Book Review : Circe

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★★★★★

Trigger warnings : rape, violence.

Madeline Miller broke my heart to pieces once again. I wonder if she will ever write a book that won’t make me feel devastated for months.

I loved The Song of Achilles a lot, it was a brilliant read. I also adored Galatea to pieces, but I was absolutely nervous about Circe. Mostly because the canon literature on her is scarce, there’s not as much information on her as there was on Achilles and Patroclus. So, I knew Miller would have to fill in the gaps and oh, she did. She did it spectacularly too. I don’t even know why I had doubts.

I have an advice for all of you who already read TSOA, don’t go into Circe expecting it to be super similar to Miller’s debut because it won’t be. Circe is so much more character-focused, unlike TSOA which was very action-packed/plot focused. Also, ships aren’t as much of a focus here either (though there is romance!!!).

Now that we’re in the clear about this, let’s get into the things that made Circe as stellar as I say it was.

The characterization was amazing. God, Madeline Miller creates some of the most realistic, flawed characters in modern literature. And no matter how many flaws they might have, you’ll root for them until the very end. Circe is the daughter of Helios, the Titan of Sun and of nymph Perse and she’s quite a misfit in her family from the very beginning. Not beautiful enough, not powerful enough, never enough, Circe is kind of a faded figure in her family.

Because of that, she’s also the easiest to dispose of. Something that happens when she’s sent in exile because of something she did. You see Circe is a witch and Zeus isn’t super happy about it. Therefore, exile it is.

I was kind of worried at how the plot will evolve from here because Circe is in exile, she can’t really move from her island, most books would have lost their substance from here and bore the reader. But not in this case. Circe was still a witness to many major events from mythology (which I considered to be a cool thing – I know some people didn’t enjoy those parts as much, but I really adored them. Achilles and Patroclus were briefly mentioned in a very “let’s-kill-the-shippers-once-again” manner, Medea made an appearance, Daedalus as well and lots of gods & goddesses).

Awful men get what they deserve and I’m so here for it!!!

Odysseus was also a big part of this book, as expected and once again, I questioned everything I ever thought about him. When I first read The Odyssey, I admired his cleverness a lot, he had been my favourite ever since The Iliad because of the whole Trojan Horse plot. Now, I’ve read them when I was a child and I read an edited version in Romanian specifically for children, which means many things weren’t included. But now, Circe raised some important questions about him and made me even more aware of how much I need to reread Homer’s books – this time not the children edition.

I liked how Miller reinterpreted the scene between Circe and Odysseus and gave it a more logical spin. Also, this book is so feminist, it makes me cry when I think how this amazing author takes everything from mythology (even problematic stuff) and turns it to gold. Madeline Miller is King Midas in disguise, mark my words.

The only thing that I didn’t really feel super enthusiastic about was the romance (or Circe’s “endgame”). I’ll just never get used to how relationships work when it comes to mythology, Still loved the metaphor at the end and Circe becoming who she truly had been from the beginning.

Would recommend this book to everyone who’s passionate about mythology, feminism and character-orientated books.

Actually I recommend it to everyone, just go and read the book, please!

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Have you read anything written by Madeline Miller? 

Have you read Circe? How much did you love it? 

 

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49 thoughts on “Book Review : Circe

  1. Alyssa Marie says:

    Great review! I also loved this book, and I just recently bought The Song of Achilles to read in the future. Being a lover of history and mythology, I can’t believe that I haven’t come across Miller’s writings yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I really hope you’ll enjoy The Song of Achilles as well! ❤ I'm a huge nerd when it comes to mythology as well, I like history as well, but not on the same level as mythology perhaps. I recommend you to read Galatea as well, soooo good and a super fast and short read as well! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I love Madeline Miller’s books so much and her writing as well ❤ It's flawless *heart eyes*
      YOU REALLY NEED TO READ TSOA, it's soooo good as well! So many feels.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie says:

    Wonderful review, Marta ❤ I have to say, I'm not big on mythology – meaning that I don't really know a whole lot about it all – but I really love character-driven stories, as you know and I've heard some amazing things about this book. I don't know if it would be for me though, but I'll have to think about it for sure. I really loved your review here, you make me and everyone else want to read the book for sure with that ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Thank you very much, Marie!! ❤ Ahh, I’m so nerdish when it comes to mythology, if you ever want recommendations or myths to check out, let me know 😂
      Ahhh, I’m not sure if you’d love this one 👀 I wish I would say I’m 100% sure you’d enjoy it because we’re talking here about one of my favourite authors, but it would probably be a little bit out of your comfort zone. Buuuut if you ever read anything by Miller, you have to come and fangirl with me about it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. emmareadstoomuch says:

    everyone in the worldddd is falling in love with this book – and madeline miller in general. i might have to check it out!! great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. littlefoxandreads says:

    Song of Achilles DESTROYED me and I still haven’t recovered, but I am so ready for Circe. I’ve only heard good things and knowing Madeline’s talent I bet she executed it flawlessly. I’m glad to know this one is more character-focused and very feminist. I’m sure I’ll love it! Great review ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I don’t think anyone fully recovered from TSOA, there was this reference in Circe and my heart died again. I hope you’ll love it once you get to it ❤❤❤
      Thank you very much!

      Like

  5. anna says:

    great review!! god i need someone to kick my ass and make me read circe finally! ngl it was the main reason i made an account at NG last year (tho i got denied the arc lmao) & look at me now……. still not reading it……

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kat Impossible says:

    It was already on my wishlist, as you know haha but I still loved reading about why you loved the book and that you would recommend it to absolutely EVERYONE 😛 I can’t wait to pick up my first Madeline Miller book soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams says:

    I feel similarly about this book as you did prior to reading it, because I really loved Song of Achilles, and I wasn’t sure whether Circe could measure up to it? But now I’m really excited, especially because you said that people who are passionate about feminism and character-orientated books will love it.

    Great review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I feel like I couldn’t compare them when I finished reading Circe, it was very different from TSOA. The only similarity was the beautiful writing! ❤
      Thank you very much!

      Like

  8. staywildbookchild says:

    I have just finished Circe and now I cannot start anything new! I loved the book and the character so much! I see the point concerning the romance but I wonder whether it was possible to not go on that path considering the myth. However, I like the fact that after the first mistake Circe was more rational concerning falling in love, don’t you think? Great review 🙂 (eh I am working on my english, sorry )

    Like

  9. Nerija S. says:

    I’m super into stories that twist fairy tales and mythology, so I may just have to check this out! I haven’t read anything by Madeline Miller, but I’m currently reading Kate Bernheimer’s collection of twisted myths, called XO Orpheus. I also just finished Maura McHugh’s Twisted Myths, which is a collection of dark, often bloody stories from world mythology. I highly recommend both!

    Like

  10. Olivia-Savannah says:

    I just bought the beautiful hardcover of this one because I’ve seen so many people reading and loving this book so much! I am so excited to read it on my trip home next week. I love the sound of it being character driven and focused on that, and yay for people getting the punishment they deserve for whatever wrongdoings they do. I haven’t read TSOA but I have that one too, so I might read it afterward.

    Like

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