Book Review: Circe – by Madeline Miller

Reviewed: May 11th, 2023
Released: April 19th, 2018
Genre: Greek Mythology Fantasy fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.

So Circe sets forth her tale, a vivid, mesmerizing epic of family rivalry, love and loss – the defiant, inextinguishable song of woman burning hot and bright through the darkness of a man’s world.

Helen’s thoughts: 4/5

I finally picked up this book, after sitting in my tbr pile for a couple of years. It’s unlikely I would read it again. I would say this reads more as a memoir or an autobiography of the life Circe. So, if you were expecting an action packed fantasy adventure, this is not it.

This is a literary feast of words and wonderful prose, but I found it slow. There are sections that grab you and you can’t put it down and then you are slogging through descriptive prose again. The most interesting and vivid characters were the mortals and they all die pretty quick, so they don’t get much page space. The Gods are all cruel and callous and it’s difficult to find any connection to them, even her brother Aeete turns out to be self-centred and cruel.

It takes Circe thousands of years to understand what her brothers and sisters seem to get straight away. She is a strong an empathetic character, but it is frustrating how all the other siblings always have the upper hand over her, and she is always the clueless victim. Yes, she takes control of her life, eventually, but she takes the long way round!

All in all, Circe will not be for everyone, but if you like historical sagas with plenty of delightful prose, then this may be right up your street.

Purchase Circe via Amazon

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Link to book on Amazon US: eBook | Paperback | Audiobook

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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series or the Romantic Fantasy SoulMist series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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