Hello, everyone! Today’s mini review is the book you all chose for me to read over on Twitter. It was the book for my Blitzen prompt from the Reindeer Readathon. I love mythology. So, I was really looking forward to this one.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly 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 must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I love Greek and Roman mythology, and I adored Miller’s first book, The Song of Achilles. So, I was incredibly excited to read this one, as well, especially since the story of Circe was one I didn’t know a lot about. I’ll go ahead and rip the bandaid off…I didn’t like this one quite as much as The Song of Achilles. The mix of mythology stories and characterization wasn’t balanced very well. Every time I’d be enjoying the focus on Circe another character would pop up for a short amount of time or arrive to tell a story about something happening far away. It felt a bit like whiplash. I enjoyed getting to know Circe and following her coming-of-age story, and I liked learning so much more about all the different mythological beings. However, each of those aspects somewhat hindered the other one, and, while both were good, it kept either from being truly excellent. I still loved Miller’s writing. She really does write beautiful prose. I just didn’t get quite as emotionally invested in this tale as I did with her previous work. I still recommend the book if you are interested in learning more about mythology, though, because there really are so many different stories crammed in here that it acts as a wonderful primer. I especially loved learning about the origins of Scylla, which I either never knew or didn’t remember. Overall, I had a pretty good time reading this one even though it didn’t wow me as much as I hoped. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.