Circe by Madeline Miller – A Review

Hi! I finally finished a book! I mean, it is the second one this month, so you can see I’m doing pretty poorly, but what can you do?


Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Publication date: April 10th 2018
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

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.

I find myself very confused. It seems like everyone and their mother loves Circe. I had huge expectations going into this book, seeing all those rave reviews, and I’m deeply disappointed.

Having studied Greek myth in school, I vaguely knew the story of Circe, and other characters who appear in the book. I thought reading this novel with refresh my memory of Greek gods and put a new, fresh spin on it – after all it is a retelling. Unfortunately I don’t think it managed that.

I found it all just very… dry. Yes, I guess the writing was quite pretty, but that’s genuinely the only thing the book had going for it. I’m going to be very candid – it was boring as hell. I could not get invested in the story because there was barely any story in there. It was just pages and pages of filler.

The reviews at the back of the book describe it as “thrilling” and inadvertly as very feminist. I found the character of Circe terribly bland. She was constantly undermined by everyone and all she did about it was whine. I can’t even say anything else about her – because there’s nothing to her. She was meant to be a powerful witch and we didn’t really see any power, nor have we seen much magic.

I feel like I’ve read a different book to everyone else. I remember really enjoying Greek myth in school, but maybe it’s not really my cup of tea, after all. Or maybe it’s just Circe (as I still enjoy Percy Jackson, though I know it’s a book of a completely different calibre).

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Well… it’s seems I’m not off to a great start. Hopefully the next book I read is better.

Have you read Circe? Are you in the majority of people who adore this book? Let me know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Circe by Madeline Miller – A Review

  1. I read Circe last year and I was pretty underwhelmed, too. I tried so hard to like it, but in the end I just accepted that I couldn’t see what the hype was all about. 😓 Like you, I found it to be dry, and I couldn’t understand the feminist reading in a character who seemed so passive. The only redeeming points were the prose and the scenery. Sorry about this rocky start, but I hope you’ll get to read better books soon!

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