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Circe by Madeline Miller
Fantasy

Circe

Book of the year
Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to Circe!

by Madeline Miller

Quick take

Set in the world of ancient Greek mythology, Circe is the fantastical tale of a fierce young woman—half titan, half nymph—who dares to challenge the gods.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural

    Supernatural

Why I love it

Liberty Hardy
BOTM Judge

I have a confession to make: I only know a little about Greek mythology. But that didn’t stop me from reading and loving Circe, a dazzling novel about the remarkable daughter of a formidable god. Holy cats, is it wonderful—a vivid portrayal that proves reading Greek mythology doesn’t have to feel like Homer-work. (Sorry, not sorry, for the pun.)

Though her mother is a beautiful nymph and her father is one of the most tremendous titans on Mount Olympus, Circe is awkward and unusual—an ugly duckling among phoenixes. When her powers of witchcraft are deemed a threat, she’s banished to live by herself on an island. There, she perfects her magical abilities, encounters iconic characters from Greek mythology, and learns that there are consequences for talented women who stand up for themselves.

I loved Circe because though she’s a strong, complex heroine, she’s also relatable. She’s a nymph, but she makes flawed choices and must learn from her mistakes just like humans do. Another confession: Reading Greek mythology makes me feel smarter. Something about the fact that these stories have been around for thousands of years makes my brain swell with happiness. To read one of those stories retold in such a captivating, brilliant way, is a tremendous treat. I’m convinced the author is a goddess.

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Synopsis

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.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.

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Member thoughts

All (25691)
All (25691)
Love (17356)
Like (6762)
Dislike (1573)
26065 ratings
  • 67% Love
  • 26% Like
  • 6% Dislike
  • Corona, CA

    ???????????? ???????????????? ???????????????? ???????? ????????????????! I don’t know why I waited so long to read it, because it was magic! ⁣Another 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star book by author Madeline Miller! ⁣

  • Agawam, MA

    Beautiful • tragedy • self-love • forever learning • self - acceptance • power • being one with nature and the universe • hardships • life/death and time • “side quest” of a famous Greek myth setting

  • Mount Pleasant, MI

    I thoroughly enjoyed following Circe’s personal “odyssey”. The writing is captivating and emotionally provocative. The mythology was easy to keep up with for those of us that aren’t Greek scholars ????.

  • Longview, TX

    Can I love this twice?! Circe’s voice has a pulse on mythology like no other. The quote about gods destroying things because they themselves are perfection. “No one was coming for me.”—this theme tho

  • Fraser, MI

    “The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it” -from “Circe” This book was a bold look through Circe’s eyes.

  • Columbus , OH

    I’ve been obsessed with books since I was born. I’m happiest when I’m reading. I hadn’t been consistently reading for a couple years but then CIRCE. Incredible. Found my book obsession again. Thanks!

  • Los Angeles, CA

    I love a fresh take on an age old tale. This book turns Circe’s usual “predatory woman” story on its head. Taking mythology out of the male gaze gives Circe the depth that every strong woman deserves.

  • Taunton, MA

    Best book I’ve read in a long time. Well written and certainly a new look at the “siren” who drove sailors to destruction. She loved and was loved , and I loved this “real” version of her life.

  • Charlottesville, VA

    Ive always loved mythology and this certainly kept a can’t stop reading, exciting, engaging pace. Circe was so incredibly relatable and you couldn’t help but root for someone who’s been hurt like you.

  • Nashville, TN

    I love mythology and “Circe” by Madeline Miller was so entertaining I didn’t want to put it down. Its “a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.” Really, a brilliant novel.

  • Pendleton, OR

    Good lord I absolutely LOVED this book. It draws you in and doesn’t let you go, there’s so many references to Greek heroes and monsters and tragedies to keep you entertained and throughly heartbroken.

  • Arden, NC

    I absolutely loved this book so much I am now ordering the author’s previous and debut novel Achilles. I couldn’t put this book down no matter how often I had to, it was all I could think about! LOVE!

  • Brighton , CO

    Absolutely loved this book. There’s a reason it was book of the month AnD book of the year. Super entertaining and such a great story! It’s not predictable and boring in the least. This one is a must.

  • Bartonville , IL

    This was total Love it for me! I am all in for anything based on Greek or Roman Mythology! I also liked how readable it was. Great story and i always love a “bad ass” heroine to boot! Great book!

  • Herriman, UT

    I loved this book! I’ve always been a fan of greek mythology but never knew a lot about Circe. Now Circe is one of my favorites! Madeline Miller has a great writing style, and I’ll read more from her.

  • Mountain Grove , MO

    Following TSOA, Miller’s beautiful command of language & strong characterization is still alive & well. Beyond a strong follow up, MM’s new retelling of The Odyssey is a book you want for your shelf.

  • Bridgman, MI

    As a fan of mythology, I thoroughly loved this book. It’s not a quick read — it took me twice as long to read this as a book this size normally does. But this deeply satisfying story is well worth it.

  • Osceola, IN

    I LOVE this book! I do have to admit that when I first started reading I almost gave up. It took me a half a chapter to really get into it but I’m SOOO glad I kept going!! As it’s one of my new favs!!

  • Corona, CA

    This is my favorite book that I’ve recieved from BOTM! The story is captivating and I devoured it! The fantasy and history mixed with mythology was amazing! Can’t wait to see if there will be a movie!

  • Chicago, IL

    The story of Circe kept me captivated from start to finish. It’s a story of finding yourself, love & strength, loss, empowerment, & redemption. Miller’s storytelling was incredible. Read this book!!!!

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