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Circe by Madeline Miller


Book of the year

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

by Madeline Miller

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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_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build


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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Circe.


When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.

My mother was one of them, a naiad, guardian of fountains and streams. She caught my father’s eye when he came to visit the halls of her own father, Oceanos. Helios and Oceanos were often at each other’s tables in those days. They were cousins, and equal in age, though they did not look it. My father glowed bright as just-forged bronze, while Oceanos had been born with rheumy eyes and a white beard to his lap. Yet they were both Titans, and preferred each other’s company to those new-squeaking gods upon Olympus who had not seen the making of the world.

Oceanos’ palace was a great wonder, set deep in the earth’s rock. Its high-arched halls were gilded, the stone floors smoothed by centuries of divine feet. Through every room ran the faint sound of Oceanos’ river, source of the world’s fresh waters, so dark you could not tell where it ended and the rock-bed began. On its banks grew grass and soft gray flowers, and also the unnumbered children of Oceanos, naiads and nymphs and river-gods. Otter-sleek, laughing, their faces bright against the dusky air, they passed golden goblets among themselves and wrestled, playing games of love. In their midst, outshining all that lily beauty, sat my mother.

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Why I love it

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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Member ratings (40,525)

  • Teresa L.

    Lake Elsinore, 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! ⁣

  • Kaeli H.

    West Springfield, 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

  • Jacky G.

    Baytown, TX

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 I absolutely enjoyed reading every bit of the book. Great writing and followed by a great story. This is actually my first book by Madeline Miller and she definitely did not disappoint.

  • Leah S.

    Califon, NJ

    I can’t find the right words to describe this book, but when trying to decide between liking it and loving it- I realize the warm and ethereal feeling I have is enough to love it. Slow burn. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Alistine C.

    Huntington Beach, CA

    I don’t have many ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reads but oh my gosh this is one of them. THE HYPE IS REAL, PEOPLE!! If you haven’t gotten this book, or maybe you have it and just haven’t read it yet, READ IT!

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