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Circe by Madeline Miller

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Don't be hesitant to read this book if you don't know much about Greek mythology. Circe is not just a novel that hinges on the myths of Greek mythology, it is a beautifully written coming of age story. The reader sees Circe grow from an unwanted baby, to a compassionate young adult, to a (rightfully) spiteful witch of Aeaea, until she finally finds her rightful place in the world. Readers can identify with Circe, which makes this book a captivating read.

When we first meet Circe, she is a nymph born of the god Helios and the nymph Persee. At first glance, her mother decides Circe is not worth her time, and her father decides the same. She spends most of her early life in despair as she cannot find love from her parents or any of her siblings. That is, until Aeetes, her youngest brother, is born. They spend every moment together until Aeetes goes away to be king of his own land. Once again, she is alone.

However, her story doesn't become too overwhelmingly sad because eventually she does find her place in the world. She (for reasons not explained in this review) is banished to an island, and there, isolation strengthens her instead of being her weakness. She becomes known as the witch of the island Aeaea. She spends her time perfecting her witchcraft in solitude.

That is, until she gets some unexpected visitors. At this point, it needs to be said that there is a graphic description of rape in the novel. For this reason, a younger audience should not be reading this novel.

Eventually, Circe finds love and finds her place in life. Not only does she find her place, but she is able to stand up to those who had treated her wrongly in the past.

Overall, the greatest part of this novel was that Circe is such a rounded character. She starts as a meek individual, constantly berated by her family but then finds her strength even through the tough times she faces.

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