Circe by Madeline Miller
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing UK
Pub Date: April 10, 2018
Format: hardcover| Source: gifted (thank you Ellis!!)
Genres: adult, historical fiction, retelling
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
Madeline Miller has the most gorgeous way with words. From the moment I started reading, I was spellbound. This was definitely an odder book than The Song of Achilles because it dealt so directly with the gods and with their peculiarities- not aging and the passage of time amongst them. So that was a little hard to wrap my head around. There were also a few scenes that were disturbing and unnecessary, hence minus half a star. But from the beginning I loved Circe herself. Such a dynamic, strong-willed character with hidden depths. I loved the mythological stories and persons woven throughout her tale.
And I especially enjoyed the second half of the book once she was on her island- the daily life, the animals, the herbs. There were some surprises for me with the characters and I thought they were well done. She is such a master at drafting three dimensional people. And Ms. Miller somehow manages to write the perfect ending, again. It left me very satisfied and wanting to dive back into her words. I’m not sure if I loved it as much as TSOA but it stands very well on its own merits. I can’t wait to see what she does next, I’ll read anything she writes!
*BONUS* My favorite line: “But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.” So devastatingly beautiful.
Do you enjoy reading twists on well-known stories? Have you read either of Madeline Miller’s books?
8 thoughts on “Review: Circe”
I love this cover the most! Great review too. I’ve seen some really conflicted reviews on this one. I do have it added. 💖 Glad you enjoyed it.
I hope you enjoy it too if you give it a chance! You definitely have to enjoy how she writes but I love her style and how she tells stories.
I’m so excited for this one! I love mythology and Miller’s previous work. 🙂
You’re in for such a treat then! It’s chockablock full of mythology references and characters, but she puts her own undeniable spin on it all!
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I want this, but I have a question. Do I need to have read Achilles first?
Nope! They’re briefly mentioned but if you’re familiar with their story at all, it won’t be a spoiler. Otherwise it’s unconnected aside from the mythology aspect. Hope you love it!
I’ve had my eye on Circe for a while but have been a little wary of reading it since I was so emotionally destroyed (albeit in a good way) by The Song of Achilles. You’ve made it sound so great, though, that I think I’ll have to give in and give it a try! I love how the quote at the end of your review perfectly exhibits Miller’s gorgeous writing. Reading her work is such a treat.
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Oh gosh I know JUST how you feel! I loved TSOA. I don’t think Circe is as emotionally destroying, although it’s intense and bittersweet in its own way. Gosh, it really is a treat- I love the way she strings words together. So beautiful. I hope you love Circe!