Posted in Book Reviews, Hype or Like Meme

Hype or Like Friday: Review of The Book of The Month

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Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by Larkin, Britt and Jill . Check out the Goodreads group to know more about it and stay up to date with the weekly discussions and book of the month.

July 29th: Review of The Song of Achilles

the song of achilles
It had been too long since I last disagreed with the general opinion. I am back on the less popular side of the boat! Although I did not hate this book, I cannot say it blew my mind to the point it automatically made it to the top 10 of my 2016 reads. So what happened? (No, nothing fell from the sky directly on my head, making it hard to appreciate this book.)

Reasons why I should have loved this book

#1 I used to love mythology

From age 5 to 12, I loved everything about mythology. I would compare the Roman and Greek Gods, play Zeus, Master of Olympus on my computer, read all the books I could find on the subject.

Sadly, my memory failed me. I can no longer recall much about anything. Still, it was fun to dive again into a world I was so passionate about.

#2 The writing is smooth and easy to follow

The author has a lovely style and all you have to do is go with the flow. She takes you to Greece from the first page and depicts the era so perfectly you feel completely at ease. I felt right in the middle of a tragedy, which is exactly where I was indeed.Β  The characterization is powerful, the protagonists feel so real, whether they are human or not. I really enjoyed witnessing them live, struggle, Β and fight.Β 

#3 I want to visit Greece so badly.

#4 I am pretty sure it is the first book dealing with homosexuality I’ve ever purchased.

How could I not notice this? Of course, some books on my shelves surely mention it, or deal with it some way or another, but I don’t think it ever was a major point in one of my previous readings. That is wrong. More diversity please!

Reasons why I cannot give this book more than 3 stars

#1 I kept skimming over.

At first, it was innocent. A couple of sentences here, a paragraph there. Then came the war. I just could not bring myself to enjoy it. I am pretty sure those stranded soldiers got bored at some point too. At least until they got killed. Events dragged for too long and the same issues were brought one too many times to keep my mind from drifting away to the shopping list I needed to write or that nail polish I really wanted to get. My interest came back eventually, but I never felt entirely drawn to the story.

#2 Patroclus should have had access to iTunes.

Maybe a few love songs could have helped him see how selfish Achilles was at some point. He would have had the time to get the hell out of here before that tragic ending. I knew it would not end well, but when Patroclus exposed his plan to help Achilles by *spoiler* going out there by pretending to be the hero, it was obvious the promise of not putting himself in harm’s way was stupid. *end of spoiler* Yes, it was powerful and beautiful and heart-breaking, but it felt too predictable. I know, Greek tragedies are known for that showoff moment, but it just did not work for me. I was sad for Patroclus, but Achilles left me dead cold.

#3 Name it!

I can’t remember the last time I had so much trouble remembering names. I could not recall who was who, which son belonged to which king, which king had which land, who was friend with who. It felt like a soap opera casting. It did not help connecting with the story and the characters.

Overall, it was an okay read. I cared for Patroclus, felt his joys and his pains. This book is a one-way ticket to ancient Greece, with its complex society and flamboyant people. Still, I can’t see where the hype comes from.

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22 thoughts on “Hype or Like Friday: Review of The Book of The Month

  1. Great review!! My review will be up sometime soon. I really liked the book and was glad I read it.
    I had very similar thoughts about Patroclus and Achilles relationship. Achilles was so selfish and I wanted Patroclus to leave him. And that scene where Patroclus dresses up in the armor? That was so obvious what was going to happen. And Achilles just let him do that. Argh.
    But I did really enjoy the book and I keep thinking about it. I even purchased The Iliad and hope to start that this weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hmm, I used to be obsessed with mythology as well… and the book sure does sound interesting, but you make a lot of fair points on pros and cons… so, I’m still not entirely sure if I’d enjoy it πŸ™‚
    Greece is lovely though.. I went once on a lorry trip across Europe to Thessaloniki.. their food is amazing (and I ate at a truck stop) but my, the table was laden with stuff! And if you go in the summer, make sure to stay hydrated- I got a bit of a heat stroke! XD

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There will be many other reviews of this book through the Hype or Like Friday group if you want to check more views on it πŸ™‚ Everyone absolutely loved it, and even if I was not entirely convinced, I’d say it is worth reading if mythology is your thing.
      Thank you for the warning! πŸ˜€ I love travelling in spring so I avoid most of the sweltering days. That trip must have been great!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s so refreshing to see not-so-glowing reviews for hyped books. I usually have a hard time with names too, especially if there a lot of characters and it becomes difficult to keep up with them. I’m not familiar with the mythology that inspired this book; do you think I need to be familiar with at least the basest aspects to fully immerse myself in this story? Great review. πŸ™‚

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am always suspicious when a book only gets good reviews πŸ™‚ Now the natural balance of the world is back with my “only” 3 stars review! I think it is definitely easier to get involved in the story with at least a light background of the original work. I did not remember much so there are some aspects I missed. I do believe I might have enjoyed it better if I had been more familiar with Homer’s version πŸ™‚ Thank you!

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  4. Oh, boo! I wish you loved this book as much as I do, but I haven’t liked any of the Hype or Like books, so I guess it’s to be expected. πŸ™‚ I can definitely see your points about Achilles and Patroclus. Achilles is very selfish in this book and The Iliad. All he cares about is the fame and glory he was promised. I do believe he loved Patroclus from his words and actions in both books, but Patroclus definitely loved him more, like a boy who admires his father. Their relationship is a bit different than most. I guess because I’ve read The Iliad I understand more about The Fates divine intervention and how the gods had more of a hand in this story than the characters. They were like pawns the gods moved around like chest pieces to entertain themselves. I would’ve loved to have seen more of Paris and Hector. I also would’ve like to have seen some of the gods who played a role in the war. We saw Apollo briefly at the end, but I would’ve like more. The gods are one of the best parts of The Iliad. Even though you didn’t care for this book, I like how you presented it in this review. πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Thanks! *The Queen bows her head.* I do, too! I switched up the format for my review this week. Next month we’re reading Harry Potter per request from some of the group members. I hope I can make it through a script. I typically don’t like reading scripts. I guess we’ll see how it’s formatted for a book.

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  5. I love it when someone feels different from the general opinion and isn’t afraid to just say so. Grrrreat review and Patroclus should have had access to iTunes.. I think I just peed myself a little there XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I often find myself on the less popular side of opinions when it comes to hyped-up books, but I love it. It forces me to think differently to understand why others loved it, and to find the right arguments why it did not work for me.
      Oops, pee-accidents were not part of the plan, sorry, haha! iTunes solves so many problems xD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aah, yes, I tend to do the same. Or pick a book everybody hates to see if I can find the positives in it. It’s all a journey of self-discovery! (that sounds so wrong xD). Meh, that’s okay, I bought 3 new sets of underwear yesterday anyways πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ That is exactly why I love this group, I would never have picked any of the titles we have read if it had not been for Hype or Like Friday. I love stepping out of my comfort zone every month.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great to see a more balanced review, cos I’ve only seen rave reviews so far, and I like to see more balanced reviews before I go into a book! And this certainly was balanced. haha what you said about needing itunes made me laugh out loud- I always said that people in ancient stories really needed therapy, but itunes would work just as well!! I mean, how could Achilles have gone so off the rails if he had been listening to the Eagles “Take it Easy”! Or maybe Patroclus could have listened to “Say Something” πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I reformed the universe’ balance with my -only- 3 star review πŸ˜€ I get suspicious when a book is praised too much! I always rely on music in my life, and I thought Patroclus would have avoided a lot of trouble if he had had access to iTunes xD Hahahaha, exactly! Great choice of songs!

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