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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316556347
0316556343
9780316556323
0316556327
Characteristics: 393 pages : map ; 25 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Read by Tasia

"Circe is a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess' story that manages to be both epic and intimate in scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right." Winner of the 2019 Indie Choice Award.

It took some time for me to get into this book (the abuse and sexual assault were especially upsetting), but once Circe got some distance from her family and bloomed into her own person, it was enthralling. The writing is gorgeous, and Miller breathes new life and complexity into these ancient ch... Read More »

Winner, Fantasy


From the critics


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e
elizaaberry
Mar 24, 2021

This book was so good. It has witches, Greek gods, and the tale of humans. You learn more intimately about God's and humans in a way I haven't seen other authors execute. I would definitely recommend this read.

y
YourLocalReader
Mar 08, 2021

Circe is a creative retelling of Circe, the infamous Greek sorceress, and it describes the story of her life that the myths left out. I have been having luck with novels recently, and this is my second five-star novel of the year. The book is ambitious, and I have never encountered a novel dedicated to Circe’s perspective. Circe is such a beautiful piece of literature and one of the best retellings I have encountered in adult literature. The characterization of Circe was by far the best part of this novel. Circe is such a smart, kind, and feminist character that you can’t help but sympathize with; I loved reading about her thoughts of the world around her. Circe’s interactions with other characters all have their purpose in shaping her personality and vulnerability. She isn’t perfect, but she contains many flaws that only strengthen her narrative. This novel is brutally honest, and it doesn’t skimp on many societal topics of sexism, rape, isolation, and motherhood.
I appreciated this novel even more because I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology. The reader can tell that the author spent so much research into her myths to create this magnificent world. The plot is slow, but it’s purposefully slow to allow the interactions and characters to build upon themselves. The romance wasn’t the main focus, but it was a tiny subplot. There wasn’t a distraction from the haunting narrative of Circe, and the author’s writing style has that distinctive lyrical characteristic to it that leaves the reader mesmerized with the quotes. I read the author’s other Greek mythology novel, The Song of Achilles. It was no surprise that I adored that novel too! I would recommend this novel to anyone who was a fan of The Song of Achilles since they both contain the captivating writing style and modern Greek mythology; however, the Song of Achilles was more focused on romance than the individual story. This novel was beautifully dark, feminist, and crafted to interest the audience.

Rating: 5 stars
TW: Rape, mentions of sexual activity, brief mentions of violence
Age Recommendation: 15+ (based on reader’s maturity)

cmlibrary_melliott Mar 06, 2021

Ancient setting, modern problems. Circe is a goddess who dreams of being more, but her struggle to forge her own path seems endless. This is a beautifully crafted tale of a woman's journey to find herself and use her extraordinary power to carve her own place in the world. Familiar characters appear to further elaborate the story of a character who has been painted as a villain in classic literature. Definite recommend.

WPL_Erin Mar 04, 2021

I honestly don't think this novel was bad, it just wasn't for me. I had a really hard time connecting with Circe and while I was pulled in early on I really lost interest and felt I had to slog my way through the remainder. It just felt really slow plot wise and I just didn't vibe with it at all.

JCLCherylMY Feb 27, 2021

What a beautiful story based on Greek Mythology. The reader's voice was lyrical in her interpretation of Circe and the other characters. I will be haunted by Circe's voice for a long time: "I was not surprised by the portrait of myself, the proud witch undone before the hero's sword, kneeling and begging for mercy. Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime for poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep." Stunning!

r
RachelPusey
Feb 20, 2021

It lived up to the hype. Beguiling characters and crystalline use of language.

d
DracAthos
Feb 19, 2021

This book was thoroughly engaging and I was drawn to the page every day.
I loved how the author wove various myths through the story while keeping the narrative focused on Circe.
Her childhood was a horror story that only made her stronger and that more willing to adapt and to find better solutions.
I loved how she always found a better way and she was willing to listen even when she didn't want to.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Greek mythology and anyone who wants a good story

m
marthadanielle
Feb 09, 2021

The book goes through different phases or her life since she is centuries old. The beginning half was filled with stories of people mistreating her and loneliness but the second half she grows in power and confidence and the end is satisfying.

r
Readerofhs
Jan 31, 2021

Compelling and interesting

i
IntrovertReader
Jan 27, 2021

Circe is the oldest child of the Greek god Helios and the sea nymph Perse. Everyone, including Circe herself, believes that she and her siblings lack divine power. She spends her childhood creeping around the edges of godly feasts and trying to avoid the torments that her younger brother and sister devise for her. When her mother gives birth to another son, Circe bonds with him. Aeëtes eventually leads her to believe that maybe they aren’t quite as helpless as they appear. When Circe accomplishes a couple of dramatic transformations via magic, the other gods realize she and her siblings are witches. Circe bears the brunt of the gods’ punishment and they exile her to the island of Aiaia for all eternity.

I’ve read so many glowing reviews of this book but copies are never available at my library. I finally bought my own book to see what all the fuss is about and I’m so glad I did.

Circe is every woman who has been treated as “less than” because of her gender. As a child, she accepts that everyone overlooks her. She’s not as beautiful as the other nymphs, so why would anyone pay attention to her? She’s starved for attention though, and makes some terrible decisions. But those decisions lead her to discover that she has magic. Her exile gives her room to discover more about her powers and hone them. Watching her grow into her divinity and carve her own space in the world felt empowering to me.

But Circe also has more heart than other gods. Mortals fascinate her, even as a child. When some try to worship her, she rejects their adoration. While other gods view mortals as play things or simply don’t really notice them at all, she’s eager to learn more about their world and how their minds work. In addition, other gods never even realize that they’re capable of making mistakes. Circe not only acknowledges her errors but tries to make amends. A static life seems boring, but growing and changing and trying to improve? That’s the life Circe lives.

I also enjoyed reading about Greek heroes as regular people. Sure, they’re wilier and and stronger than most but at the end of the day, they’re just humans. Daedalus’s suffering began long before he tried to fly. Odysseus is impatient and quick-tempered and regrets some of his decisions in the war, although he would repeat them if he had to. I liked seeing them on a mortal scale.

I highly recommend this. In some ways, it’s a fairly quiet book; but I found Circe’s transformation from an unassuming girl to a powerful force both engrossing and satisfying.

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Quotes

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ArapahoeTina Nov 03, 2019

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

ArapahoeTina Nov 03, 2019

He showed me his scars, and in return he Let me pretend that I had none.

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.”

Hillsboro_RobP 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.

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ArapahoeTina Feb 07, 2020

ArapahoeTina thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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muchai
May 20, 2019

muchai thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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mperian1150
Oct 26, 2019

Other: Sexual assault

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