Compelling, Wonderful, Powerful | Review of ‘Circe’

By Cynthia Ayala

Circe by Madeline Miller 
Lee Boudreaux Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“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.” —Goodreads

Published April 10, 2018, by Lee Boudreaux Books Circe by Madeline Miller is a stand-alone novel about one of literatures more powerful women, Circe.

Simply an amazing novel. For anyone who loves Greek mythology, this is the novel for you. Circe is all about the witch from Homer’s Odyssey, who turned men into pigs for invading her island and her peace. However, there’s more to it than that. Circe gives readers a history of the characters as well as a place in the Greek pantheon. There is magic and wonder on every page and a tone that makes the narrative incredibly relatable.

Often an overlooked character who has been made famous by a series of scenes in a novel, this novel gives this incredibly powerful character a history that gives her a place in modern literature, a place in history past this, a woman who was “tamed” by a lost sailor. As such a compelling character, her representation never seemed to do her justice, casting her like a lovesick woman, a lonely woman, or even as a villain. None of these representations ever gave this character the proper representation, and now there is finally a novel that takes all those representations and gives them some context, adding in complexities and depth.

There’s so much going into this novel, bringing in famous characters from mythology to show the importance of Circe’s role in mythology. The first daughter of Helios, a titan of the Sun, not to be confused with the God of the Sun, Circe was often overlooked as ordinary with a voice was more mortal than it was godly. Her voice and perception ultimately made her the back sheep of the family, often teased and often overlooked by her family. Moreover, from her perspective, this did not bother her much. There’s so much depth to the characterization of the story and the dynamics. They turn Circe into an incredibly relatable character, a compelling character whose own hubris and naïve understanding of the gods mark her falling. Hubris is shown often in Greek mythology, the hero always falls to their hubris, but in Circe’s case, it is more complicated than that. She does not understand quite what it means to be arrogant, powerful, dangerous, or naïve. Again, she was an overlooked character in much of mythology, as well as by her family in this novel, so it takes her time to find herself. However, this does not make her villain; it makes her human, mortal, complicated. Moreover, that is part of the reason why this novel is compelling. Circe is such a compelling character not just because of the power she has within herself which everyone underestimated, but because of her personality.

Circe has not exactly had a comfortable life, it has been hard and emotionally abusive, but she came through all those hardships and used them to influence her, to make her better than everyone around her. This lends itself to incredible character development; it allows her perception to see beyond the pain, to see the hope and beyond. This is something many stories before hands have neglected to show. Circe is powerful, but it does not define her. She does not let anything define her. As a feminist read, this is a great one, because it gives rise to her perspective in a man’s world, this story gives her influence in history and Greek mythology while also delivering a multidimensional character.

Circe is amazing. The character development and her journey is so incredibly compelling. It is a story full of magic and wonder that will inevitably draw in every reader. (★★★★★ | A+)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

Page count: 394pp

Age Range: 16 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-3165-5634-7

Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books

List Price:  $27.00

Get a Copy:

Kindle Store $13.99




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