of Patroclus, a Greek prince from a relatively small yet proud kingdom. To his father, the boy is a disappointment: small, slight, and timid. His life with this cruel, unloving father is empty and cold. After accidentally killing another noble boy who tries to take something from him, Patroclus is exiled to the kingdom of Phthia, to be fostered by King Peleus.

Initially ostracized by the other boys for his crime, he attracts the attention of Peleus’s son Achilles, a demigod destined to become the greatest hero of his time, becoming his faithful companion. As the two grow up together and become lovers, however, destiny becomes a portent of doom for any prolonged peace and happiness in their future together. Nevertheless, the call of the greatest campaign in their history becomes too difficult for one such as Achilles to ignore, compelling the two to meet whatever destiny has in store for them on the plains of Troy.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 10, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Star Wars Age of Resistance CELast night I started reading Star Wars: Age of Resistance, which is a collector’s edition hardcover magazine celebrating the story and production of the Sequel trilogy of films. It starts with a timeline of events for the whole saga, a section which had me worried about the whole book. The little snippets of text for each segment of the timeline were of such bizarrely varying quality. There were typos, misused words, and awful syntax in more than a few places. Getting past that section into more of the meat of it, however, has been better. It’s more celebratory than deeply informational, but I’m enjoying that. There’s some nice high quality concept art included too.


Recently Finished

The Song of AchillesOver the weekend I finished reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and goodness I don’t know why I put off reading this book for so long. It finds itself on a very short list of books that have gotten genuine tears out of me. A particular testament to just how effective it was is the fact that I’ve read The Iliad before, so it’s not as if I couldn’t see things coming. Though there are a number of things omitted, this novel serves as a very worthy retelling of that epic too, the rage of Achilles being oh so important to that story. The only actual drawback to having read this is now I have to wait until her next novel, whenever that may be. She adapts this mythology so dang well, I just want more. I should have a review finished and posted soon.


Reading Next

I’m still determined to read Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett this month, so I’m bound to get that started soon. I also want to quickly read To be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers, so I might try to get through that first. Haven’t decided yet. Not much else to say on this front, I’ve said as much about these books before.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – March 3, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Song of AchillesOver the weekend I started reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I’m sitting at 13% of the way through it at the moment, so it’s still fairly early on. I’ve really missed reading Miller’s writing, which gives these old tales a modern feeling without compromising on the actual content of the myths she’s drawing from. I’m enjoying Patroclus as a perspective character, a pitiable youth unloved by his own family who struggles to live up to what is expected of royal sons and is haunted by past mistakes. I’m enjoying seeing him grow as a person as he becomes closer with Achilles. Knowing how formidable of a fighter he becomes at Troy, I look forward to seeing what precisely spurs him into becoming a great warrior in his own right.


Recently Finished

Berserk 27Since last week I read through volumes 26 and 27 of Berserk by Kentaro Miura,. It’s always a little hard to comment on volumes of manga, as they usually flow into each other as one continuous story, rather than having their own self-contained stories connected to a larger narrative. What felt like the biggest deal across these two volumes was Guts finally donning the berserker armor, which allows him to push himself beyond human limits against his inhuman enemies by dulling his sense of pain. It’s one of the most compelling examples of an ability cutting both ways I’ve seen, as it allows him to fight with more ferocity than ever before, but utterly wreaks havoc on his body.


Reading Next

Feet of ClayConsidering my reading pace as of late, I think I need to start Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett soon, which is the next book in the Discworld series that I need to read. As I did last year, I want to read one Discworld book every quarter of the year and there’s only one month left in Q1. I’m thinking I will try to squeeze in To be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers too, as it was a toss up between that book and Song of Achilles. It’s relatively short, so I would like to catch up a little on my reading lists by getting it finished. With no new Berserk volumes to read at the moment, I’m going to have to commit to a new slew of comics to get through. It’ll probably be some leftover Star Wars books, so I can actually catch up on all of those.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 24, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m between books at the moment. I meant to start reading volume 26 of Berserk by Kentaro Miura last night, but I got sidetracked.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Oddest JobsOver the weekend I finished reading the anthology Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, and I posted the review yesterday morning. None of the successive books in this trilogy lived up to my experience with Odd Jobs a few years ago, but I’m actually fine with this. I’m thinking that might have been lightning in a bottle, between the book itself and my mindset going into it. This book was for the most part consistently enjoyable, with a few more surprises along the way than the second one. I actually enjoyed this one more, as it had a couple of stories that were really something special, going to some wonderfully weird and imaginative places. This marks the first book completed for my Series Challenge for this year too, which feels pretty good.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesAs I’ve said for a couple weeks now, I’m going to start reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I should actually start any day now. It will feel good to read a more conventional novel again (not that it’s really been all that long). I definitely want to read through Berserk Vol. 26 first, but that won’t take very long. I’ll probably read through volume 27 right after too, to be honest. Other than that, I’m really not sure what book I’ll read next. I ought to figure out the comics I’m going to read next sooner. I’ve been good about getting those read so far this year and I want to keep that momentum going.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 17, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’m only sitting about 48% of the way through Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, which isn’t much progress since last week. My attention got a little divided over the weekend and I haven’t done any reading over the last couple of days. The two stories that I did read were pretty good though, the first dealing with the devotees of an old god in Scotland defending their deity’s shrine from undead U-boat sailors. The second offers an explanation for the long lost colony of Roanoke after a race of salamander people attack a small coastal town in North Carolina. I enjoyed the latter most because Hellboy needed to embark on a search for something throughout the deserted town in order to resolve the conflict peacefully, rather than just punching his way through the problem.


Recently Finished

Master & ApprenticeI got a surprise delivery last week, with my new copy of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray arriving in the mail. I’d been told to expect it, but hadn’t received a shipping notice or anything, so it’s sudden arrival was quite a pleasant surprise. I devoted time over the weekend to finishing it up, though I was regretfully unable to have a review done by now as well. It should be posted in the next couple of days. I got cut off just as things were getting really good, as it turns out, the climax having more surprises in store for me than I was expecting. The only drawback was that it felt like everything wrapped up and resolved too quickly. The way the events unfolded was fine, but I feel like there was leftover baggage between characters that I would have liked explored more. Some of the tension was only deflated by the end, rather than resolved.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesI pretty certain The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller will be next on the docket for me, though there is still an ARC I want to check out first. If it strikes a chord with me I’ll be reading that next. I am getting pretty excited to finally read Song of Achilles, though, as it’s weirdly a book I’ve often recommended to people but haven’t actually gotten to myself. I enjoyed Circe so much that I have high hopes for it. I also purchased two more volumes of Berserk by Kentaro Miura, which I’ll likely make short work of in the next week or two.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Top 5 Books I Read in 2018

A sentiment at the moment seems to be that 2018 has felt like a very long year, but honestly I feel like I blinked and we’re at the end of the year. Certain moments throughout the year feel like they happened ages ago, yet it also feels to me like Halloween just happened. Maybe my perception of time is a little skewed right now.

At any rate, here we are once again with my end of the year top five list, presenting the five books I enjoyed reading the most in 2018. They are in no particular order, nor do they need to have come out in this year.Read More »

Book Review – Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Circe is the newest novel by Madeline Miller, published on April 10 of this year. Though not a sequel, this is her second novel exploring the world of Ancient Greek mythology following her first novel The Song of Achilles, which I have yet to have the pleasure of reading myself. I have heard many great things about that book, but being a greater fan of The Odyssey than The Iliad I jumped at the chance to read an in-depth tale about Circe, the alluring goddess and sorceress of Aiaia.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/20

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

JourneyToTheCentreOfTheEarthI’m only about 25 pages in, but I recently started Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne as a lighter read to sure up the numbers for my reading goals this year. I’ve still got a lot of catch-up to do. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the older science fiction and/or adventure fiction I’ve read before, though I believe this is my first time reading one of the “lost world” genre. Since it’s a book first published in the mid 1800s I’m really interested to see how they interpreted worlds like this straight from the source.

GyoI’ve also started reading Gyo by Junji Ito, one of his books that I picked up a few months ago now. I’ve been meaning to get back to reading through those and a friend having read it herself inspired me to pick it up off the shelf. It’s honestly a lot different than what I was expecting, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I need to see it through to the end first, but some of the nature of the threat is vastly different than what I thought it would be in a way I find less appealing so far.

Recently Finished

CirceOver the weekend I powered through and finished Circe by Madeline Miller. I should have a review up within the next couple of days. I’ve got a few issues with it, but overall I liked the book a lot. Miller is exceptionally talented at faithfully adapting mythology into fiction. I feel like a lot of other media gets really indulgent with the source material, but this I believed as existing in the realm of classical myths through and through. Circe herself was a thoroughly interesting character too, and the changes Miller did make to expand her history and character worked really well.

DoctorAphraAndTheEnormousProfitI also finished reading Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by Kieron Gillen et al, which was a worthy send off for the writer and character’s creator. Aphra organizes a giant auction for the crystal she obtained, which contains the mind of an insane ancient Jedi, and as expected things go awry in spectacular fashion. Something I really love about this series is how little Aphra and her “companions” actually care for one another. When it comes down to it they’re truly out for themselves and I appreciate the commitment to their villainous sides. Darth Vader becomes involved in an awesomely satisfying way as well.

Reading Next

MovingPicturesI don’t intend to take very long with Journey to the Centre of the Earth, so hopefully I will be starting Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett soon, so I can finally continue with the Discworld series. I’m really disappointed with how much I’ve neglected it in 2018 thus far. I’m pretty sure this time last year I had completed two of them already.

Until next time!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/13

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

CirceI am currently about 40 pages into Circe by Madeline Miller and already I can see what a lot of the fuss is about. Part of me was admittedly a bit leery about how the mythology would be adapted, because usually when it is the author or other person with creative control takes a lot of liberties with the material. Reading this so far feels like a direct attempt to try to more closely capture the lives of these godly figures in  prose. It’s especially interesting to me because the myths are literally full of nymphs and I hadn’t really considered what their daily life would look like. Miller gives a really interesting interpretation of that thus far.

Recently Finished

TheLordoftheRingsI finally finished all of The Lord of the Rings! You can read my review of The Return of the King, my third and final review covering the book, here. My status with this book is to blame for the absence of one of these posts last week. I had to travel that weekend, which really threw off my reading plans. I had actually finished the story itself, but I was intent on reading at least most of the appendices, which were full of extended lore. I refused to count to book as finished until I’d read all of it. As a result my post last week would have been pretty much identical to the week before. I’m relieved to finally have it done and moved on to other books, but I did sincerely enjoy the experience.

Reading Next

DoctorAphraAndTheEnormousProfitI’ve listed Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by  Kieron Gillen et al on my currently-reading list on Goodreads, but I haven’t actually started it yet, so I’m definitely picking that up next. I’m only about three volumes away from catching up with the current Star Wars comic books I’m following, which has me pretty excited. I’m just now realizing that this is the last book in the Doctor Aphra series written by the character’s creator. I do hope that Simon Spurrier’s take is faithful.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/30

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

TheLordoftheRingsOh boy am I getting close to finished with The Lord of the Rings. I’ve got less than 100 pages to go of The Return of the King, which for the most part seems to be epilogue material. The Ring has been destroyed, but surprisingly there seems to be a fair amount of story left before this tale finally wraps up. I honestly can’t wait. I’ll be happy to finally be able to say I’ve read it, and more importantly I will be able to move on to other books without feeling like I’ve got unfinished business.  I have started debating whether or not I should read some of the appendices, which seem to fill in some gaps with actual narrative, rather than textbook-style information. We’ll see what I end up doing.

Recently Finished

ScreamingCitadelSince last week I read through The Screaming Citadel by Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, et al. It’s a Star Wars comic book volume that crosses over the main Star Wars series with the Doctor Aphra series. It took things in a weird direction that was stylistically interesting, but also a little boring in terms of plot. The main threat involved parasitic creatures, which is a well-worn path for science fiction. I enjoyed the dynamic between the unseasoned, plucky Luke Skywalker and the manipulative and self-serving Dr. Aphra. There was a good amount of friction and cooperation between the two that made the crossover feel more worthwhile.

Reading Next

MovingPicturesI’ve mentioned numerous times now that I plan to start Circe by Madeline Miller next, which I will hopefully have begun by next week (fingers crossed). I need to travel again this weekend, which may hinder reading progress. I also really need to continue reading the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, which I have neglected in 2018 so far. Next up in the series I need to read is Moving Pictures, which I have fortunately had a copy of for a while. It will simply be a matter of picking it up when I’m ready.