Circe by Madeline Miller is a wildly original, beautifully written novel about Circe, a goddess of magic or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress in Greek mythology. My love of modern mythological adaptions should be evident by now. I’ve enjoyed the many stories released this year with this very theme, I’m so excited to constantly bring you more recommendations.
In my opinion, Circe far surpasses Song of Achilles, which was a tough act to follow. Miller will surely become remembered as one of the literary greats. She has managed to take a classic story, and weave an entirely new legend into the tale while keeping its original mythos.
Miller managed to cultivate a desire in this reader to keep reading, despite other demands. The anticipation and satisfaction of finally finding a true unputdownable book were amazing. Read on to find out why.
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 the mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is a 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.
My Review of Circe:
I finished reading Circe in a day and a half. As soon as I began reading Friday night, I had to force myself to finally put it down and go to sleep. I was disappointed I had to go to sleep. Let that sink in.
As a background character, there is not much written on Circe. The literature that is available on the character paints Circe as an evil, ruthless witch. Circe the book is not completely contradictory to everything you’ve read regarding the character. Good or bad, Miller paints an intimate portrait of Circe, allowing us to create a truly complete vision of this mythological woman. Circe is likable and human, not the cruel, sorceress or enchantress we know from Greek Homer’s Odyssey.
Working within the constraints of the original text, Circe shines a light on the story of a woman, we were so sure we knew.
Circe’s joy and loneliness of independence mirror my own, another reason I felt a relation to the character. Miller’s empathetic character Circe was met with various obstacles and characters blocking her path throughout the novel, but the anticipation of reading on until the end was well worth it. (Don’t worry I won’t give any spoilers.)
Circe is a beautifully complex character, full of flaws and guilt like us. Miller does an amazing job at painting all of the characters as that: contradictory and flawed.
Jason may be beautiful and strong, but he is also “lost in the details of his own legend”
Hermes is all very well as a lover, as long as one doesn’t ever commit the sin of being dull
Odysseus is “lawyer and bard and crossroads charlatan at once”…“He showed me his scars and in return let me pretend that I had none.”