CIRCE BY MADELINE MILLER
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.
I love Greek mythology and love watching all of the movies but I won't lie, I have read very few books about Greek mythology. I saw this all over Instagram during the summer and it seemed like the perfect book to kickstart my love affair with Greek mythology in the literary world.
Circe is the beautifully powerful story of one of the lesser known deities but who definitely deserves a more prominent role in the world of Greek mythology. She is basically a total bad ass and I loved her! She plays roles in so many well known Greek stories and I am so happy Miller has given Circe the spotlight that she deserves. Circe's story and the role she plays in this mysterious world is one that marks the ages and makes you want to delve even deeper into the secrets around the Greek gods and goddesses and their stories.
The writing is excellent. It is so rich in description and detail and makes this book a total page turner - I was hooked! You can so clearly picture these almighty gods, their palaces and their weapons and it just made me want to read on and on to find out more.
One thing that I loved is not only how Miller of course focused on Circe and told us her story but she ties in other Greek myths, like Icarus and the Minotaur. It really allows you to build on your knowledge (no matter how little) on Greek mythology but also see the link between these iconic characters; Zeus, Hermes, Athena and more. I visited Crete a few years and went to Knossos and saw where the Minotaur is said to have lived, so I loved being able to visualise it even clearer with Miller's outstanding descriptions. Even though so many of these stories have been passed through the ages, Miller still manages to put her own voice to them and make them her own. Especially Circe’s story, it really feels like a story that Miller owned and mastered perfectly.
Focusing on Circe herself, she is a phenomenal protagonist. She has so much depth to her and really earns her place at the heart and soul of this epic story. She endures more than her fair share of hardship and we mourn, love and laugh with her as she experiences some extremely difficult and enlightening ordeals in her immortal life. However, despite the endless challenges, she picks herself and becomes stronger each time and you really see the strength and resolve that she has. One random thing I loved about her was how she learns to control animals. It was like she was this super bad ass Disney princess and I was reminded of my 8 year old trying to speak to my dog(!).
So yeah, I think it's clear that I loved this book. The writing is just fantastic and Miller manages to pack in so much but does it in such a way that it doesn't overwhelm the reader. You want to get to the end and see what becomes of Circe and become completely invested in her story in the process.
I have The Song of Achilles on my TBR and I am so excited to read it - my Greek mythology binge has begun!
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment's carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”
It's hard to say because so many of the characters were so interesting but I think Circe really was the leading lady and I loved getting to know her.