Circe

Circe

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 themse...

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Title:Circe
Author:Madeline Miller
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Circe Reviews

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    My words are not as good as the ones in this book.

    is a book about... finding yourself. But god,

    Okay, to get started, I’m just going to say it:

    She has such a way with words that it is absolutely impossible not to be engaged in her storytelling.

    The thing that brings this whole novel together is

    She is a wo

    My words are not as good as the ones in this book.

    is a book about... finding yourself. But god,

    Okay, to get started, I’m just going to say it:

    She has such a way with words that it is absolutely impossible not to be engaged in her storytelling.

    The thing that brings this whole novel together is

    She is a woman who has done awful, evil things, and yet remains unfailingly human. She is lonely, and harsh, and hiding herself in sarcasm much of the time. And there is not a moment in this novel in which I didn’t adore her. Madeline Miller does such an amazing job developing this character, weaving her thoughts into the narrative without manipulating you into feeling a certain way, keeping the narrative wide yet keeping it focused around Circe. Throughout this novel I developed such a deep level of admiration for both this author and this character,

    This novel is so interesting because at its core, it is an exploration of the voice of women in Greek mythology. Circe is a character we see nothing of in the narrative of Greek mythology, a character with seemingly evil intentions and little motivation – and all this despite showing up in several different stories. There’s something supremely excellent about seeing a character like this who is essentially a plot device be given a story. I know I have a tendency to repeat the term “narrative agency” but it beats repeating—

    I mean, everything about this book was just brilliant. I loved the myth interpretation: Penelope and Odysseus are both written perfectly, and seeing Jason basically get called an asshole while Medea stood on being young and morally grey and in love was so fantastic. And the exploration of gods vs. mortals is just brilliant:

    I loved the relationships — just as a special note, the relationship between Circe and Telegonus made me want to cry. I basically loved everything.

    I mean, I think you guys have gotten pretty easily why I liked this so much —

    This did all the things I like and I want to reread it daily and hourly. I very well might.

    [I also want you all to know this book gave rise to

    so thanks for that!!]

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    buddyread with my favorite

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  • Simona Bartolotta

    I dived into

    believing to be fully prepared for it, all because I had read and re-read, loved and re-loved

    . Now I know that was a foolish notion for me to entertain.

    In fact, I soon learned the hard way that no matter how well you think you know her and her writing,

    . This because the k

    I dived into

    believing to be fully prepared for it, all because I had read and re-read, loved and re-loved

    . Now I know that was a foolish notion for me to entertain.

    In fact, I soon learned the hard way that no matter how well you think you know her and her writing,

    . This because the key word, where her work is concerned, is

    therefore, o future readers, come now to terms with the fact that a story Madeline Miller has woven will be different from what you expect, from what you think you know, and also (maybe I should say

    ) from the original sources she draws from, and

    . And nothing more than this could make me grateful, because Madeline Miller's mind working on a well-known story never means impoverishment, or theft, or trivialization, nor any other kind of demeaning operation. What she does, and masterfully at that, is

    ,

    ,

    to what before was bare, dull, plain.

    In

    , as in

    ,

    , even the minor ones, even the ones with the most marginal roles. And

    , so much so that any praise I can think of seems like an understatement. Circe is proud but never haughty, and she is true to herself even when she doesn't know who, or

    , she is. She evolves and makes her weaknesses evolve with her, but in spite of this she never forgets what being weak, or having a weakness, feels like, which is, I believe, one of her greatest strengths. She is acutely aware of her situation and what it entails, of what is or isn't beyond her reach, but

    . She is suspicious because she has to be, but she has such immense goodness in her heart as to be completely disarming.

    This last point in my list may sound naive, but I ask you to think of all the books you've read in your life, of all your favourite characters, and ask yourselves Which of them do I love because of their

    ? We do not seek kindness in our heroes. Kindness too often results in self-righteousness, if not from the characters themselves, then from the penman, and I surely don't need to spell out to you how irritating that air of superiority can be.

    , a character who is most definitely not widely known for such a trait, which only makes this feat all the more admirable.

    Circe is troubled by the mismatched pieces of her identity, by the whirl of guilt she gets captured in early on in her life, by the world inside of her that keeps her from fitting in the world outside.

    , mortal and divine, and of neither at the same time, which puts her in a unique position. Her standpoint is three times significant: she is, in a sense, both internal and external to her story, she is living and telling at once. She spins her threads at Daedalus's loom and her spells at her worktable (she herself points this out as one of the symmetries poets love so much) but she also is the spinner of a story,

    .

    . She doesn't accept the gods' authority, she doesn't accept her grandfather's court's meanness, and she doesn't accept the submission men demand of her as a nymph and as a woman.

    Needless to say at this point,

    was everything I had hoped for and more. If

    didn't hold such a special place in my heart, I'd even say

    outshines it, with its

    , its

    , its charm and beauty and impressive grandness. I will, time permitting, read it again once it hits the shelves, ready to be awed over and over again.

    *All the quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change*

  • Ana

    Hello, my name is Ana and I am a Greek mythology addict.

    A brief introduction to the deities of Greek mythology.

    Zeus (Thunder God, king of the Gods)

    Hera (Queen of Olympus, Goddess of marriage)

    Demeter (Goddess of the harvest, agriculture and fertility)

    Poseidon (God of the Sea)

    Hestia (Virgin goddess of the hearth)

    Hades (God of the Underworld, riches, king of the dead)

    Persephone/Kora (Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld)

    Athena (Virgin Goddess of wisdom, craft, and war; companion of her

    Hello, my name is Ana and I am a Greek mythology addict.

    A brief introduction to the deities of Greek mythology.

    Zeus (Thunder God, king of the Gods)

    Hera (Queen of Olympus, Goddess of marriage)

    Demeter (Goddess of the harvest, agriculture and fertility)

    Poseidon (God of the Sea)

    Hestia (Virgin goddess of the hearth)

    Hades (God of the Underworld, riches, king of the dead)

    Persephone/Kora (Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld)

    Athena (Virgin Goddess of wisdom, craft, and war; companion of heroes)

    Hermes (Messenger of the gods, God of thieves, trade, travelers)

    Apollo (God of prophecy, healing, poetry, music, sun)

    Artemis (Virgin goddess of the hunt)

    Hephaestus (God of fire and blacksmiths)

    Aphrodite (Goddess of beauty and love)

    Ares (God of war)

    Dionysus (God of wine and the grape harvest, God of theatre)

    Helios (Titan god of the sun)

    Selene (Titan goddess of the moon)

    Eos/Aurora (Titan Goddess of the dawn)

    Gaia (Goddess of the earth)

    Cronus (King of the Titans)

    Rhea (wife of Cronus)

    Nyx (powerful Goddess of the night)

    Hypnos (God of sleep)

    Morpheus (God of dreams)

    Hecate (Goddess of magic and witchcraft)

    Thanatos (God of death)

    Nemesis (Goddess of divine retribution and revenge)

    Prometheus (Creator of mankind)

    Eros/Cupid (God of love)

    Hebe (Goddess of youth)

    Muses (Goddesses of inspiration)

    The Fates/Moirai (Three sisters, weavers of a tapestry dictating the destinies of men)

    I've been waiting for this ever since The Song of Achilles came out. I have this thing about long-dead heroes from Greek mythology.

    *clears throat*

    Thank you for this book, Madeline Miller. You are a goddess among women.

    A book about Circe. FINALLY. FINALMENTE. POR FIN. ENDLICH. NAPOKON.

    Circe was a sorceress, daughter of the sun god Helios, and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. You may remember her from Odyssey. Odysseus made Circe promise not to forcibly take his manhood. Trolling at its finest.

    Miller's Circe is much more humanized. She is a character you can root for. Here you will meet all the iconic characters from mythology. The Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, the infamous Medea, and the clever Odysseus. As usual, there is no shortage of fabulous characters.

    Awesome, brave and resourceful. Circe definitely is all three, with a dash of sass.

    It's Greek mythology y'all. You know you love it. You know you need it. You gotta have it.

    *Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.* It was about time.

    The perfect playlist to set the mood.

  • Emily May

    . If you enjoy Greek mythology, complex heroines, and a generous serving of adventure, bloodshed, betrayal, magic, and monsters - both literal and figurative - then hell, READ THIS BOOK.

    To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Miller's

    when I read it a few years back. I'm not sure if that's because my tastes were different back then, or if it was just because the plot had more of a romantic focus than

    . But, wha

    . If you enjoy Greek mythology, complex heroines, and a generous serving of adventure, bloodshed, betrayal, magic, and monsters - both literal and figurative - then hell, READ THIS BOOK.

    To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Miller's

    when I read it a few years back. I'm not sure if that's because my tastes were different back then, or if it was just because the plot had more of a romantic focus than

    . But, whatever the reason, I had no such problem with this book.

    is part beautifully-written literary fantasy and part divine Greek soap opera. This strange combination makes for a book that is extremely quotable, rich in description and detail, and also a pageturner. It moves seamlessly between the broader scope of the world and its many gods and monsters, to the more narrow focus of the nymph-turned-witch, Circe, and her daily life before and after she is exiled to the island Aeaea.

    Circe becomes a powerful witch, but the strength of her story is in all her relatable flaws and weaknesses. We follow her as a naive lesser nymph, longing to be accepted and loved. We stay with her as she believes the lies of others and, later, becomes hardened against such deceivers. Her compassion constantly battles with her rage. Understandably.

    There is some grim satisfaction to be gained as this woman who has been bullied, belittled and trod on her entire life slowly claws out some vengeance for herself. The pain she endures along the way means that her successes are bittersweet.

    Other Greek myths play out in the background - that of the Minotaur, and of Icarus, as well as many others - but it is Circe's personal tale that hits the hardest. I just hope we don't have to wait another seven years for Miller to write another novel like this.

    TW: Rape; graphic violence.

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  • Melanie

    ✨ Signed and personalized copies are available through

    ! (They can ship anywhere in the US, anywhere in the UK, and also to some other international locations)

    This is the pièce de résistance I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only did I fall in love with this story, I predict that this will be the best book I’ll read all year. This boo

    ✨ Signed and personalized copies are available through

    ! (They can ship anywhere in the US, anywhere in the UK, and also to some other international locations)

    This is the pièce de résistance I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only did I fall in love with this story, I predict that this will be the best book I’ll read all year. This book is about healing and doing what it takes to come into your own. This book is about love; the love between lovers, the love of a mother, and the love you must find in yourself. This book proves why family of choice will always be greater than family of origin. This book is about magic, and how we can find it in ourselves if we look hard enough. This is a book about becoming the witch you’ve always buried deep inside you.

    Okay, maybe I should start this review off with a somewhat personal story. I was very privileged to go a very good high school where I was able to study

    and

    for a class my freshman year. And fourteen-year-old Melanie fell in love. To say I was obsessed was an understatement, and more and more my heart was filled with love for Odysseus, Athena, and a certain love affair with the witch-goddess Circe.

    (Beautiful art by

    )

    Even upon finishing that class, I still couldn’t get enough of Homer’s words. And to this day,

    and

    are the only books that I collect many editions of. All my loved ones and family correlate these epic poems with me, and always bring me new editions from their travels, and give me gifts for special events and holidays the same way they do with

    . One of the most prized possession I own is an edition of

    that was given to me by someone who meant a lot to me, at a very important time in my life. And these two tomes will always be a big part of my identity, and I will always recognize that they not only shaped me as a reader, but they shaped me as a human being, too.

    So, when I found out that that Greek mythology retelling queen, Madeline Miller, was writing a book centered around Circe, I knew it was going to end up being one of my favorite books of all time. And it ended up being everything I wanted and more. I hate to throw around the word masterpiece, but if I had to pick a book to give that title to, I’d pick

    .

    And even though Odysseus plays a huge role in this story, this book is Circe’s and Circe’s alone. We get to see her growing up in Oceanus, with her Titan sun god father Helios, and loveless nymph mother Perse, and her three more ambitious siblings, Aeëtes, Pasiphaë, and Perses. We get to see her living her life of solitude, exiled on the island of Aiaia. We also get to see her make a few very important trips, that are very monumental in Greek mythos. But we get to see all of Circe, the broken parts, the healing parts, and the complete parts. We get to see her love, her loss, her discovery, her resolve, and her determination. We get to see her question what it means to be immortal, what it means to be a nymph in a world ruled by gods, and what it means to just live. Her journey is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and probably unlike anything I will ever read again. I have no combination of words to express how much her life and her story means to me. But I promise, I’m not the same person I was before reading this book.

    This is ultimately a story about how different the tales will always be told for a man. And how the ballads will always be sung for heroes, not heroines, even if a woman was truly behind all the success the man greedily reaped.

    Women, no matter how much agency they carve out in any male dominated world, will always be a means to an end to further the achievements of man. Always. And

    displays that at the forefront of this story.

    Circe is most well known for turning Odysseus’s men into pigs when they come to her island in

    , but Madeline Miller does such a wonderful job weaving all this Greek mythology into a fully fleshed out, brand-new tale. She has created something so unique, yet so breathtakingly good, I think so many readers will find it impossible to put this new-spin of a story down. I was completely captivated and enthralled from the very first line to the very last line. This book just feels so authentic, I felt like I was in the ocean, on the island, and traveling right beside Circe throughout. And I never wanted to leave her side.

    Overall, I understand that this is a book that is very targeted to me and my likes. Not only is this a character driven story, with a main protagonist being a character I’ve been in love with for over a decade, but the writing was lyrical perfection. I’m such a quote reader, and I swear I would have highlighted this entire book. This book is also so beautifully feminist that it makes me weep just thinking about the things Circe had to endure. And it showcases the unconditional love of found families, yet also between a mother and her child, while simultaneously abolishing the notion that blood is worth more than anything else in any world. This book heavily emphasizes that you will never be the mistakes that your parents have committed. The entire story is a love letter to love itself and reveals all the things we are willing to do in the name of it. And most importantly, this is a book about how we are truly only ever in charge of our own stories, even though our actions may change the fate for others around us. Please, pick this masterpiece up, and I hope it changes your life, too.

    Thank you, Madeline Miller, I will carry your Circe in my heart for the rest of my life.

    Violence, gore, murder, torture, physical abuse, child abuse, thoughts of suicide, brief scene with cutting, graphic childbirth scenes, mention of bestiality, mention of incest, animal sacrifice, death of a sibling, death of a child, death of a loved one, death of an animal, rape, adultery, and war themes.

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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    Where do I even begin? This was one of the most amazing, beautiful, intricate, captivating books I have had the pleasure of reading in my entire life. I have been a bookworm since I was barely walking, and yet

    book, this gorgeous retelling, has impacted me so profoundly that I genuinely do not know if I will ever be entirely the same.

    Where do I even begin? This was one of the most amazing, beautiful, intricate, captivating books I have had the pleasure of reading in my entire life. I have been a bookworm since I was barely walking, and yet

    book, this gorgeous retelling, has impacted me so profoundly that I genuinely do not know if I will ever be entirely the same.

    As a child, I loved Greek mythology, and though I lost some of that knowledge through recent years, when I heard that this story was releasing, I knew I just had to read it. I thought it was going to be the story from Circe’s point of view, but ultimately, I expected it to revolve around Odysseus; I had no idea that I was in for such a treat, though, as he is only a small portion of the immortal Circe’s life. This isn’t a retelling, it’s an origin story, a history, a tale of centuries’ worth of loves and losses, griefs and triumphs.

    From the very start, we see that Circe is so vastly set apart from her fellow gods and goddesses; as a nymph with the reedy voice of a mortal, she is told she is wholly useless, but it’s evident from the beginning that she is this brilliant, clever, strong woman: a force to be reckoned with in every way. I knew I would love her, but I couldn’t have predicted how fast or hard I would find myself rooting for her to succeed.

    Of course, Circe’s exile on the isle of Aiaia is bound to be an unhappy story, and that’s a common thread throughout

    : you always know something miserable or painful is on its way, but the moments in between those travesties, and the ways Circe handles the hand of cards life has dealt her, makes it so incredibly worth the ache. Perhaps the greatest thing about watching her struggle is how much relatability it lends to her character; despite being a goddess, an immortal, and a witch, Circe at her core is a spurned woman who has lived too long under the heels of spiteful, power-hungry men, and a wicked society that values beauty over strength.

    Of course, Circe’s tale is not entirely a desolate one, but her joys are often her curses, as she loves mortals and sees in them the same potential that cursed Prometheus to his rock. Throughout her life, we get to see relationships come and go, and I was enthralled by how incredibly sex-positive and sure of herself she remains. Rather than selling herself away to the highest bidder, Circe’s primary focus is to never let her pursuit of pleasures and companionship win out over her need to be her own person.

    It was so enjoyable to watch the different characters cycle in and out of her memories, whether it was Daedalus and his loom, or Hermes and his messages and antics, or—of course—Odysseus, who we saw in a much more realistic light, as Circe portrayed an image of him that was far less heroic or noble than many of the legends would have one believe. There are even mentions of Patroclus and Achilles, and what became of them, though I was pleased to find that prior knowledge of

    was not at all necessary to fully enjoy this book.

    Of all the things Madeline’s writing had to offer me, though, the one that meant the most to me was wholly unexpected: the perfect, beautiful depiction of motherhood through Circe’s relationship with her son. As a mother to a wild little boy of my own, I related to so many of her thoughts and fears, but most of all, to the utter authenticity of the love she describes for him. It consumes her entirely—for better or for worse—and her need to protect him holds such ferocity that she worries it will destroy her at times. Many of the thoughts she held for him gave me chills or brought tears to my eye, and throughout it all, I just kept thinking that I had

    felt like motherhood had been so perfectly described as it is in this book.

    Truly, I could gush for days, but I’m going to cut myself off here and just ask you to please,

    pick up a copy of this beautiful book. I sound like a broken record, but it meant so much to me, and has earned such a warm place in my heart that I know I will reread it over and over in the coming years. Whether you are a mother, or a lover of Greek mythology, or just a bookworm looking for a story that will capture you so wholly, you’ll never want to leave its embrace—this book is flawless, utter perfection, and I cannot possibly recommend it highly enough.

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  • Arah-Lynda

    I was first held captive by Madeline Miller’s voice a couple of years ago when I had the good fortune of reading

    . I knew then that I wanted to hear that voice again.

    As legend has it, Circe, due to her wilful ways, is banished by her father Helios ( Titan god of the sun) and confined by his will to the island of Aiaia.

    But Circe did not wilt within her exile, she explored her new island prison, honed her art of witchcraft; employing the islands flora and fauna and fungi to fuel her burgeoning powers. She learned to live alone and in harmony with the islands abundant wildlife.

    Then one day, while tending her garden, she hears a voice and sees a young man leaning against her house. It is the Olympian god, Hermes, emissary and messenger of the gods.

    He will not be the last god or mortal to visit these shores.

    I am not ashamed to admit I was completely swept away by this tale, by Circe’s coming of age, her tales of family feuds and rivaling gods. Circe’s is a tale of love and loss and discovery, of learning the art of restraint, of celebrating life and embracing her inner strength.

    I found myself rooting for her every step of the way despite her many flaws, like the fact that she transformed Odysseus’s men to pigs.

    Honestly I have never read anything like this. Madeline Miller not only held me captive but had me thirsting for more knowledge of the Olympian gods and Titans alike, not to mention the mortals, those Greek heroes, and their many monsters like Scylla and Charybdis. I cannot believe she has left me wanting to read The Odyssey. How else will I ever slake this thirst?

    Oh and yes, Madeline, I most assuredly do want to hear your voice again. Please.

    My sincere thanks to Pamela Brown and Lee Boudreaux Books, Little Brown and Company for this advanced readers copy. My god I loved it!

    On sale now. Get out there and get a copy!

    There are not enough stars.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    This is a beautiful book; it is flawless and intelligent. I do not have a single criticism for this fantastic piece of writing.

    chronicles the life of a lesser god. She is the daughter of the mighty God Helios, the living embodiment of the sun. She is born without any particular talents or powers. She exists in the shadows of her more developed brothers and sisters. She does not shine in such spectacular company.

    However, gifts come in many different forms and those with hidden

    This is a beautiful book; it is flawless and intelligent. I do not have a single criticism for this fantastic piece of writing.

    chronicles the life of a lesser god. She is the daughter of the mighty God Helios, the living embodiment of the sun. She is born without any particular talents or powers. She exists in the shadows of her more developed brothers and sisters. She does not shine in such spectacular company.

    However, gifts come in many different forms and those with hidden talents are overlooked and devalued. More often than not quiet people are forgotten about and there worth ill-considered in all walks of existence. Circe’s family never saw what she could become. Power is important, though sometimes having none teaches one a greater lesson: nothing is worth having unless it has been earned. As such Circe wills herself into power as she discovers her affinity for witchcraft, especially the art of transformation.

    Her family banish her from their company for her use of such a lowly art, and in doing so they set her free. She finds herself in her exile. On her island home she finds a paradise not a prison. She becomes one with nature and finds company with lions and wolves. Centuries pass, ages pass, and eventually some rather important characters come her way. She meets Hermes and Athena, Icarus and his farther Daedalus, and Odysseus, a man who changes her life and causes her to make a very powerful decision that leads this book into such an excellent conclusion.

    offers a huge story, a story that spans generations and includes many Greek heroes and gods. Such is the nature of godhood, of immortality. When life goes on forever many notable people cross one’s path. And despite the huge number of famous characters here, none of it felt forced: it all slotted perfectly into Circe’s life. There are so many myths that intertwine with Circe, like the story of the Minotaur and the fall of Icarus, though despite the famous nature of many of them they don’t for a second overshadow her.

    She met Prometheus when she was young and decided that her life would not be the same as the other gods: she was going to be her own woman. And this is a book about her finding the most ultimate form of freedom. I could not recommend it more highly. I really liked

    though this surpassed it in every way. I really hope to see more from this author in the future.

  • Victoria Schwab

    Spellbinding.

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