If you are a classics nerd like me then you will love this book. And if you’re not, you will probably still love this book. The re-telling of Circe’s story (one I briefly encountered when ready the Odyssey) is a brilliant and emotional tale of immense character development and an unexpected ending. The book is a fast-paced story about eternal life and the scruples of the gods spanning centuries. Almost all of the big names in Greek literature make an appearance so it feels familiar while also being a completely new story. Circe’s tragic life is laid out in these 333 pages, but we also learn more about Odysseus, Penelope, Medea, Zeus, Minos, etc. Madeline Miller has done an incredible job with this book and I look forward to reading her other Greek re-telling, The Song of Achilles.
The back of the book reads:
“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is strange- not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. But she has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When Circe’s gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone cannot live in peace for long- and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything. Circe’s tale is a vivid epic of family rivalry, love, and loss – the extinguishable song of a woman burning hot and bright in the darkness of a man’s world.”