“Circe” by Madeline Miller tells the story of the witch Circe (pronounced sir-see) from ancient Greek mythology. If you can’t remember who she is, the story of her turning men who wronged her into slobbering pigs might jog your memory.
Like all vengeful heroes, Circe has a colorful and tragic backstory that deserves to be told, but this heroine has unfortunately never starred in a mythological epic of her own – until now.
Ms. Miller aims to showcase this brilliant sorceress by chronicling her riveting life that is briefly mentioned, but never described in the popular myths of Jason and the Argonauts and the Odyssey.
Now, the heartbreaking and moving story of Circe has finally been written for the world to see and fall in love with.
As a young girl, Circe grew up in the halls of her father, Helios, the Titan of the sun, thinking she was among the weakest of nymphs for her strange lack of powers. She was unable to summon water or quench flames but soon realized she had a power for transformation. She could turn mortals into gods or use her power of transfiguration for something sinister; she could turn goddesses into horrible beasts.
For committing such a crime, she was exiled to the distant and uninhabited island of Aiaia to live out the rest of her immortal life in misery.
However, instead of finding despair, she discovers what life has in store for her outside of the confining halls of the Titans.
She learned to control her magical powers, and along the way she discovered how to become a strong and independent woman whose worth is not tied to being a bride or a mother – the jobs she grew up believing were the only roles a woman could occupy.
She eventually became accustomed to her new life as an herbalist with a knack for transformation when her life was turned upside down by an unexpected arrival—a ship of mortal men.
Circe learned to overcome adversity and turn her misfortunes into valuable lessons that shaped her into a resilient and intelligent sorceress. However, her fierce determination and strokes of good luck in a world designed to oppress her eventually lead to a fight she cannot win; Circe, much to her despair, attracted the anger of a powerful god who would stop at nothing until she is destroyed.
This book explores how this bright and ruthless witch manages to outwit her enemies through strategic tricks and clever uses of magic while finding her place among mortals, gods, and Titans.
This thrilling tale will surely keep you up all night reading to discover how the story of the immortal and powerful Circe eventually draws to a close.
If you are a lover of Greek mythology like me, I guarantee you will deeply enjoy this novel as it unveils the story of the seemingly wicked sorceress who appears as a minor character in a few popular Greek myths.
And to anyone who is unfamiliar with Greek mythology, this easy-to-read book written in modern prose is the perfect way to fall in love with the world of ancient Greek gods and heroes.
I always read the first twenty pages of a book before checking it out, but as I started to read the book jacket of “Circe” I immediately signed the check out card and brought it home.
Why? My favorite myths have always centered around strong female heroes like Atalanta, so when discovered a book about an often forgotten female sorceress I knew I would not be disappointed.
I was at first worried that Ms. Miller’s writing would take away from Circe’s story but Ms. Miller did a fantastic job capturing Circe’s thoughts and actions in first-person narration—a rarity in the world of mythology.
I loved this book as it exhibits the mysterious and tragic elements of a good myth combined with the rare appearance of an unstoppable female protagonist in mythology.
Not only is the novel enjoyable but Circe’s quest to find happiness in a world that aims to oppress her is incredibly inspirational and speaks to all readers no matter what troubles they are going through.
Every part of this book is extraordinarily entertaining starting from page 1 and it never gets boring. Each chapter presents a new challenge to Circe and introduces more richly developed and vibrant characters.
To anyone interested in reading a beautifully crafted story about rivalry, deceit, heartbreak, and love, I would recommend this book as it weaves the raw beauty of an ancient myth into a modern novel that will stun any reader.
Ms. Miller’s “Circe” is now available at the Kingswood Oxford library and if you do check it out, be prepared to fall in love with this age-old epic that has never been given the recognition it deserves.