Circe

- Madeline Miller

GOODREADS BOOK BLURB:

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.

GENRES:

MY REVIEW:

almost perfect:
4.5/5

When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.

I would never have guessed that I would have liked Circe better than The Song of Achilles. What a pleasant surprise.

Miller has the ability to take an ancient story and make it feel modern without losing the original lore. The gods and their divinity, the unremarkable mortals, the legendary heroes; they all come to life within these pages.

For someone who spends most of their story exiled to an island, forever alone, Circe spends a lot of time searching. For herbs, magic, companionship, safety, and a place to belong. Century after century, as time trickles slowly through the hourglass, she feels every moment and eternity weighs heavily on her. An outcast among the gods, among her family, among mortals, and it seems she will never settle.

At least going into The Song of Achilles, I knew what to expect. Every page of Circe was a surprise – I knew not to expect too much happiness because hello, Greek mythology, but had no specifics. I absolutely loved every twist and every tale. It was like reading witchy folklore with surprise appearances by ‘gods and heroes you may know’.

Miller makes Circe a complex character, not just a minor goddess defined by her parentage, not a lonely woman defined by her lovers, not a wood witch defined by her sorcery, and not only a mother defined by her son. Circe is all of this and so much more. I could not recommend this book more highly.

"What have you been doing all this while? You took forever. I was beginning to think maybe you weren’t a pharmakis after all."
It was not a word I knew. It was not a word anyone knew, then.
'Pharmakis,' I said.
Witch.

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