Circe: A unique retelling of the Greek myths

Circe by Madeline Miller is an interesting, unique tale based on the Greek myths. Miller has taken a character and made their story her own. I felt that this was a very original story, but that at times I was not completely gripped. It was a solid 3* listen on Audible. Circe by Madeline Miller is out now from Hachette Audio.

The story
Circe is a Greek goddess and daughter of the Titan, Helios, who causes trouble and gets banished to live on the island of Aiaia by herself for eternity. However, humans do as they please, and when their boats start washing up on the shores of Aiaia, Circe will learn what it means to be human, to be a man and to be a woman. With other gods passing through, changing both their fates and hers, Circe will have to protect herself and the things she holds dear if she wants to live independently.

My thoughts on Circe…
Circe by Madeline Miller is essentially clever and well-written, with many anecdotes about various Greek gods and goddesses, nymphs and witches alike. I enjoyed the way Miller has woven the stories together and ensured that this novel feels like a real Greek myth, as the reader is faced with mounds of intertextuality and broken stories glued together. I particularly enjoyed the anecdote of Circe’s sister and the birth of her child/monster, which shows Miller’s strengths as an author. Unlike Stephen Fry, Miller ensures that Circe is involved in every story, whether she is hearing and commenting on things, or she travels somewhere and witnesses various extra things as she goes.

However, I will say that the story as a whole felt a bit long, as I was not completely gripped by all of the anecdotes and woven in stories as I was the main one. I got very into this audiobook when Circe would lure the men to her island, and I particularly enjoyed Miller’s sense of character that came apparent through this story line. Circe herself is an independent and fierce woman, but fell a little bit short as I felt that she came across a bit entitled at the beginning and never truly understood how to let go of the things she cares about, at least not without something new to distract her.

Overall, Circe by Madeline Miller was an enjoyable read for me. I would recommend it to people who enjoy Greek myths, but without as much graphic content as in Fry’s Mythos. This story does fall more into the young adult range, which makes it accessible for a wide range of audiences who will love it. I enjoyed listening to this book on Audible, and would encourage other fans of Greek mythology and adventure tales to read or listen to this title.

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