Adult Fiction | Fantasy (adult) | Historical Fiction (adult) | Mythology (adult) | Retellings (adult)

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

9. September 2018


Fantasy/Adult Fiction/Mythology/Historical Fiction/Retellings

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 have always loved mythology, and anything related to ancient Gods. Greek mythology has always fascinated me, and I remember wanting to be Athena as a child. I have rarely read anything about it, but mostly watched movies or TV shows surrounding these characters. I really liked Circe, and how it was told by Circe to me as a reader. It made her reflections about life and how she handled it much more realistic.

I also loved how this story goes on for centuries, and how we travel through her life like it was merely a few years. The way it is written is also beautiful, and I early on liked her keen eye to details. She has one of those writing styles that makes it easy to read, and her lovely metaphors carried the story just beautifully. Here’s an example: “I had no right to claim him, I knew it. But in solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.” (This has become one of my favorite quotes as well).

The characters were also well-rounded, and I loved how some characters from the mythology has been drawn forward to pull the story forward. I think the only thing that didn’t really “sit well” with me was the slow pace. It was awfully slow, and at times I was contemplating picking up another book instead. But I’m glad that I stuck to it because it really is good, it’s just very different from what I usually read!

I can absolutely recommend this if you want some greek mythology in your life. I’m already looking forward to The Song of Achilles, which I’m taking with me on holiday!


  • When Circe was afraid of cutting herself, not because of the pain, but because it might just pass through her (p. 23)
  • When Circe helped Pasiphaë with her birth of the minotaur (p. 123)
  • When Daedalus and Circe finally did it (p. 149)
  • When Daedalus died, and it was kind of sad (p. 152)
  • Circe being bad ass, turning bad men into pigs (p. 189)
  • Telegonus being born (p. 242)
  • “But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults” (p. 311)
  • Telemachus being all about the MILF (p. 349)

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