Friday, May 31, 2019

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

Published: April 10, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical

Hardcover Pages: 393

Synopsis: 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, where 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, and 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.

Thoughts: It's been quite some time since I've read any of the Greek myths, so my memory was pretty vague on the details, which honestly was probably not a bad thing as it didn't paint my thoughts about the story with pre-conceived ideas. And really, I had no memory of Circe herself at all, despite having read the Odyssey back in the day. I had to stop myself from looking up her story many times, as I was curious what differed here in this book vs the ancient myths.

Much like the Odyssey, Circe's story itself is a long and complicated epic that spans a great deal of time. After all, the gods are immortal, so time passes for them in a different way. But Circe isn't like the rest of the gods, who care more about themselves than anything else, her story is fueled by her own journey to find herself as well as caring about others. She's not perfect by any means, often letting herself be fueled by jealousy or anger, but in a way that is understandable to the reader.

I give the book not a full five stars because while I did enjoy it, and became more invested the more I read, and indeed would've kept reading more, it did feel a bit dry at times. Which is interesting, because often what drives Circe is her emotions, yet the story didn't feel super emotional, if that makes ANY sense. Nonetheless, I did enjoy her journey, and how she came into her own despite many being against her for no good reason.

If you like the old Greek mythology at all, I'd definitely recommend this book. That said, you don't have to know any of it to read it, it definitely stands on its own.

Rating: 4.5/5

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What I'm Reading Next: Wildcard by Marie Lu


  1. I agree that the narration could be a bit emotionless, although that also made the emotions feel more raw to me, which I liked. I spent a lot of time reading Wikipedia entries on Greek mythology just so I could see how she inverted the traditional stories; I loved seeing the juxtaposition. I'm hoping to get to her earlier book (Song of Achilles) sometime soon.

  2. I ended up going to Wikipedia too to see what had changed from some of the mythology as well! You’ll have to let me know what you think of Song of Achilles! I’m sure you’ll get to it before I’ll be able to! ��