Book review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source: Borrowed

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.

It’s taken me a pretty long time to write this review because even a couple weeks after finishing Circe, I wasn’t quite sure what to say about it. This is a book that I actually took the time to read slowly (over five days, which is almost unheard of for me!) instead of marathoning. It wasn’t because I disliked it, but more because there was just so much over such a long time period that I had to take some time to let it soak in.

One thing that I should probably mention is that while I know the basics of Greek mythology, I was never really super into it. I had a brief phase when I was younger when I wanted to learn all about the gods and goddesses, but it didn’t last very long before I moved on to something else. While I don’t think that extensive knowledge of Greek mythology is required to enjoy this book, it probably helps. I still liked it a lot with what I knew, but I wonder if I could have liked it even more.

Beyond what I’ve just written, I’m not sure what else I can say about this book. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was extremely well-written and I was so impressed by the author’s ability to write a book like this. I think that I’ll probably read The Song of Achilles at some point, although I’ll wait until I’m in the right mood for it.

Have you read Circe? Do you like Greek mythology?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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66 thoughts on “Book review: Circe by Madeline Miller

  1. Alyssa Grace says:

    I agree that being knowledgeable about Greek mythology enriches the experience of reading Circe so much. While it’s a good story on its own, its star factor lies in how it challenges our preconceived notions of the stories we thought we knew. I realised how pivotal that was to my love of Miller when I recommended Circe to my mother who’s a third language English speaker who knows absolutely nothing about classical mythology. She’s currently halfway through and doesn’t see what all the fuss is about, whereas I suspect those of us who grew up hearing about the Ancient Greek heroes and vaguely aware of the misogyny underpinning the entire mythos feel like we’ve had our eyes opened to a whole new world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jenchaos76 says:

    I was inundated with mythology, which I disliked in school because of the Odyssey and the Aeneid which we read in High School. I’m said nope. I put it down. I’m a Norse mythology fan and I like the druids, but Greeks, Nah.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nsfordwriter says:

    Agree this book is well-written and informative about Greek mythology. I just felt the plot really slowed down once Circe moved to the island and I unfortunately got a little bored. I also could’ve used some humour but you can’t have everything 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hemingwayandchardonnay says:

    I keep seeing this cover around the book review world and on IG but I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. I don’t know really anything about gods and goddesses, maybe that will be helpful or maybe that will make it more confusing LOL. Thanks for the review! –Courtney

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Raised A Reader says:

    I was obsessed with Greek mythology for a while – loved reading about Persephone, and Athena, and Dionysus. But I lost interest for a little while, and haven’t read any thing based in Greek mythology in a while…maybe this will respark that initial fascination.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Saloni Desai says:

    While I have yet to read Circe, I have read Madeline Miller’s other book The Song of Achilles. That book devastated me, but I absolutely adored every minute of it! Based off of your review, I think it might be Madeline Miller’s style to pack heavy content into her books. I didn’t feel it as strongly with The Song of Achilles but look back I can see that it’s true. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Circe soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rafaela | theportuguesebibliophile says:

    I just love Greek Mythology and I have more than one book about it. I’ve read The Song of Achilles and I loved it but I was a bit hesitant about this one. I think I’ll be moving this one up my tbr list!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Siobhan says:

    Definitely read Song of Achilles, if you liked the style of Circe, I’m sure that you’ll like this. I loved Circe as well and like you, it’s taken me ages to post a review. I still haven’t in fact but I keep meaning to. The only bit that got me was the childbirth scenes because I was heavily pregnant when I read it. Those are not good births to read to get you in the zone. Though at least I knew who the Greek goddess of childbirth was in case I needed to call on her….

    Liked by 1 person

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