Synopsis from Little, Brown, and Company:
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.
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.
About: Circe is a historical mythology fantasy fiction written by Madeline Miller. It was published on 4/10/2018 by Back Bay Books, an imprint of Little, Brown, and Company, paperback, 393 pages. The genres are historical fiction, mythology, and fantasy. According to the publisher’s website, “Back Bay Books is focused on the publication of the nation’s best fiction and nonfiction.” Please see below for more info about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Circe on 4/23/2020 and finished it on 5/30/2020. I’m reading this book as part of a read-along the publisher, Little Brown, is hosting to celebrate the release of Circe in paperback. I saw many pictures of this book on Instagram but I was not expecting it to be filled with Greek mythology and that the characters are gods and goddesses. Being a mom myself, I dislike Circe’s mom for her easily dismissal of her daughter Circe and son Aeetes (Eagle). I like the magical powers of fast healing and growing the gods possessed. Circe is a nice girl for taking care of her brother when their mom abandoned him. Not what I had in mind for gods and goddesses to have such foul attitudes and selfishness, except Circe. I like her experiences of motherhood. I can’t imagine a long life like what Circe had.
This book is told in the first person point of view following Circe, meaning Hawk. Circe’s father was Helios the Sun who was very powerful. He can stare at a pile of logs and turned them to ashes. Her mother who was the guardian of fountain and streams, brother Perses and sister Pasiphae didn’t like Circe much and often called her stupid. One day when all of her siblings moved out, Circe encountered a fisherman. She got to know him and fell in love with him. She found a way to transform him into a god so that she could marry him. But when the guy became a God, he wanted more than Circe. Circe confessed what she did and discovered something else about herself. Her father met with Zeus to see whether she will be published or not.
Circe started out slow but got better by chapter five. I couldn’t put it down to follow the read-along schedule and continue on to chapter six because I want to know what happens next. But later, the story failed to hold my attention because Circe had so many unhappiness one after another. Circe can be relatable to many readers because she doesn’t fit in anywhere, yet she’s honest, loyal, helpful, curious, etc. I like Circe’s punishments for those men with bad intentions at her house. I liked Circe at first until she decided to have a relationship with a married man. I’m also losing interest in this book because of how unlucky Circe was. As soon as she had something, she soon to lose it. She lost her home, her fisherman, her short lived lover, her captain, and about to lose her son. Her thoughts however, sounds pure and good.
Pro: Greek mythology, siblings, love, span over many years
Warning: child abandonment,
I rate it 4 stars!
About the Author:
Madeline Miller was born in Boston and attended Brown University where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She lives in Narbeth, PA with her husband and two children. The Song of Achilles was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into twenty-five languages. (Photo and info obtained from Little Brown’s website).