Book Review – Circe by Madeline Miller

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ve thought about why Circe didn’t quite hit the mark for me, and in the end I think the reason is pretty simple : I loved reading about Circe. I really did. Yet there were too many instances of characters telling Circe about what others people (mostly men) did, when they did it, and how they did it – stuff we already know about. Jason was a weak asshole? Achilles was a self-centered fool? You don’t say! As much as I was – and I am still, to some extent- excited about a greek retelling with a woman – a witch! – as a focus, I regret that I had to read through so many well-known stories in which I only rarely felt Madeline Miller’s own unique spin. Because, don’t hate me but – for me it just wasn’t there. And that’s a shame, because all these useless summaries robbed time Circe could have used to make me care, and ultimately, I never fully did.

One truth it did deliver, though, in a more effective way than most retellings, and for that I’m grateful: every single man in greek mythology is a complete waste of your time, heroes and gods alike. Every single one of them is trash. Yes, even those for whom I have a weakness *cough* Hermes *cough*.

‘And so,’ he said, “which do you change, and which do you let go?’
‘I change them all,’ I said. ‘They have come to my house. Why should I care what is in their hearts?’

Let them burn to ashes with their hubris and give me Medea’s, Medusa’s, Atalanta’s, Demeter’s stories. Please.

CW – Rape, graphic violence

About Circe

Author : Madeline Miller | Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing | Genre : Adult Fantasy | Pages : 336

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.

6 thoughts on “Book Review – Circe by Madeline Miller

  1. Excellent review! Sorry you didn’t love it though. I’ve seen many positive reviews for it, and it led me to buy it last year. Not sure how I’ll feel about it, but I’m still hopeful. Thanks for sharing. 😊

  2. I think I rounded up on this one but yeah it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be.. but still managed to move me at times! also yes RE men in Greek mythology are so trash, haha.

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