Friday Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

CirceCirce by Madeline Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for anything to do with mythology, any mythology. So, when my youngest sent me this book for Mother’s Day, I was very happy. In this novel, Miller takes on the tale of Circe, daughter of the Titan sun god, Helios, and the witch in the Odyssey who turned Odysseus’ men to swine. Here, Circe is drawn as an outcast- not beautiful like her mother, nor powerful like her father and his Titan family. She discovers that, like her brothers and sister, she has a talent for witchcraft, which is forbidden by the now powerful Olympian gods. When she uses her craft to turn a rival nymph into a monster, Zeus has Helios banish his daughter to the island of Aiaia. But the banishment becomes boon, as Circe uses her time alone to hone her witchcraft. When Odysseus and his men arrive on the island, Circe’s world is changed forever and events are set in motion to pit her against one of the most powerful and vengeful of the Olympian pantheon.

This book takes the tale of Circe and Odysseus and draws it out to fill in the pieces of Circe’s story. And the story is told from Circe’s point of view, unlike the Odyssey, which is purely Odysseus’ tale. Circe becomes more than just an evil witch. She is the outcast child, not beautiful or talented in the ways most of her Titan and nymph relations are. She has a mortal voice, rather than the lovely, musical ones of her sisters and aunts. She is ridiculed and teased, left out, desperate to gain her father’s attention. When she discovers her witchcraft, she finds something that she can truly call her own, even though it leads her to isolation. She grows and matures on her island, and the character becomes fully rounded and more alive than the Circe we know from Homer. This is a strong-willed, capable woman who knows herself and her desires, who can take care of herself and those she loves. She grows throughout the tale, and through her interactions with the mortals she is so fond of, becomes a more human character from it. This is not the usual Greek mythological tale, of gods who are jealous, and vengeful, and dismissive of the mortals they love to torture. Oh, all of that is in there, certainly, but in Circe, we see an immortal who has all too human sides to her character.

The writing is quiet and a bit on the formal side, which suits the tale well. It is in turn lyrical, and haunting, and striking. The story unfolds quietly as Circe grows. It is not full of non-stop action, although there is some and the pace steps up during these sequences nicely. It holds true to the Odyssey in its main telling, but expands and adds depth and breadth to the Greek mythology it pulls its inspiration from.

If you enjoy mythology, and Greek mythology in particular, Circe should make for a good read.

View all my reviews

======================================================

Coming soon: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition. Artificial intelligence, corporate plots, spaceships, a heroine with an attitude. More details soon!

Available now :

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb

In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

Five and Daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here

YoYo#2Thumb

Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.

Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s