Circe by Madeline Miller

There has been SO much hype surrounding Circe. That cover is just bee-oo-tiful and oh so bookstagrammable! Those familiar with The Illiad/The Odyssey will enjoy I think. I will definitely have to check out The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller as well! While Circe isn’t an action-packed story it paints a vivid picture of ancient Greece that makes for a great beach read.

Circe was such a cool character and carries the novel well.  Throughout the story, Circe tries to find love, peace, and meaning for her immortal life. Once you get used to the adjustment in the language you are immersed in her world. We see her slowly discover her magical powers and her fall as she creates the monster Skylla in a fit of jealousy. She is then banished to the island of Aiaia where she shapes her identity. Circe makes peace with her fate, teaches herself magic and creates a son. It becomes a slower story when she is on her island, though despite the lack of change of scenery never becomes boring.

Circe reads like an origin story and covers most of her myths through her life. It can be a little feminist at times and seems to capitalise on the matter of female empowerment. However, it doesn’t struggle to justify her actions; it is more to show how the story of Circe deals with some of the ancient issues regarding women. Molded to fit today’s times, Circe becomes a woman most can identify with.

Madeline Miller is an amazing storyteller and her incredible knowledge is obvious. I loved the way she portrayed different Gods and monsters as relatable characters with almost human emotions. As always through stories of the ancient gods there is a strong theme of fate. But Miller also discusses divinity and mortality and often has Circe comment on the difference between gods and mortals. And how gods suffer invariably by comparison which I found really interesting. Though there is a sense that Miller tried to cram as many myths as she could into the book. I’m just not sure she needed to reference so many.

I really loved the different take on this story. I’ve always loved the classics and the story of Odysseus so was amazing to read. There are so many characters that intertwined with Circe. I had a bit of fun looking up the myths of ones I didn’t know and those I’d forgotten about! Loved it and will read again.

ABOUT CIRCE

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island. She hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology. Including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone. Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe Madeline Miller Book Cover

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