Madeline Miller is one of my new favorite authors. I read The Song of Achilles earlier this year for our Book Club at work and LOVED it. Circe by Madeline Miller was an option for our December pick, and I advocated strongly for it, but The Tattooist of Auschwitz won out (and I’m not mad…super excited actually). Luckily enough, Circe was available through my local library as an eBook, so I jumped at the chance to read it.
We’re all fairly familiar with Circe in her connection to Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey. He and his crew happen upon her island, she turns most of them into swine, Hermes intervenes, and then Circe and Odysseus get together. Since this is historical fiction, and Madeline Miller is a genius, we do get that portion of the story as well.
Circe obviously follows the story of Circe. She is exiled from her home after a disagreement between her Titan father, and the “greater” Olympians. Her brothers and sister are not exiled for their sorcery talents, but she has always been the “least” of her siblings, and is easily forfeited.
At first, Circe embraces her exile. She has the opportunity to hone her sorcery skills. Unfortunately, a ship approaches her island, the men some ashore and rape her. From then on, she turns the untrustworthy men into swine when they come ashore. Other gods and titans start to send their daughters to her island for punishment as well.
I love historical fiction. Give me historical fiction in the time of mythology, and it doesn’t get much better than that. While I loved Circe by Madeline Miller, I did not love it as much as The Song of Achilles. To me, it was more of a story that you may tell at a dinner table than a novel. I didn’t feel that Circe was really working toward a goal for the crux of the novel. So, out of five stars, Circe definitely gets four. It was a great read that I enjoyed, but I think I would have liked just a little bit more.
If you’re considering purchasing a Kindle Paperwhite (and don’t need it to be waterproof), get it soon! Amazon is offering the version I have (and love) for only $80! That offer is really only twice a year…Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Prime Day. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also get the new one that’s waterproof with twice the storage (because everyone needs to be able to store 20,000 books at once).
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