Circe by Madeline Miller is an epic that follows the trials and triumphs of the Witch of Aiaia and Daughter of Helios, Circe. Written from Circe’s perspective in the form of a flashback, the novel begins with Circe’s birth into an immortal family, one with which despises her and with which she doesn’t fit into. After discovering her talent for Pharmakeia--or witchcraft--and using it to transform her mortal love interest and a fellow nymph into different forms, Zeus and Helios exile Circe to the island of Aiaia. Being alone, Circe discovers more about herself and her talents than she could ever imagine possible and meets many Gods and mortals—including Odysseus and Hermes. Being on Aiaia, Circe realizes that her condemnation may be more of a saving grace in her immortal eternity.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The lyrical diction added great emotion to the recount of Circe’s life, and I could feel Circe’s sufferings and pride through absorbing the language of the novel. My favorite part about Madeline Miller’s work is that it is told from a female’s point-of-view. Throughout middle and high school, I’ve only ever learned Greek mythology from works that are centered around a male figure: Odysseus in the Odyssey, the Disney movie Hercules, etc. I have never encountered a work that is solely centered around a female, until I read Circe, and that really stood out to me. Overall, I would give Circe five stars because it was engrossing and wonderfully written. It is a great book for anyone who is interested in Greek mythology or fantasy.