Hi everyone! I hope everything is going well for you all. I have no vague life updates to give you, but I am doing my best to exercise the power of manifestation. I am also coming to you again with another retelling of The Iliad. By the way, if you haven’t actually read The Iliad or The Odyssey yet, then you absolutely should. The epic poem format can be intimidating, but I promise it is easy to read and understand. It can just be long-winded at times. I might make a list of classics that I highly recommend anyone read if you want to delve into the classics. In the meanwhile, let’s talk about The Silence of the Girls.
Content Warning: Discussions and Depictions of Graphic Violence, Discussions and Depictions of Sexual Assault, Offensive Language
Briseis was once a queen in her own right. Though her life was far from perfect, she was duty-bound to protect her people from the Greek armies. Her kingdom is invaded by Agamemnon’s forces, led by the famous Achilles. She is taken by Achilles as a war prize and forced to serve him. In the Greek camps, she does her best to forge bonds with the other captive women who are just trying to survive. As the Trojan war drags on, Briseis makes it her mission to save as many women and the memories of those who were claimed by a war fought over a woman.
I’m going to be honest right away: I was kind of disappointed by this book. The first part of the book is indeed about Briseis and the other women caught in the Trojan War. The second part is when it kind of falls apart as it randomly switches between Briseis’ story and Achilles’ story. It then eventually just becomes about Achilles for far too long. It kind of defeated the purpose of the entire book, in my opinion. I also can’t tell you exactly why but the book felt just weirdly misogynistic at times. Not in the sense that it was pointing out misogyny, but even in Briseis’ story the book was just kind of mean when discussing the other female characters and wasn’t sympathetic at times. I also just didn’t like the way the book ended at all. This is the first book in the series but I won’t be continuing it. Here is what I’m going to suggest instead: if you want a book about the women of The Iliad, read A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. If you want a book about Achilles and/or his relationship with Patroclus, then read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.