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  • Madeline Miller

Circe


5/5 STARS

• Publication Date: 10th April 2018 • Bloomsbury Australia • RRP: $29.99 AUD

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe's place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe's independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

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I received an advanced copy of this novel from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Trigger Warning – this book contains physical and mental abuse and rape/ sexual assault.

Circe is a novel of sorrow, grief, happiness, adversity, love and power. Miller has woven the tales of Greek Mytholgy into a story so captivating you feel every moment with Circe. Through her losses, her gains, hardships and triumphs.

Circe is the daughter of the Titan Helios, however she isn’t revered, she is an outsider – not what the Titans and Gods call beautiful, her voice hurts their ears – her eyes are hawk like. She is an intruder in her own home.

The novel follows Circe and her life – it takes us through the events that lead up to her exile – where in reality is where her life truly begins. She may be exiled to an Island that she can never leave, but at first she has never been more free. Circe is never truly alone though, she has her witchcraft – her reason for exile, the acts she did in the name of love brought her to where she is now – her animals and the sailors that stumble upon her Island.

Throughout her years, she finds a lover in the God of Tricks – although there is no love and only pleasure. She meets the “heroes” of Greek mythology, she falls in love with mortals, she binds monsters to their cages and she experiences such grief and hardship. But Circe continues on.

As I mentioned above, we hear the tales of Greek Mythology throughout this novel, from the Minotaur to Daedalus and his son Icarus. The tragedies brought upon by the Gods who sought humans to be their playthings. Hermes may be the trickster but the Gods and Goddesses are just as bad. They use humans to gain advantage. To play out their own desires.

The Gods, Goddeses and Titans of Olympus and Greek mythology are not kind. They are curl and jealous creatures. Miller weaves their exploits so delightfully throughout the novel – you hate them, but you cannot wait to see what they do next.

Circe’s tale left me in tears at multiple points throughout the novel, I found myself angry on her behalf, wanting to throw my wrath on those who did her harm. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, she finds love and comfort, she experiences joys and finds periods of happiness. Circe is a strong and empowering woman who goes from strength to strength even in hard and dark times.

Miller has created a world so beautiful and a tale so passionately written that you will instantly fall in love with her writing. I have found myself a new favourite author.


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