3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Passable attempt at a new angle,
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This review is from: The Song of Achilles (Kindle Edition)
At the mid point I nearly gave up - the narrative had not reached the war and, knowing the story already, I knew it wouldn't exactly make it to the end. Oddly the last part of the book is perhaps the strongest in coping with the structural problem of using Patroclus as narrator. The trouble with this characterisation of Patroclus is that he is just so ... gay (as teenagers use it). His potential virtues only emerge very late in the narrative making him a fairly unsympathetic cowardly, soppy, glory chaser. I was hoping that the evocation of full blown gay love might be convincing but there was nothing here to explain the passion that would drive Achilles in his final actions. During the war the narrator gets more and more irritating because of his self-denial about heroism and his nagging to make Achilles do the "right things". At times the narrative suddenly takes on an incongruous modern perspective. There are other novels much more successful in bringing these stories alive. No need for a new Mary Renault - you can still buy the books!
The 3 stars are for the end section which packs some emotional punch. It is the female perspective around Thetis that is most intriguing - forced to have a child with a mortal in order to subvert her full destiny, she then has to constantly guard and steer his birthright whilst knowing that her love of him is doomed through his unalterable mortality. A real dilemma of motherhood!