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.
I feel like everyone went through a Greek Mythology phase. I went through a particularly heavy phase during my high school years and dedicated several English orals and very painstakingly, even an Afrikaans mondeling to the subject.
Circe has been on my TBR list for the longest time. I’ve been caught up in YA fantasy and all things Sarah J Maas so this was a nice change of pace despite still being in the fantasy genre.
Madeline Miller paints a striking picture of the Greek gods, Titans and the humans who inhabit their world. It was nice to see the character of Circe fleshed out and given her own story instead of being a side character in Odysseus’ tale.
A lot of the Greek mythology books and stories you find can be wordy and the prose hard to read. And while Homer’s Oddessy is a classic, it can also be a chore and so a hurdle in getting the masses to read these stories.
What I like about Miller’s writing is that it’s so easy to fall into and be transported to this world of Gods and Monsters.
The story follows the life of the witch and lesser goddess Circe from her birth, all through childhood and tells the tale of how she came to be what she was. I knew a lot of this story but only up until the point of when Odysseus leaves her island. I did’t know about the child (or children depending on which retelling you read). At first I didn’t like the suggestion of a conclusion rather than a definite ending. But after thinking about it for a while, I liked that this is how she saw her life going.
Even though this story spans millennia, the pacing never feels like it’s being dragged out nor rushed. She paints a lovely picture of Aeaea and Circe’s life there. I love Circe’s character development too. She starts out timid and naive but she soon learns to grow a backbone and is such a strong character. Relying on her wits and smarts rather than being physically strong, we see her go to a very dark place and how she comes out of that.
Honestly, I am a little jealous of Circe. I too wish to spend my time alone, away from humans on a beautiful island with my tame lions and wolves for company and protection. Spending my days tending to my gardens and potions and my evenings sitting by the fire. And I mean, the sleep! Circe had it good.
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