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Our Discussion of Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

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. Goodreads

Below are a sampling of our comments:

  • I had to look up Greek mythology to refresh my memory – I liked how authentic it was to the myths
  • The book piqued my interest in the ancient Greeks, so I read Plato’s Republic
  • I did not like it – it was tedious, not enough direct connection to the myths for those of us that aren’t as familiar
  • I’ve read it three times already for other book groups
  • The characters weren’t appealing or sympathetic
  • I like the point of view – most history is written by men, so it was so interesting to have the view from a female character
  • Whenever Circe tried to show compassion or sympathy, it didn’t work out well
  • The struggles of being the mother of a newborn were relatable
  • Circe was too human for the gods and too godlike for humans. She was picked on and bullied by the gods for her voice
  • It was unbelievable that the pirates would have merrily followed 15-year old Telegonus away from the house when they were up to no good
  • Circe and her siblings were “witches” using “witch power” instead of divine power. Their power came from “pharmaka,” which took hard work and will to use
  • Circe is a hero but this is not a traditional hero’s journey, it’s a heroine’s journey

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you have about Circe. We gave this title the codes MYT, MAG, MONST, LIT, HOME, BAC, FEM & IMM and an average rating of 3.8.

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