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.
I really wanted to like this book. It has so much hype and I know so many people love Madeline Miller’s writing. But sadly, this really didn’t hit the spot for me. I did read this very quickly over two days because I wanted to finish this before the end of June, and I’m not sure how much this changed my opinion of the book. It is definitely more of a slow burner, and I may have enjoyed it slightly more if I had paced myself over a longer period of time.
However, I do think this was more about the book itself. The writing was incredibly slow paced and really quite dense in my opinion. I found it a strange mixture of scenes I really enjoyed and could vividly picture and scenes I absolutely zoned out on and took nothing in. I just couldn’t quite grasp the writing style.
But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth.
I loved the character of Circe and her strength and independence definitely shines through. I didn’t appreciate the romances too much, and felt almost as if this book was just a long string of them. However, I did like the introduction of other Gods and their own stories. I definitely feel I would have enjoyed this book more if I had a better understanding of Greek mythology, as I had little to no knowledge prior to reading. I would love to go back to this one with more of an understanding of the myths themselves.
I would also like to point out there are some graphic scenes in this book, in many different ways. The one that sticks most vividly in my mind is a birthing scene, which I unfortunately stumbled across while eating dinner. I would definitely recommend looking up trigger warnings for this one and watch out for anything you may have a phobia of!
Such a constellation was he to me.
Overall, I am so sad to say this was such a mixed one for me and I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I would love to give it another go in the future, however, and will also be reading The Song of Achilles at some point!
3 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽