My first meeting with Circe, the enchantress or the goddess of magic, was at school when we had to read Homer’s Odyssey. The story of his visit to the Isle of Aiaia was one of our discussion topics and we saw how the powerful goddess Circe fell victim of Oddysey’s (and gods’) treacherous plan.
Since then I haven’t read anything else about Circe, until Madeleine Miller’s book. And I’m so glad that I purchased her book! Madeleine Miller has a true gift, and it’s not just the beautiful seamless writing, but the ability to bring the well-known character to life again and in a different light, give Circe the truly powerful story of a goddess but also a woman who loved, who fought and who lived.
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» by Madeleine Miller is not just a novel or a retelling, it’s an ode. An ode to Circe, goddess of magic, the witch of Aiaia, the great enchantress.
When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins.
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD READ «CIRCE» BY MADELEINE MILLAR
1 – Let’s start with the amazing hardcover of this book (and even the paperbacks have the same beautiful design). The dust jacket is gorgeous, but what pleasantly surprised me was that the publisher didn’t just create a beautiful dust jacket, but also the book itself. If you haven’t seen it yet, the actual cover has a beautiful gold foil design. This is a book that I would purchase solely because of the cover.
I read my hardcovers without the dust jacket, and I kept closing the book just to stare at the front cover. 😀
2 – The second element that would make me read the book is the beautiful writing. I kept my notes as I was reading the book, and at one point I wrote: “I’d read this book just for the sake of seeing the words flow so seamlessly on the pages”. The only other author that I could think of, whose writing I also found to be very beautiful was Katherine Arden.
I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.
As you can see, you already have two reasons to read this book knowing nothing about the plot or the characters!
3 – There is a map os Aiaia Isle on the inside! And it’s beautiful. I already featured it on my Instagram last month.
4 – «Circe» has the most intricate and well-developed plot. It took me a month to finish this book, so if you’re looking for a fast-paced read, this isn’t it. But the only reason why it took me so long to read it, was because of the number of events that Madeleine Millar was able to squeeze into the 300smth book! That is true that I often felt overwhelmed by the book’s density after reading 30-50 pages. However, at the same time, it gave me the complete experience of Circe’s adventures, her long life through many human generations, and taught me many important lessons.
“You are wise,” he said. “If it is so,” I said, “it is only because I have been fool enough for a hundred lifetimes.”
5 – One of the first events that shook Circe was her love for the mortal man and the consequences of it that Circe was left to live with for the rest of her life. Her story was fascinating, intriguing and very touching. We followed Circe from the very beginning when she was just another daughter of Helios and a nymph, not particularly beautiful or smart, until the very end, where she is an independent, compassionate, humble, fair and strong goddess and enchantress.
“Yet because I knew nothing, nothing was beneath me.”
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK OR PLANNING TO?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS DOWN BELOW!
OTHER BOOKS BY MADELINE MILLER:
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.