“You threw me to the crows, but it turns out I prefer them to you.”
Madeline Miller adapts the story of Circe, the daughter of the Titan Helios, who was born without the typical might and power of her relatives. Because of this, she often feels unwanted and out of place in her father’s court; her siblings revile her and Helios himself considers her a disgrace. The book follows her through her childhood, eventual exile, experiments in witchcraft, and experiences on the deserted island of Aiaia. She comes into contact with both gods and mortals during her banishment, and must eventually weigh the meaning of her existence between the two conflicting worlds.
Circe takes from the limited information that mythology itself can teach, creating a narrative that holds historical value but feels both modern and personal to the reader. Though the story may very well take place over thousands of years, Miller is able to develop Circe and realize her motivations and experiences, which creates a character arc that feels altogether human despite her origins that are anything but. This poses a contrast to many of the other gods she comes into contact with, who often serve to be self-serving and cold. Circe is a character that many readers can sympathize with, and can easily become invested in her experiences.
The book depicts many well-known names and events that can be appreciated by veteran Miller or Mythos fans, or discovered for the first time. For those who can look past some of the absurdity of Greek Mythology and have an appreciation for poetic writing, introspection, and strong character development, Circe poses a strong addition to their reading list.
By Teen Reviewer, Eleanor