In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
PUBLISHED ON 19 APRIL 2018 BY BLOOMSBURY
Circe is a perfect mixture of finding one’s individuality, growing to love oneself, and understanding how not everyone you share your blood with is the best person for you while practising witchcraft and finding the ones you want to care for because you love them.
Witches are not so delicate.
I can’t explain how much I loved this book! It’s a work of fiction, a retelling of the Greek witch & goddess, a dive into the historical fiction or mythology but it was SO MUCH more. It has feminist ideas spread through the centuries Circe lives. She’s adamant on thriving despite the hurdles Gods put in her way, despite the men who consider her weak simply because she’s alone in her home, on her island is an inspiration wrapped in the mist of her spellbinding draughts. She’s a witch by will and learns her craft out of love for herself and then out of love for the ones she deeply feels for.
I thought: I cannot bear this world a moment longer.
‘Then, child, make another.’
The best aspect of this story has to be character development. Circe grows through every page, changes to be better, learns from her mistakes, and doesn’t shy away from owning her wrongdoings. While the book is simply 300+ pages, the story spans over centuries and you can literally feel the knowledge Circe has embedded as the time passed. Of course, huge credit should be given to the stunning writing. It’s one of those detailed prose that you can’t skim at any cost, for every line gives something new and is written with an emotion that is hard to miss.
‘You’re wise,’ he said.
‘If it is so,’ I said, ‘it is only because I have been fool enough for a hundred times.’
The story itself is amazing. The plot focuses on Circe but doesn’t recite her experiences alone. It even delves into the lives of other Gods, other nymphs, other witches, other sailors, other kings and queens. The number of characters this book mentions for a story line that speaks of the lone witch of an island is surprising. There are names you think you won’t remember but Circe keeps connecting incidents to events and you’ll not only remember the names but will also not forget each little story she witnesses herself or hears from the ones recounting them.
It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.
Circe is a strong female character. If that’s not the most impressive bit of any book, I don’t know what is. She uses her knowledge as a witch to safeguard her island, herself, from the by-passers and all the Gods who can’t stand the sight of her or the sound of her mortal voice. Not only this, her emotional meter doesn’t fall when she genuinely cares for her guests, finds solace with some, and always keeps her senses on alert. She even allows wolves and lions to roam around her house, to give a sense of protection to her. And she stands strong against the biggest of Gods and Goddesses for the ones she love. It’s enchanting to read and that’s when you know she’s a great witch.
You do not know what I can do.
Overall, it’s a story I will never forget (and trust me, I forget SO many) and will keep recommending till my very last breath.
Are you a fan of Greek mythology? Have you read Circe or have it on your TBR? Have you read the other works of Madeline Miller? Let me know in the comments!
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