Book Review: Circe

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Copy of Title_ Author_ Page Count_ Publish Date_ Publisher_ (2).pngSynopsis

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. Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

 

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, Rape, Jokes about forced consent, Bestiality, Death.

 

Rating

Circe

I’ve decided that this book was basically created to appease those who love(d) the Percy Jackson series as children/teens but have grown older and needed a more adult version. No matter how hard I tried, I could not separate this story from what I read in the PJO series. It was a huge struggle to keep the two worlds apart. (especially since they are kind of the same world???)

To be entirely honest with you all, I used to be obsessed with mythology back in the 6th grade. It was the first time it was introduced in my social studies class and I was also reading The Lightning Thief for Battle of the Books. I loved learning about Greek gods and goddesses.

So, when Leelynn reviewed this book on her blog and really liked it, I thought, why not give it a try? I am always up for a retelling and even more up for a story about a gone-rogue woman (or, in this case, goddess).

Just to be frank, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this retelling. It was well written, stayed true to the mythological stories that have been passed down for centuries, and showed Circe as the imperfect being that she is.

I think that the biggest reason I struggled to really get pulled into this was because there were times that dragged for me. I’ve mulled it over and I honestly don’t think it’s the fault of the author, and here’s why: she wrote this as a retelling about a goddess who lived for over a thousand years (I honestly am not sure exactly how long is was, but a thousand yrs was mentioned a couple of times so I’m going with that). Miller managed to put Circe’s entire lifetime into less than 400 pages, and let me tell you, being banished to an island doesn’t make for a super fun and entrancing life. It just is what it is.

So I really don’t blame the author for me getting a little bored with the story now and then. The written was done well and I really felt like Miller did a fabulous job of making a convincing retelling. My only knowledge of Circe before reading this came from her appearance in The Sea of Monsters, which gave me a much different impression of her. In that story, she was much more of a villain. In this, she’s still kind of a villain, but she’s one that you can largely understand and relate to.

Having said that, though, there were definitely times when I felt like Circe was an extremely hard character to root for. This is, once again, not a fault of the author’s story telling, but of the many mythological tales that have been passed on.

I think that this was supposed to be a kind of… feminist take on mythology? I’m not really so sure that that is the right word, but it was meant to give a goddess (and a minor one at that) her own story instead of making her a supporting character in some god’s story. I can appreciate that; I do appreciate that.

However, the reason I can’t comfortably call it a feminist retelling is because Circe could be really awful to other women!? She is literally credited throughout history for turning another nymph into a horrendous monster. She sleeps with a married man knowingly and even though I understand that she was annoyed with the bratty nymph girls who were sent to her island for punishment, I felt like she could’ve been kinder to them. She herself notes how the sons are never punished for anything and she can relate so well to these girls, yet she shuts them out. 

The one thing that you can rightfully give to Circe is that she stood up for herself. Not at first, but after some time she stops letting the men, both human and god alike, abuse, harm, and underestimate her. She becomes a woman worthy of fearing and protects herself and the things that matter to her. Honestly, even when I didn’t like some of her choices, she was a total badass and she made sure that no one could take that away from her. She even finally took a stand against her father, who was truly the epitome of the god complex (see what I did there? ha).

“You have always been the worst of my children,” he said. “Be sure you do not dishonor me.”

“I have a better idea. I will do as I please, and when you count your children, leave me out.”

Overall, I think it’s the type of story that you’ll like if you’re heavily into mythology. When the lives and legacies of these gods and goddesses have been passed down for so long, there isn’t much room for an author to stray away from those tales. Miller gave Circe her own voice and her own story with this book, but you need to have a genuine interest in hearing it to really enjoy it, if that makes any sense at all. It isn’t mean to redeem her or her actions, but to dive deeper into why she made the choices she did.

This really isn’t the most cohesive review but I am very limited on what I can talk about without completely ruining the book for those of who are going to read it! I also just have very indifferent feelings toward this novel and don’t properly know how to explain why.

 

Note: If you’re viewing this on my actual site, then you may have noticed a few differences in formatting today! (If you’re viewing on Reader, you wouldn’t have noticed any changes) I wanted to thank Leelynn for giving me the idea (& permission to use said idea) for the fading out of the flowers in my rating graphic. Additionally, Caitlin’s new post called ‘Small WordPress Tips & Tricks that’ll Go a Long Way ft. html, themes & more!‘ is amazing and gave me some fun new ways to experiment with. She also recommended a post from Tale Out Loud titled, ‘Basic HTML Tutorial That Can Be Very Helpful for Every Book Blogger Who Uses WordPress.com‘ which was widely helpful to me as well! If you want to learn any new tricks, check out both of those posts!

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Circe

  1. I think you explained your indifference to it perfectly! You’re right about it not being a feminist retelling though because she is a bitch to a lot of the other nymphs. I think all of them, honestly. So I’m glad you pointed that out. I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as how I made it out to be. I feel bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noooo don’t feel bad!! I can definitely see why so many people love it. I read a few other reviews saying that it was supposed to be like super empowering and I do definitely think it should the empowerment of Circe, just not her empowering any other women😅 But it’s a good book. I think I just had a hard time keeping my interest in but I know that anyone who gets invested in the story will love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, I’m really sad that you didn’t love this book very much :-(( I remember when this book first started getting all of the hype, and I want to read it, but I sadly don’t think I’ll love it as much. I don’t know, it’s just a gut feeling. Kudos to you for still writing a review for this book though! I’ve had experiences wherein I felt like that about a book, and I would have NOTHING to write about in a review haha. I also loved how you mentioned that this book is not feminist, and that you explained it really well!!

    I’m so glad to see that someone found my post useful 😭😭 you’re incorporating different text sizes into your posts seamlessly–I love it! And I’m so glad that you found Karlita’s post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly thought I would like it SO much more than I did! I really like mythological retellings but this was just very eh. ‘Eh’ reviews are so hard to write because you have literally zero strong feelings about it so it’s hard to know what to say 😅 I mostly wanted to bring up the feminist thing because I saw a lot of people on the GR page mentioning that it was supposed to be a feminist take and while I understand WHY people say that (since Circe got her own story/book and her bad choices/crimes were given explanations instead of just making her out to be a crazed, jealous woman), it just didn’t feel right to me to think of it that way because she was so mean to other women and goddesses!

      I found it SO useful and will seriously be using it sooo much until I can memorize some of the HTML coding!! If you ever notice random views on that post months after you published it, it’s probably me 😂 It’s actually super fun to decide what words you want to stand out and what not. I feel like it really highlights the most important parts of a post if that makes sense. I’m so glad you made that post because I’ve wanted to incorporate different text sizes since I started and had no idea how! And Karlita’s post was super helpful, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so fun, right?? I initially didn’t want to do it because I was doubting whether I’d know which ones to highlight or make bigger, but it turns out, that finding my main point in a paragraph is actually pretty easy. I love doing it because I know that I’m sometimes so tired that I just want to skim blog posts, and I feel like I’m helping people who want to skim! I think it also telegraphs your main point better? Like if I word is made bold or in bigger text, I’m more likely to notice it and really read it, if that makes sense.

        Like

  3. I have limited knowledge of greek mythology so have avoided this book for now despite seeing it everywhere and seeing the heaps of praise people have for it. It’s nice to read a bit more critical review sometimes. Sounds like a good book but perhaps not sensational, great review!

    Like

    1. While I’d loved to say that not knowing much about Greek mythology wouldn’t hinder the reading experience of this one, I actually think it would. I will say that the author included small snippets for each character in the back, but a lot of the story is originated from other stories, and it can definitely get a little frustrating if you’re not at least a little familiar with them. I’ve mostly only seen praise for this, too, so I was expecting to like it a lot more. Like you said, it was a good book, just not as great as the hype had built it up to be (at least not to me)!

      Liked by 1 person

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