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Classical Age

Author: Miller, Madeline
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Time Period: Classical Age
Time Frame: 800 BCE
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Ancient Greece
Topics: Greek Mythology
Genre: Mythology
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2018

World History > Classical Age > Ancient Greece

"A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "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, The 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.

Emily's Review

So it turns out that mythology retellings are one of my favorite things. I have read some really good over the last few years and Circe is a top-notch mythology retelling.

Circe is a witch who you might recall reading about in Homer's The Odyssey. She has a relatively small role in that tale, but I always found her intriguing. Madeleine Miller has given her the story she deserves in this novel. Not only do we get a full picture of this mythical being, but we also get a who's who in Greek mythology. Circe's life is thousands upon thousands of years long, and we follow her throughout her entire life. We are given a tour of so many different myths through her eyes. I am in awe of Miller, who was able to weave all of these tales into Circe's seamlessly. I cannot even imagine the amount of research she did to make it all work.

This is a coming-of-age story, a tale of family drama, and it even has some romance. Miller's writing is gorgeous too. I will say that as much as I loved this book, I still think Song of Achilles was better, only because it made me cry. This book was bittersweet and a little bit slower-paced. Where Song of Achilles was a much more action-driven plot, Circe is more character driven. Both are five-star reads for me though.

I will read anything Madeline Miller writes in the future. If you enjoy mythology and beautiful prose, this book might be for you. I recommend this for ages 16+.

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