If you read The Odyssey in high school, you might remember Circe. The witch who transformed Odysseus’ men into pigs. When he convinced her to turn them back into men, he and his crew were stuck on the island for years. In this book, Madeline Miller tells the story behind the mysterious Circe. Her story is arguably a lot more interesting than what you might remember reading in high school. Circe is born to Helios, the god of the sun. But when the gods discovered she has the power of witchcraft, Zeus banishes her to an isolated island. Over the years, she encounters many of the famous figures in mythology. Such as the Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, and of course, Odysseus. In the end, she must choose if she really belongs with the gods or the mortals.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
I’m a huge ancient Greek history nerd, especially when it comes to Greek mythology. So after I finished Song of Achilles, also by Madeline Miller, I knew I had to read her next book, Circe. The Odyssey focuses so much on Odysseus, you have to wonder about the side characters. Who were they? How did they end up crossing paths with clever Odysseus and his crew?
Madeline Miller does an amazing job of telling Circe’s story. She’s not the evil witch everyone makes her out to be, as she fights her own battles and tries to defend her way of life. Her story is incredible, and Madeline Miller does a great job of making a side character in one of the greatest epic poems of all time come to life.
At first glance, the characters may appear to be unrelatable. Simply because they’re from an ancient time, almost an alien time. But when you get down to it, their problems are the same as ours. Circe must discover who she really is and how she fits in with the rest of the world. She often finds it difficult to fit in with her family. But she really just wants to help those around her.
Circe isn’t an untouchable character, but rather, one we can find commonalities with. In reality, she is down-to-earth and kind. Which is another great lesson I discovered in this book: not everyone is who they seem to be.
Overall, I would recommend this book to a busy mom. Especially if you’re a nerd when it comes to Greek mythology like me! I love a good retelling of any story. The writing is easy to read and the story is sure to keep the pages turning quickly. You’ll be looking for any excuse to get back to this book as soon as it’s closed.
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Circe by Madeline Miller, you might also like The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Circe, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.