Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Series info: Standalone
This book has always been in my mind as a “future maybe read”. It wasn’t on my TBR explicitly until my book club gifted me this book for my birthday last year.
Coincidentally, my book club also picked this book as our Book of the Month for April. Hence all of us who haven’t read it yet got to read it together. This motivated me to finally read Circe.
It also checks off a prompt for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge: “A bildungsroman”.
Born as the daughter of the Titan Helios and Titan Perse, Circe has always been looked down upon because of her shrill human-sounding voice and “ugly” features. And she has always lived under everyone else, hoping for some permanent companionship.
It all changes when she discovers witchcraft. After casting a vengeful spell while in love, she is cast away by her father to live in exile. Although she can’t leave, anyone is allowed to visit.
And so we read Circe’s story from start to finish. Her struggles, determination, love, and triumphs.
I know that this book is really popular and loved by many. But I never really read it’s synopsis or considered it much. Hence, I didn’t expect anything when going into it, and was pleasantly surprised.
This book enraptured me. Reading it was such a good experience. And I’ll tell you why.
- The character Circe.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of Circe before. In all my Greek mythology knowledge, she was not there. And hence, reading this book was like reading from a different point of view.
Usually all we read about are famed characters who have accomplished a lot. Who are legends. We don’t read about the lesser known, less ambitious characters. And Circe was one of them.
She is an underdog who is not the most beautiful, not the smartest, nor the most ambitious. And her journey was very interesting.
I couldn’t like her in the beginning and didn’t understand why we had a book on a uninteresting character. But boy was I shown otherwise.
“The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”
- The world was really nice to read about.
I’m super glad I read the Percy Jackson books as a kid because reading Circe was like going back to a familiar world. I caught many references early and knew a little extra than what was explained in the book. That made a good experience.
Even for readers who are not familiar with this world, it would be very interesting. Miller has done a great job at writing this book.
- The story was so interesting.
Even though Circe did not lead a very eventful life, it did not bore me. It took me a while to settle into the pace of the book but once I did, I was not bored.
And once when eventful things DID happen, I was glued to the book. The time and number of pages did not matter as long as I kept reading.
Stories about one’s life (like a biography) is not something I usually like in books but this puts everything I’ve read like it before to shame.
- The difference between mortals and Gods/Titans.
It was super interesting to see the differences in lives through Circe. She is not a usual God who enjoys torturing humans but she is also not someone with a mortal life. In many different scenarios the difference was shown really well.
I was so into it.
“This was how mortals found fame, I thought. Through practice 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.
- The writing was brilliant.
HATS. OFF. To Madeline Miller for her writing. The way she writes is almost lyrical but story-wise. Her pacing is a work of art. She has done so well writing this book. I love it.
- The different elements in the story.
The book is not just about one thing. As it is about Circe’s life and life is always made up of many different things, it was interesting how they were brought together and shown in this story.
Everything from loneliness, isolation, love, motherhood, how a woman’s life is something only in relation to a man, and so much more was incorporated in the book. And they were shown really well.
I’m totally blown away by it. And I definitely recommend it to fantasy and mythology lovers.
Someone told me that The Song of Achilles is even better so I added that to my TBR immediately. Looking forward to read that.
I rate this book..
Have you read Madeline Miller’s books? Do you like mythology as well?