This #1 New York Times bestseller is a "bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story" that brilliantly reimagines the life of Circe, formidable sorceress of The Odyssey (Alexandra Alter, TheNew 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.
#1 New York Times Bestseller -- named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the Washington Post, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor, Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self, Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Passionate and poetic, Circe is the epic tale of a lesser Greek goddess whose compassion for human life draws the disdain and anger of her fellow deities. Madeline Miller, an astonishingly gifted storyteller and former classics scholar, introduced readers to her revelatory insights into mythology with the 2011 bestseller The Song of Achilles. Her rendition of Circe’s unorthodox quest for love and a meaningful existence is a gorgeously written, unforgettable saga that thrills from start to finish.
Miller follows her impressive debut (The Song of Achilles) with a spirited novel about Circe's evolution from insignificant nymph to formidable witch best known for turning Odysseus's sailors into swine. Her narrative begins with a description of growing up the awkward daughter of Helios, the sun god. She does not discover her gift for pharmakeia (the art of using herbs and spells) until she transforms her first love, a poor fisherman, into a god. When he rejects her in favor of vain Scylla, Circe turns Scylla into a sea monster. Now considered dangerous, Circe is exiled to an island, where she experiments with local flora and fauna. After returning from a visit to Crete to help her sister give birth to the Minotaur, Circe is joined on the island by errant nymphs sentenced to do their penance in her service. By the time Odysseus's ship arrives, winding its way home from the Trojan War, Circe reigns over a prosperous household. Welcome guests enjoy her hospitality; unwelcome guests are turned into wild pigs. Neither the goddess Athena nor the deadliest poison known to man makes Circe flinch. Weaving together Homer's tale with other sources, Miller crafts a classic story of female empowerment. She paints an uncompromising portrait of a superheroine who learns to wield divine power while coming to understand what it means to be mortal.
An Incredible Story of Realization
This book moved me in ways I didn’t think possible. Mythology is not a subject I’m fond of, and I was intimidated that the complicated cast of famous characters would distract me trying to keep the relationships straight. But, I was proven wrong. Miller weaves her story beautifully and makes it easy to draw connections between the gods, mortals and monsters. Circe is more than a retelling of an age old tale, it’s a coming of age - a story of realizing ones true purpose as a witch, a woman, a daughter and a mother exiled to learn about herself and her relationships through a series of adventures. Relatable in ways I didn’t expect, I highly recommend this.
I am wonderfully surprised by Circe! Beautifully written, never boring. My only complaint is that it took me so many years to find it.
Exquisite writing, a wonderful read.
I will say, I’m only halfway through the book. However, I keep finding my mind blown every time Circe focuses on a character and you realize who exactly that character is in mythology. The way Miller uses lesser known characters to introduce well known icons is *chef’s kiss*
Wish I had read this sooner. Super satisfying read so far.
Thank you Miller.