The Rainbow Library Volume Two: “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller



The Song of Achilles is story about a famous fighter and his struggle to keep love in his life style.

Ella: New month, new book! Alejandro, thoughts on “The Song of Achilles?”

Alejandro: “The Song of Achilles” left me in emotional shambles and untethered me from this mortal coil. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. “Percy Jackson” gays, this one’s for you.

“The Song of Achilles,” by Madeline Miller, is a romance and action novel set in the Greek Heroic Age. Based on the Homeric epic “The Iliad,” the novel is written from the perspective of Patroclus, who describes the lives and adventures of both him and Achilles (a.k.a the definition of “and they were roommates.”) The pair meet at a young age, and as they grow older they form a romantic relationship while simultaneously navigating their dangerous destinies.

Ella: As a lover of Greek mythology, I was really impressed by this book. It’s not often that gay characters or relationships are mentioned in modern retellings of Greek myths, and I found it refreshing to see that sort of representation in the genre—especially since people have historically ignored the queer stories in ancient myths like that of Achilles and Patroclus.

Alejandro: I wholeheartedly agree; Greek mythology is the foundation of nearly all western literature. You can even trace the art of mythological retellings back to 400 CE! So to see such vivid, complex and complete queer representation in these stories is something to applaud.

Ella: My thoughts exactly! Another thing that really stood out to me about this book is Miller’s ability to tug on the reader’s heartstrings. Few other books have caused me as much pain and grief as this one. I think this book perfectly encapsulates the flaws and feelings that can be found in any nuanced, romantic relationship.

Alejandro: I loved this book’s emphasis on emotion. Too often, romance books rely on the sexual tension between characters for their relationship to develop. While those books certainly have their time and place, Miller’s focus on the emotional connection between Achilles and Patroclus makes them come alive. Their love for each other was tangible throughout the story—and they weren’t even in a confirmed relationship!

Ella: I agree, Miller definitely distinguishes herself as a romance writer who can write beautifully without a need to oversexualize their characters. It’s important to note, however, that this book is so much more than romance. I appreciate that it stayed true to typical Greek mythology fashion by including lots of arrogant male characters and epic battles.

Alejandro: True, the book had such a wide variety of moments that nothing felt too repetitive. It brought a more nuanced perspective to stories that can seem very two-dimensional. Miller has truly done the work to create a well-rounded story accompanied by fully-realized characters.