This review is spoiler-free!
Circe by Madeline Miller
Genres: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Mythology
Release Date: April 10th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 393 pages
Find it here: Goodreads || Amazon
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.
Good god, I love Madeline Miller’s writing. I might not have loved Circe quite as much as I did A Song of Achilles, but that’s because those were some massive shoes to try and fill, and, frankly, it was impossible from the start to do. However, Circe cobbled together her own damn set of shoes, and she filled those things and stomped all over my feelings with her story and then walked away while I was writhing in the dust and I loved every minute of it.
I’m a sucker for retellings. Growing up with Percy Jackson has made me a little of a Greek Mythology nut (Riordan got so many of us, but no regrets), so I was doomed to fall for a story about Circe from the start and, lord, Miller did not fall even remotely short from my very high expectations.
I loved this book, to put it short. To put it long: I devoured this, hung onto it, and kept going back and rereading parts instead of marking it as “read” on Goodreads when I had finished it, and I never do that. I could not get over Circe, especially at the beginning, and especially especially at the end.
I am smitten. I am besotted. I am urging you, if you like mythology and want to see what someone can do with it, and you haven’t read one of Miller’s attempts yet, do it. I will sit here and babble about my love for her work for hours on end, and you can’t stop me.
(Okay, yes, you can. Shh. Let me pretend I’m unstoppable.)
This is literally just a review of me going, “IT’S GOOD. READ IT. IT’S SO GOOD OH MY GOD READ IT,” but, hey, what else did you come here for? A critical review? Sorry, don’t know her.
(I’m am sorry, I just really loved this book and it’s all I can do to even sit here and not repeat myself endlessly for the next six hundred words.)
Really, though. Miller’s skill in writing and crafting a well-known mythological story into a journey of growing, hurt, and eventual conclusion will keep me coming back until I can’t anymore. Circe is just another example of how well Miller can create a world where I feel for a character I didn’t care much for before, and that’s enough for me.
Thanks for reading!