The topic of this month is Historical.
Genre: fantasy (Mythical Greece)
My Rating: 5 stars
This month we have to read a Historical book. I decided to read this book that although it is not strictly historical, because it talks about a myth, it sounds historical enough. In a sense, it could be also considered paranormal, as there are gods that interact with humans with magic tricks and fate and prophecies.
It tells us the story of Achilles and Patroclus from the perspective of the latter. Although it’s been told for more than two thousand years, it’s amazing that can be told again from a fresh point of view.
I loved it, that’s all I want to say. Patroclus meets Achilles when both of them were children. Patroclus is a prince that does not measure up to his father expectations. Therefore, when he has problems, the father exiles his child to the court of another king, Peleus. Achilles, the son of this king Peleus, is magnificent creature, a mortal born to a goddess, so he is handsome, charming, and powerful, and the best warrior since Heracles. For reasons unknown, this attractive prince becomes the closest friend of the exiled Patroclus.
As they grow up together, their feelings change into something more powerful. They have to be together for the rest of their lives, no matter what. What started as a friendship developed to an intense love story.
And, at the same time, the prophecies lurk in the background. So when they go to the Trojan War, you know that Fate is going to arrive and, even though I knew how it ended, I cried and wished things were different for them.
This is quite a lovely and refreshing retelling of the old story. But you don’t have to be afraid if you don’t know anything about those times, because it can be read as the story of two warriors, from their childhood to the war in which both of them would find their destiny.
I love history and literature, for me the Iliad is the beginning of the Western Literature and I have enjoyed it for years. I’ve read the Homeric poems several times in my life. Achilles and its Myrmidons were not strangers for me. And yet, now I discover that Patroclus was, indeed, the best of the Myrmidons.
There’s an interesting change, and it’s the female characters. The women that appear are secondary characters, but each of them has her own personality, you see what their feelings, and thoughts were. I think that only a women writer can make these women so real, in flesh and blood, so to say, instead of mere clichés.
Perhaps someone would say that, if you like this myths, go for the real thing and read Homer, directly. But I’m not one of those. Homer can be fascinating or boring and not always easy. Not everybody has got what it takes to enjoy Literature. So I think this book is a great introduction to that old story. It’s an agile telling, with lots of dialogue and only the necessary descriptions, avoiding the risk of info dump. And the first person narrative introduces you directly in this fantastic world.
I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I cannot wait to read the second and third books published by this author.