A Novel

Book - 2018
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#1 New York Times Bestseller
" A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story, Circe manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right." --- Alexandra Alter, New York Times
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.

Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316556347
Characteristics: 393 pages


From Library Staff

DanniOcean Apr 17, 2018

An absolute gem of a book.

From the critics

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Aug 22, 2018

Great retelling of the the Greek myth. I enjoyed reading it on my Kindle, as I could easily look up the other mythological characters as they came up in the story.

Aug 16, 2018

Madeline Miller is one of my FAVOURITE AUTHORS. Such a beautiful and engaging read, especially for those interested in Ancient Greece!

written from Circes point of view it shows how a woman feels when not treated equally to men. read this book definitely a page turner

OPL_AutumnH Aug 08, 2018

A slow-paced, well-developed character study of a somewhat background character from Greek mythology. I only knew of Circe from The Odyssey, and I was not expecting such a rich story about family, love and what it means to live a fulfilling life.

ArapahoeLauraRose Aug 07, 2018

A misfit among gods, and especially her own family, Circe struggles to find her own path, foster her hidden talents, and form lasting relationships based on love and respect. A major theme in "Circe" is the various roles expected of women in Greek society. Even as the daughter and granddaughter of Titans, Circe's womanhood is a powerful force which shapes her destiny: one which she must learn to use in her own way, for her own ends, to escape the unwanted fates of so many of her nymph sisters/cousins/aunts.

Circe's fears, desires, joys, and growth are engaging and believable. Her story captivated me from beginning to end!

Jul 24, 2018

"I had no right to claim him, I knew it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dops near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation he was to me."
-Madeline Miller, Circe
WOW! I can't get enough of Miller's writing style. So poetic and sophisticated...and yet very elegant and simple. She has a way of drawing you into the story from the very first page. I love love love Circe. Miller takes a character from mythology and paints them and everyone around them in a different light than we are used to seeing them in. Fans of Greek mythology will love this story, as Circe encounters many characters and plays a part in many of the stories we have come to know and cherish. Those who loved Miller's 'Song of Achilles' will enjoy seeing how some of the characters from that book make an appearance in this one!! Circe is an empowering and heart wrenching story that I think all women could relate to.

_agaleano Jul 23, 2018

Circe by Madeline Miller is a marvellous read. When I saw this book about Circe from the Odyssey, I couldn’t resist. I was one of those kids that grew up reading mythology. Greek mythology was a particular favourite, in part because my name appears in one of those myths and in part because I just found them fascinating.

Miller has a gift for storytelling and is a masterful writer. In the Odyssey, Homer writes Circe as a beautiful evil witch that transforms Odysseus’ men into swine and then she enthralls Odysseus so that he stays with her until his men beg him to continue their journey home. Miller’s approach is quite different.

When Circe is born, nothing much is expected from her; she is not powerful like her father, the Titan sun god Helios, nor is she dazzlingly beautiful like her mother, an Oceanic nymph. She is told her voice is thin and unpleasant to hear. She grows up mostly ignored by everyone around her, and at times she is noticed, she is bullied and belittled even by those closest to her. When she discovers her powers and dares to question the gods, she is exiled to a small island as punishment.

It is on this island that Circe gets the chance to grow and to eventually become herself. Visitors came and go, they influence Circe and Circe influences the world outside the island through them. During this exile she experiences the good, the bad and the ugly of mortals, develops her powers, and becomes a mother. Being a mother doesn’t come easy for Circe—nothing ever has—, but a loving mother she does become. To protect her child she will do the unthinkable and confront one of the most powerful Olympian gods.

This book is a beautifully written character study, perfect for those that enjoy character development over action packed plots. Miller brings characters from myth to life in all their greatness and pettiness. She expertly captures the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go until the last line of the last page. I can’t recommend this book enough as a must read.

Vibe97 Jul 23, 2018

This novel invokes the perspective of an undervalued character from Homer's The Odyssey. I deeply enjoy the character development of Circe as she goes on a journey of self-discovery once she becomes aware of her abilities. She is a being of courage, compassion, determination, and motivation. All of her qualities that become apparent throughout the story emphasizes the "human" aspect of someone who was not born human. Anyone who knows Greek mythology will fall in love with this book.

forbesrachel Jul 19, 2018

From the creator of the exceptional Song of Achilles, comes another boldly refreshing retelling of a Greek myth. Circe, an antagonist from the Odyssey, is placed front and centre in order to tell her story.

Miller builds her story by expanding on the threads about this nymph sorceress, while still remaining true to the core elements of the myth. These additions to the unwritten portions of Circe's life flesh her out into a character that a modern audience can understand and like. Right away we are told about the harsh place she grew up in, that she may be divine, but divinity does not equal happiness, and whether mortal or immortal, women are treated as inferior in this world. These factors all lay a very solid foundation for all Circe's motivations, desires, and actions, while establishing the framework for the changes to come. That is why Miller wisely reminds us of how much the setting and the mythical characters she meets influence her as the narrative progresses. She also deftly explores many of the themes common to Greek mythology, such as hubris, the "ideal" man and woman, and the interactions between mortals and immortals.

Before Circe's fated meeting with Odysseus-a meeting which our entire understanding of her has always been based on- we get to see her become her own person. A woman who finds some confidence in herself as she learns the ways of a pharmakis, a witch, while exiled on Aiaia. But her growth doesn't end there, nor does her story end with Odysseus' departure. In fact, it is only after that, that we truly can love her as a person... just as she herself does. In the beginning, we feel sympathy for Circe, we think poorly of her for some of the mistakes she makes, we can empathize with her as she struggles to deal with each hurdle, and we like her because she can empathize with others. Much of her story is very sobering, something which is prompted by the pensive and sometimes regretful tone. But by the end, we feel nothing but warmth towards an outstandingly strong woman, who has endured, and finally found happiness. From betrayal, and loneliness, through motherhood, and compassion, she comes to understand the world, accepts herself, and finally finds the wisdom and strength to move beyond the limitations of both.

It is the type of story that the women of myth have always deserved, and the women of today want to hear. Miller has woven another magical tale from but a few threads, with her beautiful and thoughtful words.

Chapel_Hill_AmandaG Jul 13, 2018

Hands down, the best book I’ve read this year. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Miller’s description of the Trojan War in Song of Achilles and worried that she couldn’t do better, but she did! Circe is a goddess, but she possesses the same insecurities as every woman that made her instantly relateable. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, you’ll get an extra special kick out of seeing so many of these figures come to life. But, this novel is also perfect for anyone who enjoys reading about a remarkable woman discovering her strength. I could keep on saying more wonderful things about this book, but instead I’ll end with a huge recommendation to find your own copy to read right now!

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