Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller | Greek Mythological Retelling

Circe by Madeline Miller

Title: Circe by Madeline Miller | Published: 2018 by Little, Brown and Company | Pages: 393 | Format: Ebook and Audiobook


She is known throughout the myths as the powerful enchantress, skilled in the magic of transmutation, illusion, and necromancy. They called her a witch. A sorceress. But they didn’t know the woman behind the myth. This is her story.

Born a lesser god, Circe is tormented by her immortal kin for her dullness, mortal voice and powerlessness. However, power comes in many forms. This is when she discovers her powers of Witchcraft. Threatened by her new-found powers, Zeus banishes her to the Island of Aiaia where Circe learns to harness her craft and comes to understand what true power is.

“Witches are not so delicate”

Rating: 5 Stars

Elegantly written, empowering and simply flawless”

My first encounter with Greek mythology was reading a kids version of  Homer’s Odyssey. And since then, I’ve had this constant fascination with the Greeks and their myths. From their multiple deities to their legends of heroes and monsters. Their stories have never failed to capture my imagination. So, when I came across this Audiobook, I was more than excited to start listening to it…

…And I have to tell you, this is such a beautiful book. Madeline Miller has a way to completely enthral you with the almost poetic way she tells this story.

‘You threw me to the crows, but it turns out I prefer them to you.’

Circe by Madeline Miller follows our main protagonist, Circe as a naive nymph, who yearns for her father’s approval and is constantly tormented by her immortal kin. You, as a reader, fall in love with her character because, although she seems to be quite meek and submissive, you know she has inner strength in her. This inner strength is really harnessed when Circe is banished to the island of Aiaia. Exiled, Circe is forced to take things into her own hands.

Written from Circe’s perspective, Madeline Miller really captivates you with how she tells Circe’s story. The way Miller portrays her character in an almost relatable and wholesome way. You, as a reader get to see all of Circe, the bad, the good and even the broken.

Her journey is filled with pain and loneliness as she questions her immortality. Yet, you cheer her on because through her pain, her doubt and her loneliness rises her resolve and her determination. This woman has been bullied and belittled her entire life but she learns to fight back and become a force to be reckoned with. Which means her successes become almost bittersweet.

This re-telling was certainly a journey to be had and I would never be the same after reading this book.

‘It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.’

Now I know mythological re-tellings are not a new concept. Most stories now a days are often re-tellings of classical tales. And like most re-tellings, it often has different versions of how the tale is told.  Madeline Miller carefully chose her myths well so that it fuses seamlessly with the way Circe’s tale is told.

There are so many myths that intertwine with Circe’s, such as the birth of the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, and, of course, the sharp-witted Odysseus. However, although the reader is introduced to many well-known figures in Greek mythology, None of their stories felt forced or overshadowed hers. Flawlessly done, Ms Miller!

Overall, this book will forever be favourite of mine. I literally have no criticism to say about this book because it was so beautifully done. I was completely enthralled from start to finish. Thank you, Madeline Miller for this beautiful artistry. I can’t wait to read more from you!


THIS BOOK INCLUDES MATURE AND SENSITIVE CONTENT: – Rape, Graphic Violence and Explicit Language


Do you plan to read Circe? What are your thoughts on mythological re-tellings?



3 thoughts on “Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller | Greek Mythological Retelling

  1. I love mythological retellings and I really liked Circe a lot. It was hard to get through at points, but the ending was so satisfying. Great review!

    1. Thank you! Yh, the pacing was kind of a slow burn rather than fast-paced with a peak. But yes. It was certainly a satisfying ending

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