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.

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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!

Jul 01, 2018

Summer reading challenge to 'Read a Book Published this Year" and Sword & Laser selection for June 2018.

Jun 24, 2018

Circe is gushing with exquisite writing and detail. You feel as though you are there and can feel every ounce of Circe's character with you without it being so overwhelming and dry. The plot is fairly fast paced and episodic in a way. I really had no expectations in terms of what her story entailed other than Odysseus shows up at some point. I was pleasantly surprised with this and I look forward to reading future Madeline Miller works! I have never considered myself a huge fan of Greek mythology- just the typical appreciation that comes from taking a mythology class in high school. I really feel like I may be open to reading more Greek mythology based fiction after this. I

liljables Jun 12, 2018

The ultimate challenge of a re-telling or re-imagining of such a well-known story is, of course, that we all know how the story ends (unless the author chooses to take some MAJOR liberties). This would certainly be the case with Circe - I'm sure a lot of readers, and all you mythology buffs out there, will recall her role in The Odyssey, in which she turns Odysseus' crew into pigs but is convinced to return them to human form by the man himself.

So, to write a re-imagining of such a well-known story, the author has to work with what WASN'T included in the original text - in this case, Madeline Miller has created a rich backstory and inner life for Circe. This is how Miller manages to make a fundamentally feminist story out of a series of myths in which women are (for the most part) either sexual objects or...nothing. We get to meet the real, three-dimensional Circe who, despite her immortality, experiences very human disappointments, longing, sorrow, and joy.

Nicr Jun 11, 2018

The Titan witch Circe, nymph with an edge, tells her tale. Triumphant portrait of a fierce, complex immortal whose sorcery is a function of her "will," and an impressive re-imagining of Greek myth. (The Olympians put in striking, charismatic appearances--Apollo, Athena and especially the trickster god Hermes.)

KCLSRacheal Jun 04, 2018

Circe would be an incredibly satisfying and moving read for anyone who loves deeply insightful books, rich character development, concise yet beautiful language, and compelling explorations of the true weight of immortality and divinity.

May 25, 2018

A compelling "autobiography" of a lesser goddess from 'The Odyssey' . She is very like us, but not. The author brings her to life as though she were someone we had met - and either liked, or maybe not. Recommended to aficionados of Greek mythology.

May 23, 2018

Oh man, where do I even begin? I'm in the minority here, seeing how everyone is showering Circe with love and praise.

First off, I loooovveee Greek Mythology but this book had no viciousness, no passion, no catalyst, no pressure or desire, nothing! Circe was a bland, dispassionate protagonist who made me feel nothing for her. Second, there were far too many character introductions that did nothing to move the story forward, a few name drops here, a banishment there, the most engaging character was the pet lioness.

I'm so entirely disappointed. This reads like the author had a checklist and as long as each box was ticked off, the story didn't matter. Over all, this book is slow, has no definite plot and is just... well, boring. I was expecting so much more. At the middle of the book I found myself wanting to scream "Where's the powerful greek witch who scorns anyone who wrongs her that I've been dreaming of?!" And she just never arrived.

May 19, 2018

I read the book in two days! It is that riveting and page-turner. I truly recommend the book if you like Greek mythology, if you enjoyed the percy jackson series. Definitely recommend this book!

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