Book Reviews

Circe by Madeline Miller


Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Rating: ★★★★

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.

This is a retelling of the story of Circe from Homer’s The Odyssey. Odysseus adventures to the island of Aeaea and finds Circe turning men into pigs (if they weren’t already them! haha totally just playing).

He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.

Circe is depicted as a “bad guy” in the Odyssey. Not only that, but reading it in high school, I didn’t realize the extent that Circe’s role played throughout the entire story. She is the depiction of loneliness, loyalty, and selflessness.

He does not mean that it does not hurt. He does not mean that we are not frightened. Only that we are here. This is what is means to swim in the ride, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. That is what is means to be alive.

The only part that I did not like was that there seemed to be a lapse in action toward the middle of the novel. The beginning was phenomenal and we see a different side of Circe towards the end.

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