Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Circe by Madeline Miller Book Review!

Hello Readers! After being in my bookshelf for months, I finally decided to read Madeline Miller’s Circe. And now I am obviously cursing myself for putting it off for such a long time! It was such a refreshing read & was fun to read a new voice. Being a person who is not much of a fan of Mythological genre, I need to say this – Read the book despite your preference for the genre! It will surely blow your mind & you just might have a new favorite author or genre.


Now, usually I love to write my own description of a book that I loved, but to sell the book, I’m adding the Goodreads version. This is what finally made me read it!

“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.”



The first thing I loved about the book was the FIRST-PERSON NARRATION. Now, I have read books with first person narration before, but NOTHING LIKE THIS! It was so powerful that it kept me completely hooked to the story. Also, the writing was incredibly FAST PACED. So much story progresses just in the first 40 pages! Both these things clubbed together, made it an exhilarating read.


The whole novel is strongly character-driven, which brings out the story even more beautifully. Circe’s character arc is obviously exceptional, but also the minor characters have impressive arcs.

Circe really started out with lying by her father’s feet begging for acceptance to telling him off that he need not count her as his daughter. She went from adoring her little brother Aeëtes to not giving a damn about him. She went from being unsure & confused to being confident & resilient. Not only was her art as a witch an incredible transformation, but also her own self grew as wild as the island in which she was exiled. The little girl who helped her uncle Prometheus, grew up to be a powerful witch of Aiaia who knew what she what & took it.


“You have always been the worst of my children,” he said. “Be sure you do not dishonor me.”

“I have a better idea. I will do as I please, and when you count your children, leave me out.”


All the minor characters also have an interesting story line which is hard not to wonder about. Characters such as Odysseus when he was with Circe & then when he was in Ithaca seem like two entirely different persons. While the role of Telegonus was more of a son, I liked how the author voiced him his own identity. I also liked the connection between Circe & Daedalus. Not to mention the perfect character portrayal of Pasiphaë & Aeëtes. No matter where you are in the story, the characters will always make you continue reading it & that was exceptional!


I think the main aspect here is the empowered transformation of Circe. Even though she is the daughter of the sun & a goddess herself, we see common patterns. Just like mortals, even Circe craved her parents’ attention when she was little. Only when she was exiled, did she slowly start to understand her self-worth. From randomly making a few flowers work their wonders to studying witchcraft in depth. Deciding to transform men who force themselves on her. Cautiously deciding to get pregnant before Odysseus was to leave. Creating all the charms for Telegonus’ protection. Welcoming people on her island & allowing them to stay while always being vigilant & brave. Having the intelligence to let Athena all wrapped up & finally finding the courage to stand up to her father. There is so much growth in her character. And just so much strength & hope & courage & I am here for it! Even though this is a story about Circe’s power, it is also about how Circe reached that power through pain, loss, death, love, desire & hope. Who wouldn’t want to read something as amazing as that?


The main reason I put off reading Circe is because of its genre. Neither did I especially like reading mythological fiction nor did I have any knowledge of Greek mythology. But, not once did I have to google who is who. With zero knowledge of the actual story, I read this novel & came to love it. So, if you have any such doubts, just forget those & read this book right away! I have rated it at 4/5 on Goodreads!

Until next time,

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