Circe
The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Song of Achilles One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018"An epic spanning thousands of years that's also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner." - Ann PatchettIn 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.With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.

Circe Details

TitleCirce
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN-139780316556347
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mythology, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Retellings, Adult, Greek Mythology, Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction

Circe Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    “Witches are not so delicate,” I said. I absolutely loved this. 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 The Song of Achilles 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 Circe. But, wha “Witches are not so delicate,” I said. I absolutely loved this. 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 The Song of Achilles 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 Circe. But, whatever the reason, I had no such problem with this book. I was absolutely captivated from start to finish.Circe 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. In the end, Circe might be full of fantasy, backstabbing and murder, but it is first and foremost the story of one woman's life - through pain, love, desire, heartache and motherhood. I did not go easy to motherhood. I faced it as soldiers face their enemies, girded and braced, sword up against the coming blows. Yet all my preparations were not enough. 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.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    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) Shut up I don't have a problem. 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. Shut up I'm not weird. *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.https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
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  • Simona Bartolotta
    January 1, 1970
    I dived into Circe believing to be fully prepared for it, all because I had read and re-read, loved and re-loved The Song Achilles. Now I know that was a foolish notion for me to entertain.“It was my first lesson. Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.”In fact, I soon learned the hard way that no matter how well you think you know her and her writing, you are never prepared for what Madeline Miller's pen is going to deliver. This because the k I dived into Circe believing to be fully prepared for it, all because I had read and re-read, loved and re-loved The Song Achilles. Now I know that was a foolish notion for me to entertain.“It was my first lesson. Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.”In fact, I soon learned the hard way that no matter how well you think you know her and her writing, you are never prepared for what Madeline Miller's pen is going to deliver. This because the key word, where her work is concerned, is “different”: 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 especially) from the original sources she draws from, and said distance is most likely its very raison d'être. 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 enrich, make brighter, give consistency and meaning to what before was bare, dull, plain.“This was how mortals found fame, I thought. Through practise and diligence, tending their skills like gardens until they glowed beneath the sun. But gods are born of ichor and nectar, their excellences already bursting from their fingertips. So they find their fame by proving what they can mar: destroying cities, starting wars, breeding plagues and monsters.”In Circe, as in The Song of Achilles, each and every character is almost eerily well-rounded, even the minor ones, even the ones with the most marginal roles. And Circe is the cherry on top of it all, 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 what, 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 even from her position of non-power she retains an aura of regality. 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 kindness? 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. Kindness is not an easy tale to tell, but Madeline Miller did it with her Circe, a character who is most definitely not widely known for such a trait, which only makes this feat all the more admirable. “That is one thing gods and mortals share: when we are young, we think ourselves the first to have each feeling in the world.”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. Circe floats through the centuries as a creature of both worlds, 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, hers. The whole novel, I think, is the narrative of Circe's fight for the right to spin her story by herself. 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.“Brides, nymphs were called, but that is not really how the world saw us. We were an endless feast laid out upon a table, beautiful and renewing. And so very bad at getting away.”Needless to say at this point, Circe was everything I had hoped for and more. If The Song of Achilles didn't hold such a special place in my heart, I'd even say Circe outshines it, with its spotless writing, its majestic protagonist, 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*
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I'll be honest with you all; all I've ever wanted in my life is an Odyssey retelling from Circe's POV and I cannot believe I just got approved for an ARC of this. 💗
  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsSuch a great book! You do not need to be a fan of mythology to read this book! Confession - I requested this book because I saw it on a list about "anticipated books of 2018” It did not disappoint. If anything this book dazzled! Anticipate this book folks and rush out and get yourself a copy when it becomes available (or request it on NetGalley as I did!).Circe is the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans. Her mother, Perse, an Oceanid naiad is beautiful and 4.5 starsSuch a great book! You do not need to be a fan of mythology to read this book! Confession - I requested this book because I saw it on a list about "anticipated books of 2018” It did not disappoint. If anything this book dazzled! Anticipate this book folks and rush out and get yourself a copy when it becomes available (or request it on NetGalley as I did!).Circe is the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans. Her mother, Perse, an Oceanid naiad is beautiful and captivating. Circe is born with a "strange" voice (she sounds like a mortal 0ohhhh the Horror!) and is often ridiculed by her younger siblings. Circe does not appear to have any powers but nevertheless, she is a God and lives in her father's home until she angers Zeus by transforming a nymph into a monster and a man into a creature. She is banished to live alone on an island. It is here, that she hones her true power - that of a witch! She has interactions with many characters, Hermes, the Minotaur (her sister's child), Athena, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, and Odysseus to name a few. She is caught between the world of the Gods and that of mankind.On her island, she learns the land, befriends the animals and assists sailors - turning some into pigs if they cross her or attempt to harm her. Eventually she has a child and is willing to do anything to protect him from the world and those who would do him harm. This book is beautifully written and very engaging. I found myself emerged in Crice's world and savored every page. Fiction and mythology blend beautifully to create a spellbinding book that does not disappoint. I'll admit, I'm not that familiar with mythology. I studied what was required in school and have a basic understanding of who is who but nothing in depth. One does not need to know much about mythology to appreciate and enjoy this book. The Author does a great job informing the reader who is who and what job they carry i.e. messenger of the gods, goddess of war, etc. Miller describes the Gods and characters brilliantly. I never felt like she was educating me on who was who. All the information flowed with the story. As I stated this book was very well written, the story-line is engaging, intelligent and sucked me in. This book is told through Circe's POV and we get an inside glimpse into her thoughts, feelings and emotions. Circe is a very likable character and over the course of time she becomes stronger, not only in her powers, but in herself. Her confidence grows, her judgement improves, she learns some hard lessons and grows as a person/God. She may have been considered a lesser goddess, but she was a strong female character who stood on her own two feet, stood up for herself and showed great bravery where others cowered. Circe is a God, but she is not heartless or cruel. She is strong and thoughtful and very much like a human. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be strong? To be brave? To be a woman living in a man’s world (she kicks ass at this by the way!)?Absolutely enjoyable and entertaining! Highly recommend!Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book!See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED The Song of Achilles and wasn't totally sure what to expect here (since Circe's story isn't as big), so I went into this book trying not to compare the two. I'm glad I did that now because both stories are incredibly well done, yet do feel a bit different. I think The Song of Achilles has more emotional angst and action to get invested in since it draws from a sweeping, epic poem. Circe felt more like a journey and portrait of a character's growth, so I got invested for other reasons and I LOVED The Song of Achilles and wasn't totally sure what to expect here (since Circe's story isn't as big), so I went into this book trying not to compare the two. I'm glad I did that now because both stories are incredibly well done, yet do feel a bit different. I think The Song of Achilles has more emotional angst and action to get invested in since it draws from a sweeping, epic poem. Circe felt more like a journey and portrait of a character's growth, so I got invested for other reasons and wasn't left with quite the same emotional impact. But I still absolutely enjoyed the whole experience of reading Circe!For real, though -- the writing here is so completely gorgeous & mesmerizing that just the act of reading it is its own experience. Honestly, the plot could be about paint drying and I would probably still rave about the book. (Luckily the plot was all sorts of entertaining in itself, though). I felt like I was totally reading a classic with its lyrical, almost dreamlike narration and vivid atmosphere. The pacing felt more peaceful than slow. I bet the audiobook will be AMAZING. Obviously you might appreciate the story more if you're familiar with Greek mythology, but it's not a big deal if you aren't. The writing is so beautiful and the world is so compelling that anyone could still get invested! I like stories where characters slowly gain agency and this did not disappoint. Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    January 1, 1970
    Me: Madeline Miller broke my heartMadeline Miller: writes a new bookMe: I needBonus:Also Madeline Miller: it's a Odyssey retelling from Circe's PoV or whatevsMe: *softly, but with feeling* holy shiT
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    'I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.'5 wonderful Madeline Miller stars! After The Song of Achilles, I was intrigued to see what marvels would come next. Set in the aftermath of the Olympian victory over the Titans, Circe is a lesser daughter of Helios, the Titanic Sun God, a nymph and immortal.I am not going to go into details of plot. When I started reading, I remembered 'I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.'5 wonderful Madeline Miller stars! After The Song of Achilles, I was intrigued to see what marvels would come next. Set in the aftermath of the Olympian victory over the Titans, Circe is a lesser daughter of Helios, the Titanic Sun God, a nymph and immortal.I am not going to go into details of plot. When I started reading, I remembered little of Circe's story, but as I went along I consulted my old friend Wiki for background information. You will recognise many of this cast of thousands although they are fleeting roles in Circe's story.The writing is beautiful and evocative- it feels like easing yourself into a warm Mediterranean Sea and carries you along on its tides and currents. My heart went out to Circe time and time again. I've never actually liked the idea of living longer than anyone else, but immortality never looked so bad!Recommended.Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    guess who just got accepted for an arc of this :) thanks for my life @ Madeline Miller
  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    MADELINE MILLER IS WRITING A NEW BOOK!!!and it's about the Odyssey ?binch live updates as they come I'M SO READY FOR THIS
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Thence we sailed on, grieved at heart, glad to have escaped death, though we had lost our dear comrades; and we came to the isle of Aeaea, where dwelt fair-tressed Circe, a dread goddess of human speech, own sister to Aeetes of baneful mind; and both are sprung from Helius, who gives light to mortals, and from Perse, their mother, whom Oceanus begot. Here we put in to shore with our ship in silence, into a harbor where ships may lie, and some god guided us. Then we disembarked, and lay there for Thence we sailed on, grieved at heart, glad to have escaped death, though we had lost our dear comrades; and we came to the isle of Aeaea, where dwelt fair-tressed Circe, a dread goddess of human speech, own sister to Aeetes of baneful mind; and both are sprung from Helius, who gives light to mortals, and from Perse, their mother, whom Oceanus begot. Here we put in to shore with our ship in silence, into a harbor where ships may lie, and some god guided us. Then we disembarked, and lay there for two days and two nights, eating our hearts for weariness and sorrow. This is how I first met Circe, as Odysseus and what's left of his crew arrive on her island during part of their long passage home. She is the wiley sorceress, dangerous and sexual, turning men into pigs and, according to Hermes, demanding Odysseus' personal attention. Yet in The Odyssey, she is seen only through the lens of male eyes, Odysseus and Hermes both. While we do get some of her words through reported speech, we never know her in any meaningful way. Even so, she is bewitching, her story stands out as a highlight of the hero's long journey.Enter Madeline Miller. Anyone who has read The Song of Achilles will know that she is the right author to show us Circe; her thoughts, feelings, talents, and flaws. Beginning in the unhappy halls of her father Helios, the story is a intimate, first person narrative that is spun from a multiplicity of ancient sources and myths, masterfully developed into a thrilling tale of love and loss by Miller's guiding hand. At the centre if it all is Circe, her voice so clear and natural that not only can the reader understand her every thought and action, we can see and feel the way she changes and develops throughout the novel. This is in stark contrast to the other gods and goddesses interwoven in the story, unchanging in their nature, obsessed with their competitions and demands for tribute, they do not fare well in comparison. Other mythical human figures make their own impressions; a long list of ancient celebrities are part of Circe's story, but are given a vividness that make them more than just appearances, we can imagine them as real people and given the fantastical nature of their stories, that is no mean feat. I promised myself that I would make this book last and I feel some amount of pride that I did, in fact, put the book down once for a break. After that though, it proved an impossible action to repeat. The story, no...Circe is too compelling to leave. Make sure you don't miss this, it's sure to be one of the best books of 2018. ARC via NetgalleyQuote ref: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/t...
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  • Lia Bonnibel
    January 1, 1970
    Hey, B... shall we? 😍
  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Circe is an epic fantasy that reads like a historical fiction novel, based on the Greek mythology of the witch of Aiaia, the daugher of a Titan- Circe.I minored in the classics at university and one of my favorite classes was mythology. I love taking apart stories that mirror humanity's foibles and try to explain the origin of some of life's harder truths.In the war between the Titans and the Olympians, a creation story that could be interpreted to mean the ascension of modern culture over more Circe is an epic fantasy that reads like a historical fiction novel, based on the Greek mythology of the witch of Aiaia, the daugher of a Titan- Circe.I minored in the classics at university and one of my favorite classes was mythology. I love taking apart stories that mirror humanity's foibles and try to explain the origin of some of life's harder truths.In the war between the Titans and the Olympians, a creation story that could be interpreted to mean the ascension of modern culture over more ancient superstitions, the Olympians triumph. But the Titans are not wiped off the face of the earth."Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two." loc 272, ebook.Some of the Titans' powerful and mysterious children play central roles in the great mythological stories. Circe is one of those."They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves." loc 102, ebook.She began her life in the halls of Helios, a Titanic deity who was a god of the sun, much like Apollo."At my father's feet, the whole world was made of gold. The light came from everywhere at once, his yellow skin, his lambent eyes, the bronze flashing of his hair. His flesh was as hot as a brazier, and I pressed as close as he would let me, like a lizard to noonday rocks." loc 158, ebook.Compared to her great father and gorgeous, manipulative mother, Circe was nothing- one of the many faceless children of the greater gods, whose future was destined to be a wife and then mother to more godlings.Circe's future is not as simple as all that.She, and her brothers and sister, have a unique power that no other gods possess. They have the ability to harness the plants and power of the earth, to create potions and salves with miraculous effects. They call it: pharmakeia.Modern readers can recognize the roots of the word "pharmacy" in the name."Pharmakeia, such arts are called, for they deal in pharmaka, those herbs with the power to work changes upon the world, both those sprung from the blood of gods, as well as those which grow common upon the earth." loc 909.It is a power no one understands and, because of its mysteriousness, it makes even the gods afraid.There is more to Circe's story than pharmakeia. She also interacts with Hermes, Daedalus and Odysseus. She creates a god and a monster. She shakes the foundation of the oceans.Highly recommended for those who enjoy mythology or historical fiction. It will transport you to a world where gods and goddesses walk the earth and humanity can do nothing but tremble in their shadows.Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an advance, digital copy of this book.
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  • Viktoria (seelieknight)
    January 1, 1970
    *I was sent an arc by the publishers*material in books is subject to change.I always enjoyed the Odyssey, but it was never a favorite tale of mine. Circe, for those who might not be familiar with the story, was a minor character who’s notorious moment of fame was when she turned Odyssey’s men into pigs. Yes, that actually happened—and yes, she made me enjoy the tale considerably more than had she never been written into it.With that out of the way, I should begin this review by saying that while *I was sent an arc by the publishers*material in books is subject to change.I always enjoyed the Odyssey, but it was never a favorite tale of mine. Circe, for those who might not be familiar with the story, was a minor character who’s notorious moment of fame was when she turned Odyssey’s men into pigs. Yes, that actually happened—and yes, she made me enjoy the tale considerably more than had she never been written into it.With that out of the way, I should begin this review by saying that while I have a decent knowledge of Greek mythology, this story would have been a bit of a struggle to understand had I not known specific myths. For many people, I feel that Circe is going to be one of those books that you’ll need to do some background research to truly understand what is happening. Miller provides enough resources that one can just surmise what is going on without having to recall some middle school lecture about the Odyssey, but there are still going to be holes left unfilled. Even for me, it was a bit confusing at times. But don't let this discourage you! I was already a fan of Miller because of her other novel, The Song of Achilles, so Circe had some big shoes to fill. I’ll just say right now that I didn't love this story as much as the other novel. For me, it didn't have the same fast-paced and adventurous ambiance of TSoA, nor did it have the same emotional pull. Circe is a slower read. The romance is essentially nonexistent, which I liked, but the emotional angst wasn't delivered to the extent that I thought it would be. What I mean to say is; I didn't really care much for most of these characters. Not like I did with TSoA. However, they are both completely different tales, so its hard to base one book off of the other.That being said, heres a rundown on the plot.Circe is the firstborn daughter of Helios, god of the sun. Her father is a mighty Titan, and her mother a vicious water nymph. Growing up, Circe was an outcast because she appeared more mortal than immortal, and neither of her parents were pleased with her existence but they put up with her regardless. Years later, her mother gave birth to twins—Pasiphaë and Perses. They treated their elder sister with as much contempt as their parents. Circe, being used to the torment, went along with it for centuries. Later, another brother was born into the family named Aeëtes. Circe felt an overwhelming sense of adoration for her little brother and became immensely protective of him. He, in turn, became the only one who spoke to her as an equal.Circe continued with life, walking in the shadows of her predecessors, until one fateful evening where Prometheus was held on trial for gifting mankind the creation of fire. The Titans unleashed their wrath upon him, and Circe, not knowing what else to do, waited until everyone left to come forth and speak with the cursed god. He told her of his love for mortals, and how their kind treats one another different than how the gods treat themselves. Thus, Circe starts to seek comfort with mortals. A young sailor by the name of Glaucos enraptures her, and they soon fall in love. Circe finally discovers her powers and is able to transform her lover into a serpentine immortal, to which causes him great fame because everyone believes he was favored by the gods—not that she had been powerful enough to perform the impossible. But when Glaucos starts to fall for another, Circe goes before her father and claims that she was the one who transformed him. Of course, no one believes her. In her frustration, she transforms Glaucos’ new lover into a monster, and is banished to an isolated island to live out her days alone as punishment. It is on this island that mortals came from the sea in hopes to find shelter. And Circe, having grown desperate, entertains each crew of men that arrive on her island until their true intentions cause her to take matters into her own hands. After attempting to rape her, Circe transforms the men into pigs. She repeats this for each ship that seeks refuge until Odysseus makes an appearances and pleads for her to change them back.From there, Circe begins to understand life and its often cruel meanings. I think what I enjoyed the most in this book was the character development. Circe goes from being a small girl who never stood up for herself to an angry woman who transformed people into creatures until she finally blossoms into a wise witch who's whit and knowledge of mortal and immortal behaviors causes her to become a compelling force.She is the type of character that you’ll find yourself rooting for. An underdog of sorts. And while she might not ever be the most powerful character in the tale, her presence is one to be noticed and that is why I ended up liking her so much. She doesn't need blades or even her spells, she just has to rely on her patience and cunning. (There are a few moment between her and Athena that will really demonstrate this.)Plot aside, Miller has such a beautiful writing structure that she could have given me a story about the adventures of a worm and it wouldn't have been so awful. Its lyrical and flows smoothly—two things I love in a book. The pace might be a bit dragging at times, but it eventually picks up when you least expect it. Overall, you’ll be happy you kept going. So if you're looking for a romantic book, or one about bloodshed and battles, this probably isn't for you. But if you’re interested in a story with amazing character development that explores the many strengths of a women who has been tested by literally everything she's ever had to deal with…congrats. Heres your next read.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    Circe de-clawed and domesticatedOnce again, I'm afraid I'm an outlier when it comes to Miller: while I didn't dislike this in the same way that I did her Achilles, I found this to be a shallow, even superficial, version of Circe, and one which takes a woman who is wild and dangerous in the originary myths and then de-claws and domesticates her. Miller's Circe is kind and gentle, yearning to be loved and included in her cold family, and even the meanness of her sister Pasiphaë doesn't rouse her. Circe de-clawed and domesticatedOnce again, I'm afraid I'm an outlier when it comes to Miller: while I didn't dislike this in the same way that I did her Achilles, I found this to be a shallow, even superficial, version of Circe, and one which takes a woman who is wild and dangerous in the originary myths and then de-claws and domesticates her. Miller's Circe is kind and gentle, yearning to be loved and included in her cold family, and even the meanness of her sister Pasiphaë doesn't rouse her. Later we see her happily weaving, gardening and congratulating herself on how 'snug' her home is, and even her encounter with Odysseus is far tamer than it is in Homer.The last part is particularly hard for me to swallow: (view spoiler)[ Miller has Circe becoming a kind of family with Penelope and Telemachus, and the final long-term love affair with Telemachus gives us a Circe who just really wanted all along to be a wife and mother (hide spoiler)] - so much for one of the most edgy, obstructionist, untameable female characters in classical myth! Alongside this, the book leaps through a number of myths that, traditionally, have nothing to do with Circe: Prometheus, the Minotaur (view spoiler)[ (and the scene where Daedalus and Circe deliver the monster through a makeshift Caesarian is weird!) (hide spoiler)], Ariadne, Phaedra, as well as a visit from Medea with Jason in tow - and much is told to us via a version of the 'messenger speech' where we're quickly given a run-down of what's happened off-stage, as it were. This is certainly readable and it's great that Miller has revived classical stories for a new audience - but for a C21st female author to take a fierce and powerful character like Circe whose very existence serves as a challenge to 'good' women, and then turn her into exactly the kind of domesticated wife figure that Circe contests feels strange to me. Thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
  • Marty :} (thecursedbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    finally!! a new Madeline Miller book!
  • Morgannah
    January 1, 1970
    This was just named as one of Esquire's 27 Most Anticipated Books of 2018!
  • Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction*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 Mill Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction*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
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  • Lucy Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.A much-loved legend, retold in an intricate, convincing, tale.As a child, I loved the story of the Odyssey. Trojan horses, Cyclopes, evil sirens...what wasn't to like? One character always held particular fascination (and mild horror) though, and that was Circe the sorceress...who turned Odysseus' men into pigs. When I spotted this book on Netgalley, I realised that, aside from the swine-transforming skills, there wa I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.A much-loved legend, retold in an intricate, convincing, tale.As a child, I loved the story of the Odyssey. Trojan horses, Cyclopes, evil sirens...what wasn't to like? One character always held particular fascination (and mild horror) though, and that was Circe the sorceress...who turned Odysseus' men into pigs. When I spotted this book on Netgalley, I realised that, aside from the swine-transforming skills, there was very little else I knew about Circe...so was keen to read the story and discover more. I wasn't expecting such a rich, engaging story though, which honestly had me gripped from start to finish.It begins with Circe the daughter of Helios, an outcast, 'low-grade' goddess, ridiculed and despised by others. Exiled from her home, she's driven to an island, where she discovers her magical abilities. Yes, Odysseus does feature, but he's merely one player in a cast of several, including the nymph/ monster Scylla, the sardonic messenger god Hermes, Odysseus's long-suffering wife Penelope and Dedalus. Yep, even the Minotaur was in there, much to my great delight, and so beautifully woven in, it left me quite staggered.What are we left with by the end of the book? The knowledge that the legend of Circe has been fully brought to life - that she's no longer a bit-part in The Odyssey, but a strong, fearless, emotional goddess in her own right. Absolutely loved it...it's a big five-stars from me!
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleI'm still struggling to believe this moment is actually here. It was almost exactly three years ago that I read and reviewed Madeline Miller's stunning The Song of Achilles and essentially dissolved into a puddle of shock and awe. It was difficult to summon the will to move on in the wake of such a book. The crafting of it felt almost too good for this world, as though it had been created slightly above mortal ground and continued to hover there, just above Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleI'm still struggling to believe this moment is actually here. It was almost exactly three years ago that I read and reviewed Madeline Miller's stunning The Song of Achilles and essentially dissolved into a puddle of shock and awe. It was difficult to summon the will to move on in the wake of such a book. The crafting of it felt almost too good for this world, as though it had been created slightly above mortal ground and continued to hover there, just above us, in its natural state. So when I got wind that Ms. Miller was working on a new novel—that not only was she shifting from The Iliad to The Odyssey, but that she was focusing the tale on Circe—it was difficult not to will Chronos to speed up time so that I could have that book in my hands. To say that it was one of—if not the—most anticipated novel of the year for me is not any kind of exaggeration.When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.Circe has always been uneasy about names. The name by which the gods call her. The names by which they call themselves. Titan. Olympian. Daughter of the Sun. Nymph. Witch. The words that are permitted and those that are not. The children who are welcome at her father Helios' feet and those who are not. For much of her early life, Circe coasts under the ever-raging storm of her mother's petty schemes and her siblings' wars for dominance. Born first, but deemed least of her father's children, Circe is the butt of every joke. Pitied for her weak and scratching voice, her uncouth eyes, and her relative limpness in every way that matters to feckless deities. And yet, she never stops trying to find love and meaning and peace where there is none. Even her beloved little brother Aeëtes leaves her without a second thought when he is offered a kingdom of his own. Until one night, a turning point. Prometheus, a god himself, sentenced to be punished for his merciful gift to mortals, is hauled within their halls and whipped as a form of entertainment before he is to be chained to the rock for his crimes. Circe alone offers him drink, and their brief exchange hails the entrance of mortals into Circe's life. One act of mercy begetting many more—a long chain of actions and reactions, spooling out over the centuries and serving to outline the shape of one lone goddess' existence.The anger stood out plain and clean on his face. There was a sort of innocence to him, I thought. I do not mean this as the poets mean it: a virtue to be broken by the story's end, or else upheld at greatest cost. Nor do I mean that he was foolish or guileless. I mean that he was made only of himself, without the dregs that clog the rest of us. He thought and felt and acted, and all these things made a straight line. No wonder his father had been so baffled by him. He would have been always looking for the hidden meaning, the knife in the dark. But Telemachus carried his blade in the open.Madeline Miller deals in exiles. In the paths of individuals who are sent away, forced to flee—to other realms, to underground labyrinths, to lonely isles for the rest of their days. It is a long tale Circe has to share, and one that is difficult even for her to tease out how it may have begun and how it will likely never end. In fact, so much of the tale is threaded through with the search for a reason, if any, for her existence, for a purpose that will fit the shape of her hand and feel comfortable in her grasp for as long as she cares to hold it. From the opening lines, I was lost in Circe's story. Like her, I became enamored of each fragile mortal that crossed her path. Of Glaucos as he once was, of Daedalus with his marvelous hands and his quiet presence, of Odysseus and all his clever guises. And like her, I grew more and more uncertain—at times, fearful—of how the game would play out, of whether or not she would ever find the peace, the shelter, the companionship for which she longed. Of where and when mortality and immortality may meet and whether it is possible for anything to survive. It was a long journey, filled with pain and grief and merciless beings bent on their own course and leaving swaths of lives crushed in their wake. It was also unquestionably beautiful and sensitive in its rendering. Circe is another side of the same coin that is flipped in The Song of Achilles and that we watched tumble end over end to the earth. Different, yes, and cunning in its shiftiness. But also shining and true in the same sympathetic light. I closed the book feeling a deep certainty that Madeline Miller is of the same ilk at Circe, as Penelope, as those ancient weavers of cloth, of light, of both words and worlds. And looking around me, after having walked a time in the company of these women, the fabric of this world, too, seems to hold the imprint of their sure and steady hands.
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  • Tiffany Miss.Fiction
    January 1, 1970
    I’m quiet sure so many people won’t like this book as much as The Song Of Achilles. There is not a big and enrapturing love story, there are no warriors in shiny armors and there are no glorious deeds. If it was quiet easy to root for Achilles’ and Patroclo’s story, it won’t be the same for Circe’s. However, i am immensely grateful for Circe. When i started it i had no expectations because i didn’t know what it would be about - except for the character of Circe.After 17 years from A Song Of Achi I’m quiet sure so many people won’t like this book as much as The Song Of Achilles. There is not a big and enrapturing love story, there are no warriors in shiny armors and there are no glorious deeds. If it was quiet easy to root for Achilles’ and Patroclo’s story, it won’t be the same for Circe’s. However, i am immensely grateful for Circe. When i started it i had no expectations because i didn’t know what it would be about - except for the character of Circe.After 17 years from A Song Of Achilles, Madeline Miller blessed us with a new exceptional work.The story follows Circe from her childhood among the the ancient gods - her family - and the endless torture they played on her. Her father, her mother and her cousins, aunts, uncles and relatives were not gentle with her, they didn’t treat her with kindness. They trample over her heart so many times i have lost count because she was kind and she would never raise her voice. She thinks she has found love but it’s only one of the endless disappointment of her life.She let them do that to her and she patiently waited. The we follow her exile on the isle of Eea (Aiaia sorry sounds so weird to an italian reader) and the journey through loneliness, the inner journey to discover who she really is and what she’s capable of, through love, through motherhood, through the worst kind of violence, through so many emotions… Through an episodic prose, we recreate the whole Circe and the meaning of her character. The inexorable passing of time, the tragedy and the blessing of being a God and the relationship with mortality, the challenges of motherhood and the conflicts of womanhood.Circe has the trait i can see in any woman face or eyes: she persisted. I’ve been crying a lot over these pages. Because even thou it will be very hard for many people to see the greatness of this book (again, there is no big romance and this will disappoint many people) it’s the most intimate, raw and painful reflection of womanhood.could describe this reading process very differently from any other i had before. I lived every page on the verge of an heartbreak. Like my heart was about to be smashed in pieces after every single sentence. It was quiet tense, intense, overwhelming. The representation of womanhood through the character of Circe was incredibly vibrant, beautiful and realistic. I respect her so much. It’s a not my usual favorite kind of character, she’s full of weaknesses, she lets way too many people trample on her heart and her ideas but not because she’s stupid, on the contrary. Because she’s kind. She hasn’t found her place in this universe yet and this is a story about the journey to self definition, she evolves page after page. We never seek kindness in our heroes, we are looking for strength and glorious deeds. But kindness is always underrated while it should be one of the most magnificent value of humanity. I will point out just that if you think we will see the cruel Circe we see in the Odyssey, you are very wrong. Circe expands the characters of the first witch of history a lot and gives us a solid background about why she has become the character Homer portrayed but with an insightful and more lenient narrator.This is a story of coming of age, of kindness and of womanhood. I feel like Madeline Miller has brought to life Circe at its fullest by giving her a fair trial.Let me take a moment to praise the writing. It took 17 years to Madeline Miller to write this book after Song Of Achilles and well, it’s all worth the wait. The style it’s elegant, beautiful, warm. It’s vivid, lyrical and smooth. Can’t wait to read her next perfect book in 15 years. It exceeded my expectations!This book deeply affected me, personally and emotionally. I am so grateful to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC. It is, hands down, the book of 2018.SIDE NOTE! I am quiet familiar both with the greek epòs and the myths that surround Circe but for who’s not really familiar with all the characters involved in this story, Wikipedia can come to your help and it will be easier to follow the storyline and the meaning of every character if you have a bit of a background on them.
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  • Tes
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come. ♡
  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)
    January 1, 1970
    Feminism meets Greek mythology at its best. RTC!---Now that I've finally read the heartbreak that was The Song of Achilles, I can move on to my ARC of this gorgeous book. What I should be thinking:What I'm actually thinking:
  • Chloe (thelastcolour)
    January 1, 1970
    “All my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.” I would like to start off this review saying that I would have travelled to the ends of the earth to get my hands on a copy of this book. Luckily enough, Bloomsbury kindly sent an ARC to me in exchange for an honest review. There was no need for bloody battles or deadly sacrifices. Circe by Madeline Miller is a slight retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, where Homer introduces her after Ody “All my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.” I would like to start off this review saying that I would have travelled to the ends of the earth to get my hands on a copy of this book. Luckily enough, Bloomsbury kindly sent an ARC to me in exchange for an honest review. There was no need for bloody battles or deadly sacrifices. Circe by Madeline Miller is a slight retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, where Homer introduces her after Odysseus stumbles upon her island and she turns his men into pigs. This story follows this young goddess from the time that she wanders the halls of her father, Helios, Miller grants the reader an opportunity to see her grow. I am an avid fan of Greek Mythology so many of the references to other mythological characters and stories was greatly welcome, so I would add that you should have Google to hand if you want to know about these stories in greater depth and appreciate their appearances as I did. Miller does an excellent job with ensuring that you do not need to research but, if you’re anything like me, then to get a sweeter taste of the story and the pain Circe must endure, delve deeper. The writing is as beautiful as I had hoped, exceeding my expectations. Miller has a distinct talent, her words are a source of comfort and motivation. A quiet whisper in a world that only shouts. It is heartbreaking and soothing and allows you to float away for a while. But if you are seeking a heart-wrenching, soul-destroying tale similar to The Song of Achilles then this will not be the book for you. Circe is not as fast paced or plot driven as its predecessor but that does not make it any less worthy of the 5 stars that it shares with TSOA. The character development is magnificent, the setting and the characters and the empowerment touched my heart in many ways. Emotional angst is laced throughout the novel, strong enough to warrant a full page spread of quotes in my bullet journal. This was the story that I needed at this particular time in my life, I did not need to weep, to feel my heart breaking in my chest. I needed comfort, a friend, words to tell me that I am not alone in how I feel, how I have felt in the past. Madeline Miller has shed some light on an underrated character within the world of Greek Mythology and has cast an interesting shadow on one of my most beloved characters, Odysseus.If you have been reading my reviews for a while then you will know what I’m about to say. Here is a little snippet of what you can expect from this story if you are still apprehensive about picking this book up in the Spring (Autumn if you’re living in AU/NZ).There’s flowers birthed from deadly battles, flowers that grow from the blood of enemies. It’s wandering obsidian hallways, eyes cast downwards to avoid the sight of the sun. It’s risking everything to help those in need, struggling to be heard, to let your voice boom across the sky. It’s deserted islands drenched in mist, in flowers, laden with fruit and tame animals. It’s magic on the tip of your tongue, tingling in your fingers, scratching across your back. It’s the will of the gods, fleeting friendships, lost loves and spangled skies. It’s shrieking into the void, tear stained cheeks and hands battering walls. It’s lonely ships and weary men. It’s poison and death and hatred. There’s nights drenched in moonlight, stories of a monster destroying ships, ripping men apart with her bare hands. It’s the soft touch of fingers gliding along skin, delicate kisses and fierce hugs. It’s dresses brushing along the dirt, mountains humming beneath feet, fingernails caked in potions capable of stopping the gods. It’s being drunk on power, a hunger to taste the world and rip it apart with your bare hands.
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  • Navessa
    January 1, 1970
    I. AM SO. FRICKING. EXCITED FOR THIS.
  • Yv
    January 1, 1970
    Circe is de dochter van de Zonnegod Helios en de Oceanide Perse. Ze is al sinds haar geboorte anders dan andere Goden en is hierdoor een beetje een buitenbeentje. Ze heeft een vreemde stem, ze ziet er normaal uit en ze heeft geen krachten. Ze wordt verliefd op de mens Glaucos en uit pure wanhoop verandert ze hem per ongeluk in een God. Happily Ever After, zou je denken, maar niets is minder waar. Glaucos wordt verliefd op de nimf Scylla en uit razernij en jaloerzie verandert Circe deze beeldscho Circe is de dochter van de Zonnegod Helios en de Oceanide Perse. Ze is al sinds haar geboorte anders dan andere Goden en is hierdoor een beetje een buitenbeentje. Ze heeft een vreemde stem, ze ziet er normaal uit en ze heeft geen krachten. Ze wordt verliefd op de mens Glaucos en uit pure wanhoop verandert ze hem per ongeluk in een God. Happily Ever After, zou je denken, maar niets is minder waar. Glaucos wordt verliefd op de nimf Scylla en uit razernij en jaloerzie verandert Circe deze beeldschone nimf in een zeskoppig monster. Het wordt duidelijk dat Circe krachten bezit en na deze daad wordt zij verbannen naar het eiland Aiaia."That was my first lesson. Beneath the smoot, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two."Of je nu wel of geen liefhebber van de Griekse mythologie bent, Circe is een boek dat op je TBR zou moeten prijken. Madeline Miller heeft een betoverend boek neergezet dat iedereen het verhaal van Circe in zal sleuren, tot de laatste bladzijde dichtgeslagen wordt. Hoewel in grote lijnen de originele mythen zijn aangehouden, heeft Madeline zeker haar eigen draai eraan weten te geven. Voor mij, als leek in mythologie, zocht ik tijdens het lezen wat dingen op Google en juist daarom was haar eigen inzicht in Circe positief opvallend. Wellicht dat echte kenner hier anders over denkt, daar durf ik natuurlijk geen uitspraak over te doen."I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands."De schrijfstijl is fijn en beeldend. Hierdoor zijn de Goden levensecht neergezet en is het makkelijker om de specifieke God voor je te halen. Ook de omgevingssferen op het eiland Aiaia zijn mooi omschreven. Maar de band tussen mens en God komt misschien nog wel het best uit de verf. De angst voor de macht van de Goden is realistisch neergezet en tegelijkertijd ook het respect voor de Goden. Maar toch is Circe degene die de show steelt. Van onzeker en eigenlijk gewoon een zielig meisje transformeert ze tot een vrouw met een groot hart, terwijl vanaf buiten haar hart maar klein en ijskoud lijkt. Haar zoon is haar alles en dat is goed te merken.Wat een wonderschoon verhaal. Mijn interesse in mythologie is gewekt en ik wil hier absoluut meer over lezen. Aanrader, dikke 5* verdiend!
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  • Izzy
    January 1, 1970
    THE SONG OF ACHILLES BROKE ME SO MUCH I DON'T THINK I CAN DEAL WITH A NEW MILLER BOOK
  • Lauren James
    January 1, 1970
    This far exceeded my expectations, which were already far too high. I have no background in Greek mythology, and The Song of Achilles blew me away because it somehow made these complicated myths feel real, even with all the gods and nymphs running around. That book was a lot easier to root for, because it revolved around the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. This time around, there is not only a far bigger and more complicated cast, but there's no central relationship to hook you into This far exceeded my expectations, which were already far too high. I have no background in Greek mythology, and The Song of Achilles blew me away because it somehow made these complicated myths feel real, even with all the gods and nymphs running around. That book was a lot easier to root for, because it revolved around the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. This time around, there is not only a far bigger and more complicated cast, but there's no central relationship to hook you into the story. Despite that, Miller has somehow managed to create a book that you are completely invested in, feels totally real and believable, and contains characters who jump of the page. Circe is a character that appears in multiple Greek myths, and the Odyssey, but Miller has woven Circe into new, unexpected myths too. She's made her a fully realised member of the Greek immortal community - she creates sea monsters, aids Prometheus, helps birth Minotaurs, gives pep talks to Jason and the argonauts, has flings with Hermes and fights with Artemis, as well as her central adventure with Odysseus. At times, it makes me wonder how the gods opperated with Circe trapped on her island, she is so vital to their lives! I recommend reading this before The Song of Achilles, because it does give you a far better grounding into the full world of figures of Greek myths, whereas Miller's first book is very much focused on Achilles and Patroclus in the Trojan war. Circe is a character who's going to stay with me for a long time. She has an incredible journey, growing from meek, overlooked youngest daughter of the sun god, to one of the strongest of all immortal beings, who even Zeus is afraid of. Banished alone to an island, she not only flourishes but lives the kind of free life that makes her female contemporaries, including Penelope, jealous. With gardens and meadows full of herbs for her spells, tame lions and those (infamous!) pigs, she's living life on her own terms, regardless of the myths and legends who pop in for a visit. I was fully invested in her day to day life, even the very minor trivialities she faced in-between dramas. That's when you know you're reading about a fully three-dimensional character! At the end of the book, she faces the final question: after having lived every possible kind of life, what can she possibly do next? I think the answer is the perfect ending. I really can't wait to see what Miller writes next. I already know I'm going to love it. Surely, this must be a modern classic.
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  • lp
    January 1, 1970
    CIRCE is written so beautifully and epically it almost felt metaphysical. I am so sad to not be reading it anymore. I keep having moments where I am thinking about living life fully, motherhood, and feelings that are so human they are biblical and I wonder, "why was I just thinking about that?" It is because I just finished CIRCE. It made me examine what it means to be human. This book whipped me into a world I did not want to leave. I felt like I was dreaming the most wonderful, colorful, and s CIRCE is written so beautifully and epically it almost felt metaphysical. I am so sad to not be reading it anymore. I keep having moments where I am thinking about living life fully, motherhood, and feelings that are so human they are biblical and I wonder, "why was I just thinking about that?" It is because I just finished CIRCE. It made me examine what it means to be human. This book whipped me into a world I did not want to leave. I felt like I was dreaming the most wonderful, colorful, and sometimes terrifying things. When I finished the last page I spent hours reading up on Greek mythology, wanting more of Circe and her voice. But outside of this book, it really doesn't exist. One of the best books I've read in years and years.
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