Circe Review

“Circe” is the sequel to Madeline Miller’s “Song of Achilles,” telling the story of Circe, the Greek goddess of magic. I also love everything Greek mythology and I just love the history surrounding it so I was definitely sucked into the book the moment I started reading it. By the second chapter I was so into the book that I just couldn’t put it down and I was spending every second of my free time reading it.
Circe starts with the birth of Circe to her parents, Helios, the god of the sun and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. From the moment she’s born, Circe is different from everyone in her household. She ends up falling in love with a mortal, who unlike the gods, will die. She begins experimenting in magic to try to keep him alive and ends up discovering that she discovers that she has a talent for witchcraft. Miller has a great way of writing these characters and helping the readers try to picture everything in their head. When writing the way Helios’ house looked and how it felt when he was and wasn’t there, I could picture the house very clearly. I felt the emotions that the characters felt.
The book is sort of divided up into two parts, you have the part where Circe has just been born and is learning and growing and with her family. The second part of the book is when Circe is older and how much she has grown. With this growth came new emotions and thoughts that the reader didn’t get to fully experience in the first part. Miller’s way of writing Circe’s emotions taps into how Circe felt towards all that’s happened to her in her many years of living. The way that she has written Circe processing each new experience that she’s been through is very eye opening. The reader can see her line of thought and helps you understand that though historians would write Circe off as evil. The reader can tell that it’s a bit complex and understands her perspective on these situations.
Miller shows the displays of power and how it can alter a person’s life. She shows the way power can change your life and also change the way you see or understand other people. A power imbalance is first seen when Circe is younger. She compares herself to the rest of the family, showing the power imbalance between her and her Titan relatives. The power imbalance continues to be seen later on in the book with Circe and the mortal men that she is in contact with. Power affects the way the reader relates with the characters and causes us to see the difference between people with and without power.
I really suggest reading this book, it’s very well written and the characterization of figures from Greek myths are well put together. Even if you aren’t a fan of Greek mythology, it is still interesting to watch how the characters fold into their character arc. This character-driven book is great for those who enjoy a well developed characterization.