Circe by Madeline Miller

February 13, 2018

Thank you so much Little, Brown and Company and Lauren for the gorgeous ARC!

I have always enjoyed The Odyssey and learning about Greek mythology, but I am in no way an expert or mythology aficionado. With that being said, it was so lovely to meet these characters again on these beautifully written pages. I honestly don't think you'd need a giant background in Greek mythology to enjoy Circe, so no fear!

This novel is a sweeping and grand peek into the life of Circe, an outcast among her family and peers. She is neither as beautiful nor as powerful as her parents and siblings and is deemed a nuisance and useless by all. They cannot even stand to hear her speak with her 'weak voice'. For centuries she bears the contemptuous abuse and neglect until one day she offers the tortured Prometheus some nectar and asks him why would he help the humans despite knowing he'd be punished. He tells her how he loves these creatures and how humans are different in their treatment of each other, a stark contrast to life among gods and goddesses. This is the moment it all changes for Circe.

Soon, a mortal sailor captivates her heart while she steals his, but they cannot be together, for why would Helios, her father agree to marry her off to a mere mortal. By sheer accident, Circe uses her powers to transform him into a god, but yet, seduced by the adoration he is shown, his love for Circe transfers to another. Frustrated and melancholy, Circe transforms his new lover into a monster and is soon thereafter banished to a lonely island to live out the rest of her days.

Here, she hones her craft and is soon visited by boatloads of men. Relishing the much wanted company she tries to take care of them, but their intentions are not so kind. Circe learns the harsh realities of men as the group tries to rape her, but she turns them all into pigs. (Quite befitting) She repeats this process until Odysseus comes and begs Circe to change his own crew back into men and she finally has someone to love and care for. 

And this is only the beginning.

I am convinced Madeline Miller didn't write this book, but rather used her own witchcraft to summon the mighty Circe herself and coerced the words from her ancient lips. Or she transformed herself into the witch and penned this woeful tale. Either way, Circe is masterfully written and there's not one moment where you think it's anyone but Circe telling you this epic story of how to she overcame a world of selfish gods and goddesses and became even more powerful than they could have imagined. 

I do have a 'beware' to share: mythology is full of gods and goddesses having affairs with siblings, family members, and of course...animals. 

my rating: 4/5

Circe will be released April 10th, 2018 and is available for preorder! 

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