Sunday, August 19

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Title: Circe
By: Madeline Miller
My Copy: Book of the Month
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

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.

Ever since my high school Latin class, I have loved the stories of the gods and goddesses.  How they ruled and reigned with their strength and wraith.

Usually, in most stories, there are clearly the bad guys and the good guys (bad gods/goddesses vs. good gods/goddesses) however Circe led with a different approach.  Never a rotten bone in her, little Circe ran through her father's house with a sweet and naive innocence about her.  Growing up changed that for Circe.  Learning that while she could not be powerful like her father, Circe learned another way from her siblings on how to possess strength.  Using witchcraft, our goddess comes close to possessing what she longs for, however it all goes disastrously wrong.

There are many things that kept me drawn to Circe's story.  I seemed to develop a love for her and rooted for her throughout the whole book.  While not quite a normal goddess, she worked with what she could get and cultivated her island.  For living a life of solitude, Circe has plenty of visitors, some good and some bad.  These visitors tested her soul and wisdom in her witchcraft so that she could protect herself and those that she loved. Now Circe is no longer sweet and naive but vengeful.  But out of all of those visitors, Odysseus seemed to bring out the best version of her. I admire how her armor came off and a new Circe emerged.  Odysseus' stories let Circe live out in the real word, beyond the shores of her island.  It was like she could live a normal life.  No longer a prisoner to her island, it was a space that they could share.  I was overjoyed for her at this possibility.  But like always, the wind changes, Circe's life changes, and the book takes on a whole new chapter.

I will say that my favorite event is the very last page.  Pure perfection!


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