“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.”

opening line of Circe By Madeline Miller

THE RECOMMENDATION… Gods and nymphs, myths and monsters, companionship and exile. Circe is a book by Madeline Miller that drew some attention this year and in my opinion, with good reason. I’ve read this as a book and listened to it as an audiobook, I highly recommend you try the audiobook for an immersive experience. Although it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could dislike this book, I recommend it book to people who enjoy mythology, strong female leads, first-person narrative and just immersive fiction I guess.

What is the book about?

This utterly captivating novel follows protagonist Circe, born from the Greek god Helios. After a complicated youth and events that lead to her discovering that she can perform witchcraft, Circe is exiled to the isolated island of Aeaea. The rest of the book she is known as the ’witch of Aeaea’ and it follows her perils on the island whilst in exile. 

This book is based on Greek myths, so that means that you will bump into some characters you will have already heard of – this gives the book a familiar feel throughout and is especially endearing if you a mythology buff.

What were the characters like?

The protagonist, Circe, is a strong heroine and starts off as a loving, trusting and naive youth. This seems to be the way that she approaches relationships with men and with her family, who seem to take advantage of her nature frequently. Circe is developing throughout the story as she faces major events and complications and I believe in the end she is wiser for her experiences but still quite true to her initial self. She is a relatable character and worth investing in emotionally – which you will do if you read this book, you simply can’t help it. 

There are a host of other characters that Miller brings to life throughout the book, I particularly like the way she portrays the personality of various Gods, nymphs and mortals. All of the characters are well shapes and while not all of them are relatable, they are all interesting!


Whilst reading, I did feel emotionally invested in some of her lovers, however you grow to understand that each play a part in Circe’s personal development. 

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

Madeline Miller, Circe

What about the pacing?

I did not get bored reading this book. There is no cataclysmic event, end of the world type action in the book – but that isn’t the kind of story this is intended to be. There are loads of exciting turns of event that kept me engaged throughout, I would say this is a very well paced book that you are unlikely to put down.

This book is available in paperback, hardcover and audiobook. I recommend audiobook format.

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