Circe by Madeline Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've had a run of disappointing books lately and unfortunately this is one of them.
If you're anything like me (and I'm guessing you are since you took the time to be a member of Goodreads in the first place), you saw Circe on practically every website, book of the month club, review list, and magazine "must" list imaginable.
Assuming still that you're like me, you enjoy reading fictionalized versions or the Greek and Roman pantheon. No demi-god too big or small! It's all fair game and completely fascinating.
Side story: when I was in middle school, my English teacher had an entire six week course about the Greek and Roman pantheons. It's practically the only thing I even remember from middle school.
I bit the bullet and bought Circe from Book Depository. It was available quicker from other sellers but let's face it…I have a thing for paperbacks and I'd have to wait until next year in the US to get the book as one. Once it finally arrived, I dug in immediately.
Circe is about the naiad daughter of Helios, the sun god. It loosely follows her arc in Homer's Odyssey. When you get this books it's shiny and bronze and you're in love. By the end, you may have a general sense of disappointment. What did I waste my time on?
I think the author was trying to go for a story about a woman overcoming adversity, coming into her own, and finding her voice. What I feel like she ended up with, was a novel about a whiny child-woman who just accepts her fate and refuses to stand up for herself until literally the last 50-100 pages. Even the climax of the book is so mundane that you may miss it altogether. You'll be waiting for something bigger to happen.
This is not to say that the author's writing is bad. The plot is just seriously lacking in the meat that you are expecting. Most of the novel takes place on a deserted island to which Circe is banished so the setting can feel a little redundant.
Bottom line for me, it wasn't the worst thing I've ever read…but if you have something else catching your eye on the shelf…you may as well grab that instead.
This one gets 3 stars only because I can't give it 2.5. I know there are a ton of people who loved it, I'm just not one of them.
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