When I was a pre-teen and teen, some of my favorite books were re-tellings of famous myths and tales from one of the female characters’ points of view. The two big ones that stand out are The Mists of Avalon, which recounts Arthurian legend from the perspective of Morgan Le Fay, and The Firebrand, which recounts the siege of Troy from Cassandra’s viewpoint (I adored both books, especially The Mists of Avalon, which I read a million times, and the revelations that have since come to light about their author absolutely break my heart—but I digress…).
Reading Circe gave me the a grown-up version of the enthrallment I felt reading those other books as an adolescent. The prose here is simply gorgeous, and Madeline Miller has created an enchanting portrait of an enchantress, giving her all the depths and nuances of an actual woman. The supporting characters in the book are just as vividly drawn. I believed in everyone, which is quite a literary feat considering most of the characters are gods and the rest are legendary figures like Odysseus and Daedalus. They all felt so real to me that I was on the edge of my seat until the very end, hoping for an outcome that was not a Greek tragedy. And if I was flooded with emotion at the end (which I was), it was just because the experience of reading this book had been so all-encompassing and I really didn’t want to leave the world that Miller conjured into existence.
Put simply, I loved this book.