Audiobook Review: Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller

RBdigital audiobook review by Jeannette

Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and the mightiest of the Titans and Perse, a nymph. But Circe is a strange child, not powerful like her father nor cruelly alluring like her mother. With no apparent powers of her own she turns to the world of mortals for companionship. It is there that she discovers that she does have power; the power of witchcraft. She has an affinity for the art of transformation, where she can turn rivals into monsters and mortals into gods and as such, she is a risk to the gods themselves.

Threatened by her newly discovered ability Zeus, king of all gods, banishes her to the deserted island of Aiaia. Here she leads a solitary life and we go on a journey with her through her immortality. The island intended as a prison turns out to be a paradise for Circe. She hones her magical craft, taming wild beasts, expanding her knowledge of all things herbs and potions and is crossing paths with some of the most famous figures in mythology including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son, Icarus, the murderous Medea, Hermes and Athena, and of course, the cunning and ingenious Odysseus.

But there is danger for a woman who stands alone, and Circe’s independence 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 has to summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods or the mortals, she has come to love.

Because this book is told from Circe’s point of view, we get to know her intimately, not just her history, but her thoughts and feelings as well. We tend to think of the Greek Gods as fickle and cruel because they are often depicted that way, yet with Circe we meet a goddess who is so humanlike and as such very easy to relate too.

You don’t need to be an expert in gods or Greek mythology to enjoy this book. The author weaves interesting tales of gods, magic, monsters, heroes and survival, breathing a nice breath of fresh air into this ancient world.

This is a book, in my opinion, about healing and doing what it takes to come into your own, facing your fears and learning to stand up for yourself.