When Circe is born to the god Helios, there is something different about her; she lacks the inescapably allure of her nymph siblings and cousins, and is shunned by most of her family. Discovering that her power lies in the herbs and flowers of her homeland, she seeks solace in her witchcraft. But the gods are wary of her new skills, and when she transforms a fellow nymph into a seething monster, Zeus banishes Circe to a life of solitude on an island far from anyone else. Here Circe develops her powers and comes into contact with a host of characters, gods and mortals a like.
… 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.
My Greek mythology is a little hazy so I didn’t know a lot about Circe before reading Miller’s version of events, but I absolutely loved her story.
I liked that Circe created and honed her own powers without help from anyone else, and found comfort in the solitude that her banishment gave her. Seeing her relationships with other well-known figures from mythology was interesting, and I enjoyed the tension that Miller explored between Circe’s need to protect her beloved son, but also her wish for him to be happy and live his own life.
There was a tiny something missing for me somewhere which is stopping me from giving this book five stars. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just didn’t feel completely invested. I could easily put this down for days at a time and return to it whenever. It was an easy read, but didn’t completely hook me in. Still, I would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys mythology and retellings, and I wouldn’t hesistate to read more of Madeline Miller’s work.
Rating: 4 stars