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.
- Genre: Historical Fantasy, Mythology Retelling
- Pages: 333
- Edition: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Paperback (April 2019)
[Published April 2018 | Source: Goodreads]
Have you ever read something so beautiful you feel like you’re not even worthy of reviewing it? That’s what this book has left me feeling. I mean, what more can I say? It’s a masterpiece of its own and it will remain that way with or without my opinion.
When I first grabbed Circe at the store, I have no knowledge about it. I don’t know what the book was all about. The cover was really catchy, alright—metallic orange with nice little arts scattered around. When I read the synopsis, that’s when I knew that the book was for me. Witchcraft, Greek mythology, and a strong independent female main character? I’m sold!
Madeline Miller has this way of writing that makes you want to keep on flipping the pages. It is mellow, lyrical, and beautiful. She managed to make this immortal goddess—Circe—seem more human and grounded.
Here, through her own thoughts, we follow the seemingly ordinary life of a deity. I’ve seen her insecure, jealous, ashamed, afraid and in love. I’ve felt her remorse. I grieved with her for losing those who are dear to her. At some point, I even forgot that I was reading about a woman who’s been living for centuries already. Circe has this innocence that she would somehow—in her own way—retain, despite the cruelty of those around her.
I’ve felt her loneliness in her isolation and how she longed for a companion. I’ve also seen how liberating it was for her when she realized that her solitude shouldn’t feel like a death sentence, that she could use it to improve her craft—her witchcraft.
I never thought I’d be hook by a book with nothing but thoughts in it. Sure, there’s a dialogue here and there, but since Circe is confined on an island, most of the text in the book was composed of her thoughts. Some people might find this a bore but I loved every bit of it.
All in all, this has been a bewitching read, one of my favorites in 2019, and will probably be a favorite for a very long time. I loved everything about this book; the cover, the main character, the flow of the story, and the writing (the prose! oh! the prose!). Madeline showed us the vulnerable side of an undying goddess, and she did a really great job at that.
“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”— Circe, Circe by Madeline Miller
5 / 5