Guest Review: The Song of Achilles


by Daphnis

Reasons: Gay protagonists and romance


The Song of Achilles is a book based off Homer’s Iliad, but with a focus on Patroclus. Readers of the Iliad might remember him as Achilles’ close companion most people see as his lover, who was the only person who could convince him to do anything. In this, he and Achilles are canonical boyfriends, and their relationship is explored in great detail. Another major character in this book is Briseis, formerly just Achilles’ war prize, who here is given agency and depth. It covers Patroclus’ life from childhood to the war and beyond.

The book is beautifully written, and is a good way to get into the Iliad if you haven’t read it. Some people who have read the Iliad before note that the relationship dynamic between Achilles and Patroclus is a bit different than in the Iliad, and some are upset that Patroclus is portrayed as not being a good soldier, even though he was one of the best in the Iliad. Despite that, however, it’s a nice book for anyone interested in historical fiction with a gay relationship. The style of writing, as preciously noted, is incredible and musical, and it’s well worth the read just for that. It’s also a good way to get a sense for the Iliad if you can’t read it.


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