The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

OH NOOOO I’m losing it!  This book made me feel EVERYTHING, and there’s no way this review will be anything coherent.  I guess I know why The Iliad continues to be read millenia after it was created–no one can create a drama like the Greeks!  The tragedy here is SO STRONG, with characters acting so stupidly human that you want to shake them, but you totally see their point, and then everything falls apart because there are no real “good” guys and “bad” guys, but dumb humans seeking glory, and AHHHH!

Okay, I’ll try again.  Reading The Song of Achilles is like watching Titanic.  I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn’t help but desperately hope things would turn out differently.  Every bit of foreshadowing heightened the horrified anticipation so that when the climax came I was just helplessly awash in emotion.  I mean, I actually thought I was holding it together pretty well, until I read the very last paragraph and surprised myself by bursting into tears.   Continue reading

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

It’s such a relief when the second book of an author you love turns out to be excellent.  Cruel Beauty immediately became one of my favorite books, and now that I’ve read Crimson Bound, I can trust that Rosamund Hodge is going to be an author I can trust to create beautifully haunting worlds of remade fairy tales.

I love Hodge’s darker spins on classic stories and the incredible amount of creativity she infuses into her story.  Although undeniably Little Red Riding Hood, the necessary elements of seductive danger and innocence stolen are laid on top of a rich fantasy world of sometime-France and faeries.  It is so good.

One of my favorite things about Hodge’s romances is that she refuses to play into “happily ever after” tropes where good wins and bad loses.  Although there is definitely pathos to the end of her stories, Hodge insists that there is good and bad in all of us.  It is when her characters accept their badness and cling to their goodness that the plot starts moving.  People fall in love with each other’s whole self–there is no fairy tale princess here, just broken people needing and loving each other.  This is exactly the kind of romance I like to read.

I cannot wait for her next book, and I encourage everyone to read both this and her first book, Cruel Beauty, as quickly as possible.  Continue reading