Guys you have NO IDEA how much I was YELLING when I found out I was actually going to receive an early copy of this book! I adore The Song of Achilles, so I figured I’d try my luck and sent a request through…and here we are!
Let’s dive right in!
(Found on Goodreads)
When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.
Circe is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, a beautiful naiad. Yet from the moment of her birth, she is an outsider in her father’s halls, where the laughter of gossiping gods resounds. Named after a hawk for her yellow eyes and strange voice, she is mocked by her siblings – until her beloved brother Aeëtes is born.
Yet after her sister Pasiphae marries King Midas of Crete, Aeëtes is whisked away to rule his own island. More isolated than ever, Circe, who has never been divine enough for her family, becomes increasingly drawn to mortals – and when she meets Glaucus, a handsome young fisherman, she is captivated. Yet gods mingle with humans, and meddle with fate, at their peril.
In Circe, Madeline Miller breathes life once more into the ancient world, with the story of an outcast who overcomes scorn and banishment to transform herself into a formidable witch. Unfolding on Circe’s wild, abundant island of Aiaia, where the hillsides are aromatic with herbs, this is a magical, intoxicating epic of family rivalry, power struggles, love and loss – and a celebration of female strength in a man’s world.
*Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an early copy of this book! This in no way affects my opinion.
I already know I’m going to reread this book many times in my life. I already want to reread it, and I’ve only just finished it.
Now, I’ve not yet read The Odyssey, the book that’s said to have inspired this one. But I certainly don’t think it loses anything by reading it that way round. I did the same with The Song of Achilles – read Miller’s retelling first, then read The Iliad. But I’ll be reading The Odyssey soon (or at least, I plan to), and I’ve no doubt I’ll reread this once the final version is released, so I can easily update this review if anything particularly stands out to me in comparison.
While inspired by The Odyssey, I was surprised to see hints of other myths too. Of course I’ll not say which because spoilers, but it was honestly such a wonderful surprise to me. I’d be reading then suddenly – “hey, I know that guy!” I find it so satisfying to recognise things from other stories, and see how they’ve been worked into something new.
Onto Circe herself, I just adore her. Always shown as the weak one, but being so so far from that. She’s sassy, she knows what she wants, she works for it. Her voice in the book seemed to flow so naturally, and I just warmed to her immediately. Plus her character development throughout the book is actually incredible to look back on, in my opinion. I didn’t even notice it was happening, until thinking back through the story after. And that – to me – is the best sign of character development.
I was also amazed by how you can actually sense time passing differently. Because Circe is a goddess, she’s immortal. And you see many mortals in this book in comparison. Somehow, Madeline Miller managed to write that sense of endless time so well. I could really feel how it would be to live as an immortal. To notice the difference in scenery over hundreds of years. How the days blur together.
Honestly, I could rave about this book for days. My only minor fault would be a detail in the ending, which I don’t think was particularly necessary and would have preferred to have gone without. But it didn’t take anything away from the book for me, it didn’t ruin anything at all.
And so, with so much love for this book, it’s definitely a new favourite of mine.
Trigger Warnings: Rape, brief Self Harm
Rated 5/5 stars!
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
Have you read her other book, The Song of Achilles? Were you a fan?
If you haven’t, do you plan to?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!