In today’s book review post, I am sharing my thoughts on Circe by Madeline Miller. I read this book on holiday last October and it’s finally time to share my thoughts on the book! I had heard and read so many great reviews on it, so I was optimistic that I would really love it!
Circe – Madeline Miller
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.
Whilst I did enjoy reading Circe, my perception of the book definitely suffered from the hype it got from others. It’s always a little disappointing when that happens, but it does happen occasionally! This is still a solid 3-star rated read – don’t think I am not saying I didn’t like it! I just… expected a bit more considering all the fuss over it.
I enjoyed the premise of the book and how Circe does not fit in. She makes her own way, and her own mistakes too. Plenty of them, in fact. Her independence is one of her only redeeming qualities in my eyes, however. I found it really difficult to relate to Circe, and that’s why I think my overall feel of the book is a lower rating than normal. Circe is vain, selfish, and really not all that endearing. No character is ever going to be perfect and flaws add realistic dimension, but I didn’t think there was much in the way of development throughout.
Despite my feelings for Circe’s character, I do have to give credit to the author for how well she includes so many of the Greek gods into the story in an uncomplicated manner. If you don’t know much about Greek gods, I’ll tell you this much – there’s a lot of them! I don’t have extensive knowledge of them; I’ve read one book about them (Mythos by Stephen Fry). Even so, I didn’t get lost in the plethora of characters as Circe interacts with them at various stages. Each God is introduced and explained in the narrative where relevant, so I don’t think any background knowledge is needed. Although, I won’t deny it was helpful.
The book itself is written very well. The flow of the narrative and the chapter sizes are very easy to read. I read this within a couple of days on holiday. That is a testament to how easy this is to read. I was able to pick it up and get straight back into the story in between reading breaks.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but Circe was still an interesting read and I liked the cleverness of the storyline.
Have you read Circe? What are your thoughts on it?