Circe by Madeline Miller

IMG_0761Category: Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Author: Madeline Miller
Circe was my first foray into Madeline Miller’s work having not read her immensely popular first novel, The Song of Achilles. Aside from the fact that it’s extensively based on Greek mythology, I didn’t know much else of what to expect and went in completely blind.

I was taken by surprise with how accessible, delightfully page turning and immersive this novel turned out to be.
The story, essentially, follows the life of Circe, a lesser Godess, daughter of Helios, who starts off as a mere pawn in the unsaid rivalry between the Olympians and Titans, but eventually casts off her gullibility to carve a name for herself. This novel is galactic in scope, epic in every sense of the word, spanning thousands of years in a world inhabited by Gods, Mankind and Monsters. Time, as a unit of measure loses precedence as Gods are immortal, and though hundreds of years slip by in these chapters, the narrative is seamless, without ever losing the central thread of the story.
Circe, on disobeying her father in using her witch magic, is exiled to the island of Aiaia, where the largest chunk of the novel is situated. Her mastery of the island is symbolic of the mastery of her own self, as she experiments, and explores the full extent of her powers. Miller uses a first person narrative, and we see the events unfold from Circe’s perspective. There’s a genuine sense of intimacy with Circe, and the development of her character feels incredibly organic and natural, and to me, that was the core strength of the novel.
The pacing is steady like the rhythmic lap of waves. The are times when it builds in momentum and intensity, but there are also times it reduces to a mellow calm which some might find slightly dull, but I personally didn’t mind. I have barely spoken of the plot and that is intentional. I went in blind, and I do feel that is the best way to experience this novel.
Circe is one of the most endearing, relatable and genuine characters I’ve come across and her story is one that will stay. Despite minor setbacks, a well deserved 5/5 (my second 5 star read of the year following Rebecca).
I received my copy from Little Brown for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “Circe by Madeline Miller

  1. Great review Varsha. I am super excited to learn more. Any book which has a strong female lead draws me to it, but this one is extra special because it is about a character in Greek mythology. Something I wanted to read too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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