author : madeline miller
pages : [hardcover] 393
favorite character : circe
memorable quote :
He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.
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.
Circe is the badass female main character in Greek mythology we’ve all been waiting to hear more about. I think part of what makes her story amazing, at least in the way Madeline Miller tells it, is that she isn’t your conventional strong female character. She makes mistakes. She’s sad. She’s physically weak. She’s sort of a pushover. Until . . .
You’ll just have to read her story.
Circe embellishes on the mythology and, in my opinion, makes it better. Although there are stories and figures who appear that you’ll recognize if you know Greek mythology, Circe’s story is no longer being told through the viewpoint of heroes or gods. She’s telling her own tale, so you get to see her struggles, feel her emotions, and remember just how dumb the patriarchy is.
That’s a nice way of saying that men, particularly men in ancient times, were really not great. Not . . . even close. With, like, two exceptions.
The settings are vast and gorgeously described. The writing is beautiful and really reminiscent of the tone and mood set by myths and legends. I’ll read anything Madeline Miller writes.
Be warned, though: Circe will make you wish you had your own personal island where you can hide away from the world and also slaughter any assholes who come to bother you.