YOUth Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Book cover
Circe by Madeline Miller

She has been exiled from her own kind, doomed to spend her eternal life alone on an island. But, instead of being stuck in her misery, Circe wastes no time playing with her newfound legacy. She is the first witch, and more powerful than she knows.

Circe is a novel of the ancient myth of the daughter of Helios, depicted as the first witch. She is banished to the island of Aiaia after a series of events that reveal her to have special knowledge and understanding of spells and potion-making. In mythology, Circe makes an appearance in a few well-known myths, like The Odyssey, but other than that, we are left to infer.

Madeline Miller’s version adds so much context to the development of the exiled witch. Circe is not some evil maiden, trapping a sailor from his journey home, nor is she a demented crone who turns all men into pigs. Miller takes us through Circe’s own journey. She is introduced to us as her father’s daughter who will listen to anything he tells her. From the beginning, she is an outsider to her relatives and does not recognize her exclusion. But we see Circe’s character grow. She becomes an independent and determined woman who befriends beasts and proves to the gods that she is stronger than they thought and much more powerful than they made her believe.

Circe perseveres through moral and emotional conflicts. She, after thousands of years, has turned into a beautiful totem of the power of women. Even without her sorcery, she is an example of pure fire and femininity that I definitely admire.

Circe is an excellent book that I highly recommend. It briefly highlights life for women, even as a goddess, and other hierarchies of that era. It is Greek mythology, something I quite enjoy, and it brings in elements of creatures, gods, and of course, the evolution of inability to omnipotency. This book isn’t so fast-paced that you miss the little details and it is a little intellectual.

Miller did a wonderful job in the nature of Circe’s character. It is a read you will never forget.

— Grace


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