Circe

Circe

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.
Circe is not powerful like her father Helios, nor viciously alluring like her mother Perse. 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. Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many figures in mythology. When Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, she ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians.
Publisher: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316556347
0316556343
Branch Call Number: FICTION MILLER MADELIN
Characteristics: 393 pages : color map ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

2019 Alex Award Winner: Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Alex Awards (Adult Books for Young Adults)

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 w... Read More »

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.


From the critics


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k
kate_se
Sep 28, 2019

The episodic story style kept me hooked all the way through, and Miller's descriptions of Circe's surroundings are vivid, poetic, and beautiful.

c
carolwu96
Sep 28, 2019

This book is so sharply divided into two sections that I feel compelled to give two scores:⁣
First half: 2.5
Second half: 4.5
Here’s why. (spoiler alert!! )⁣

The first part of Circe is boring. Miller tries to give her a story before Odysseus’ arrival, with Prometheus, Daedalus, the Minotaur, but her characterization is static and the episodes are disconnected. For those who have already read Homer, Hesiod, Euripides and everyone else, there’s little new information. ⁣

Now onto the second part. Chapter 18. Circe becomes pregnant with Odysseus’ child.⁣

Suddenly we are in uncharted waters because this does not happen in previous works. She turns from a passive figure into this fiercely protective mother. We even get the endings of Odysseus, Penelope and Telemachus, which flow super well with the Odyssey. I think Miller uses some of her literary training here, in that she used Odysseus’ death to point him out as the unreliable narrator and selfish liar he is. ⁣

Now here‘s a conspiracy theory: I think Miller might have deliberately done this two-section structure. Just as the Odyssey is divided into Coming Home and Fighting the War, Circe goes through Following Fate and Fighting Fate as a mirror to the epic, the work that most people would know Circe from.⁣

Miller has also mixed some contemporary themes in this story: free will and more importantly, feminism. Greek mythology is so full of misogyny, but the more positive women figures (Circe, Penelope, Ariadne) are all strong-willed and do not fight over the man. I really appreciate this touch. ⁣

Overall, an easy and entertaining read! And if you know Greek mythology well, just skim the first 17 chapters!⁣

For more book reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead !

DBRL_IdaF Sep 10, 2019

Wow! This book lives up to the hype. A look at what it means to be a god from an insider who doesn't like a lot of what she sees, and also has a number of her own flaws. More than that, it's the story of a woman finding her true self, which is as heroic as it gets.

t
tamun
Sep 06, 2019

I read this book very quickly because I was enchanted. I think I loved Miller's writing voice more than anything else. This book is so poetic and quiet in nature, and I loved the long, meandering telling of a solitary life.

sjpl_DanaLibrariana Sep 03, 2019

I love Greek mythology, so I was not surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Miller's writing style was lush and descriptive. I appreciated how she presented the gods and demi-gods with all their pettiness and imperfections, including the main character, Circe. I look forward to reading The Song of Achilles.

sjpl_EmLow Aug 27, 2019

I recently broke up with a SciFi series. Let’s say we’re on a break. I needed to explore other things. I was in the mood for something new; some high drama. So, I turned to the Greeks. I had seen the title Circe by Madeline Miller on many book lists. Everyone was suddenly interested in Circe. I thought to myself, who the heck is Circe? In reading the description I recognized several characters: Zeus, Prometheus, Odysseus. Could it be possible that a powerful, albeit female, lesser god had been overlooked in the timeless texts of Western literature? Times haven’t changed, sister, I thought to myself. Once I started, I could not stop. Never before had I been riveted by the cool back stories of Greek gods. Partly because, I think it takes an exceptionally good storyteller to make a god’s story relatable to humans. And partly because gods don’t really have back stories. Regardless, how does one write a compelling origin story of a minotaur to a level-headed lady such as I? Mother of minotaur. Miller wrote it; I read it and blushed. That is just one such example of Miller’s craftiness. Throughout nearly 400 pages, Miller chronicles Circe’s life, starting in her father Helios’ halls and throughout an awakening of her own powers in witchcraft. Miller fleshes out a connection between Circe and her uncle Prometheus, that is based on a shared act of compassion -- a virtue distinctly human. And none of it gets boring in the least bit! I mean, if one finds themselves bored, I recommend the audiobook. It is equally fabulous, and taught me how to say Aeaea. There are no consonants in that word. None! In summary, if you are thinking to yourself, she did not do a good job reading her assigned texts in high school, that would be a fair assessment of me. But, regardless of your own experiences with the Odyssey, I say to give Miller’s version of a little ol' lesser god a try. You might thank me.

LibraryRosanna Aug 22, 2019

Madeline Miller's Circe is an incredible read, filled with luscious prose and unforgettable characters. I didn't just read this book; I gobbled it up. It's a wonderful take on the myth of Circe, the witch of Greek legend. I'll remember this one for a long time, and look forward to reading more by this author.

k
knradach
Aug 15, 2019

Super fascinating, easy read. This is Greek myth in today's language.. tells the tale of an exiled daughter of Helios (god of the sun) and a nymph. It has some family drama, some romance, some magic, and some heartache.. what more could you ask for!?

s
singidunum_25
Aug 13, 2019

Captivated read for all those fans of fantasy fiction and Greek mythology as well. Give it a try, you are not going to be disappointed.

d
darladoodles
Aug 03, 2019

This rich tapestry of Greek myths has given me the opportunity to look at them through a new lens and I don't want to go back. Circe is the daughter of a titan and a nymph. Exiled to an island as a scapegoat. Yet, Madeline Miller still finds a way to showcase many well-known myths and stories in a new way through Circe. The happily-ever-after we imagined for those Greek heroes may not have been all we envisioned. Simply astounding and so beautifully written. The little girl in me who fell in love with the Greek gods and goddesses as a 3rd grader rejoices.

"For me, there was nothing. I would go on through the countless millennia, while everyone I met ran through my fingers and I was left with only those who were like me."

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a
ambdizzle
Sep 26, 2019

But most of all my father’s voice, speaking those words like trash he dropped. Such as you. Any other day in all my years of life I would have curled upon myself and wept. But that day his scorn was like a spark falling on dry tinder.

t
tamun
Sep 06, 2019

“Witches are not so delicate.”

t
tamun
Sep 06, 2019

“You have always been the worst of my children,” he said. “Be sure to not dishonor me.”
“I have a better idea. I will do as I please, and when you count your children, leave me out.”

t
tamun
Sep 06, 2019

“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”

t
tamun
Sep 06, 2019

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

m
m0mmyl00
Aug 12, 2019

Pg. 273 of the hardcover, “It is youth’s gift not to feel its debts.”
Pg. 311 of the hardcover, “But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.”

q
queensthief
Feb 12, 2019

But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

WHEN I WAS BORN, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.
===
See her arrange her dress so it drapes just so over her shoulders. I see her dab her fingers, glinting, in the water. I have seen her do a thousand such tricks a thousand times. My father always fell for them. He believed the world’s natural order was to please him.
===

Once when I was young I asked what mortals looked like. My father said, “You may say they are shaped like us, but only as the worm is shaped like the whale.” My mother had been simpler: like savage bags of rotten flesh.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

“It is not fair,” I said. “It cannot be.” “Those are two different things , ” my grandmother said .
===
The slender dryads flowed out of their forests, and the stony reads ran down from their crags. My mother was there with her naiad sisters; the horse-shouldered river-gods crowded in beside the fish-White Sea-nymphs and their lords of salt. Even the great Titans came: my father, of course, and Oceanus, but also shape-shifting Proteus and Nares of the Sea; my aunt Selene, who drives her silver horses across the night sky; and the four Winds led by my icy uncle Boreas.
===
Her cruelty springs fast as weeds and must any moment be cut again.
===
Circe is dull as a rock. Circe has less wit than bare ground. Circe’s hair is matted like a dog’s. If I have to hear that broken voice of hers once more. Of all our children, why must it be she who is left? No one else will have her.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

What could make a god afraid? I knew that answer too. A power greater than their own.
===
Helios flattered himself that all women went eager to his bed, slave girls and divinities alike. His altars smoked with the proof, offerings from big-bellied mothers and happy by-blows.
===

“Circe,” he said, when he saw me. Just that, as if you might say: foot.
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All I knew was that I hated her. For I was like any dull ass who has ever loved someone who loved another.
===

===

“Pharmacies,” I said. Witch.
===

“Sorcery cannot be taught. You find it yourself, or you do not. ”
===

Even the most beautiful nymph is largely useless, and an ugly one would be nothing, less than nothing.
===

Too late for all the things I should have known. I had made so many mistakes that I could not find my way back through their tangle to the first one.
===
Watching Zeus and Helios negotiate is always good entertainment. Like two volcanoes trying to decide if they should blow.

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m
muchai
May 20, 2019

muchai thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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