Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller


by Madeline Miller
Little, Brown and Company – April 10, 2018

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.

Circe, daughter of Helios, is a strange child. As she gets older, she becomes more fascinated with the mortal world. She also learns she has the power of witchcraft. She ends up banished to a deserted island, where she is to spend eternity. She encounters monsters in both the world of gods and the world of man.

Circe’s viewpoint on the Greek gods and mythology was engaging and interesting. Her childhood as the strange child who wasn’t really wanted by anyone, to her discovery of witchcraft, and throughout her time banished in the island, Circe was unique and strong.

Circe isn’t an important character in mythology, and is most memorable for turning Odysseus’s men into swine in Homer’s The Odyssey. I have read The Odyssey and a few other books about Greek mythology, but this book is easily read without prior knowledge of Circe or Greek mythology.

Beautifully written. Fascinating characters. Tragic, magical, and captivating.

I borrowed this book from my local library.