Fully bandwagon hopped and bought this book because of how much I was seeing it on Instagram and how much buzz it was getting. #noshame. On top of the fact that it was shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize, but lost out to An American Marriage, so that MUST mean I have great taste in books, right? Right?! Read along and see our take on this work of fiction.
Circe, daughter of the Greek God Helios and one of his hundreds of nymphs, Perce- she is said to have the voice of a mortal and yellow eyes like her father Helios, but is rejected by him and largely ignored by the other gods as they deem her to not be beautiful and odd. When in a fit of jealousy, her newly discovered powers with witchcraft changes a nymph into an eight-headed beast, she is exiled to an island as punishment. But instead of this being a curse, this is actually her rebirth, as she comes into her own and begins to hone her skills. But her interactions with the gods gets put to the test when she becomes pregnant and threatened by Athena herself, to kill her child.
Break it Down:
I don’t know much about Greek mythology and the characters within them, of course we’ve all heard of the famous Athena, Hercules, Zeus and even Hermes, but this book fully immerses you into their characters through Circe’s eyes. Despite knowing it’s mythology and not real, Madeline Miller paints such a different perspective of what the gods are like, especially as Circe is half god and eventually finds out she has witches in her bloodline. As the book and Circe’s character develops she changes from a naive and somewhat sheltered demi-god, to a rebellious and brave witch and begins to push back on the “establishment” and comes into her own. Once she has her son, I feel that this is when her powers become their strongest, fuelled by her love for her son. Where she would have been shy and probably a push over, but her desire to protect her son, leads her to stand up against Athena, one of the most powerful gods. There are so many interesting sub-plots and stories within the book, it’s almost not fair to break it all down in a small blog post. It is such a beautifully written book, it takes you on a journey and you are fully immersed into Circe’s world, you find yourself willing her on, willing for her to become trans-formative and have the other gods fear her power, but her innocence is really endearing.
Oh this is such a tough one, I usually try to be fair and look to see what I’d choose as a negative, but if I am being honest, I couldn’t find any for this book. It is easily one of my favourite books that I have read for 2019.
The RnR Rating:
5 out of 5. (I picked this rating well before I had finished the book!). Beautiful imagery! The way the author, Madeline Miller wove the story, was effortless, especially as there are a lot of characters and intertwined plots, I was not confused with any of it.
Would I recommend?:
I can definitely see why there was buzz over this book, it deserves it. Yaa Gyasi has a way with words that is so transformative and raw. I felt the pain of each character and felt like I was a sibling- I was transfixed into the book. It’s a wonderful, great read. 100% would recommend!
Absolutely! It takes you on a journey, is so so well written and the description is beyond beautiful! Pick it up, you will not be disappointed.