Book review of Circe by Madeline Miller
This is my book review of Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s a retelling of the story of Circe, who was believed to be one of the first witches in greek mythology.
Summary of 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 themselves.”
The description of Circe above is humbly borrowed from Goodreads.
Also, it’s a beautiful book, I really couldn’t resist it when I found it in the bookstore! Together with the title and the blurp on the back, I knew I had to read it. I’m currently fascinated by both retellings, mythology at large and stories of witches in any form. I basically read it in one sitting and here is what drew me in.
Back to basics feminist – in a good way!
In my opinion, once Circe gets exiled, the plot finally starts to take off. She develops from being this insecure, blending-in-with-the-walls nymph, into her own being. It’s an amazing journey and it’s not like a fairytale at all. It feels better and more like a proper way for Circe to become what she does.
Granted, it does take quite a few pages to get there and you have to read through *a lot* of greek mythology gods, godesses, nymphs and what-not. Honestly, it was hard keeping up with who’s who, when you don’t have it fresh in mind.
Once we’re on the Island though, Circe blossoms. It takes a while and is kept believable throughout, as she also maintains some of her original fragility. What I like about it is, that through her hardships, choices and challenges, she finds ways to keep true to her nature. Wrestling herself free of the conventions of other greek gods, she finds her own dominion and becomes this woman of power, and not some nameless nymph.
I’m not sure how it’s done but looking at the size of this book it felt like a whole lot was happening. Like, we are talking big events and points of no return here. But then again, I didn’t really expect less, when Millers ground material is greek mythology. I loved it though, I wanted all the stories and I was immersing myself in Circes universe simply because we live through centuries with her.
If I have to be completely honest, I’m not in love with *any* of the men she involves herself with. But then, I’m not so sure Circe is either, so that’s okay.
Read it if…
If you like super rich, subtly feminist retellings of greek mythology or if you’re into witchy stuff. Also, if you just need a great book with a well-written female lead, who isn’t brought up to fight in combat.
I want to read more books like this, so if you can recommend me something like it, hit me up! Circe by Madeline Miller was a 5 out of 6 star read for me.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below – I’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like more inspiration on what to read next, feel free to check out my entire collection of book reviews right here>>