Circe is discovered when I was looking for a fiction to read. It ranks first in the fantasy category of Goodreads Choice Awards 2018. So, I decided to give it a try.
Madeline Miller is a high school teacher of Latin, Greek and Shakespeare. Her first novel, The Song of Achilles, was published in 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller.
Circe contains a total of 27 chapters. All the chapters do not have a title. After the ending, there is a Cast of Characters section which introduces the characters who appeared in the book.
Circe is a story about the goddess Circe, daughter of Helios, Titan god of sun, and Perse, a nymph. This story is set within the tale of Odyssey, the Greek epic poem by Homer. The author uses the characters in the poem and creates a new story about them.
(Spoiler alert! Skip to the last paragraph of this review if you plan to read this book.)
Since her birth, no one really cared about Circe. Even her brother, Aeëtes, who was taken care by her after he was born, was not concerned about her. Her early life was filled with sorrow and letdown.
One interesting point in this novel is that it depicts Circe as the midwife of Minotaur, the mythical creature with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man. Furthermore, she was the one who quench the hunger of the Minotaur with witchcraft.
Her life began to change when Odysseus arrived on her island, Aiaia. She fell in love with the Greek hero and gave birth to his son, Telegonus, after Odysseus left her. However, her son was demanded to be killed by Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war. She fought fiercely against Athena and prevailed in the end.
Circe’s son, Telegonus, accidentally caused the death of his father, Odysseus. He brought Odysseus’s wife, Penelope and her son, Telemachus back to Aiaia. In the end, Athena’s favour fell on Telegonus and he left the island. Circe fell in love with Telemachus and they killed Scylla, a monster created by Circe together. In order to escape from the fate of losing everyone whom she loves, Circe decided to give up her immortality.
(End of spoiler.)
I personally do not think that this book is that great. It might be because I had too high expectation. The story is mostly predictable but I cannot deny that there are a few surprises. Nevertheless, it is very inspiring to see the growth of Circe, from an insecure girl to a mature lady. It is like a path to self-realization. If you like Greek mythology, Circe could be a fiction that you will come to like.
Interested in Circe?
You may get the book from Kinokuniya Malaysia through the link below*.
*Disclosure: The above link is Involve Asia affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through this link.