Genres: Fantasy, Mythology
Is this one of the best Greek mythology retellings I’ve ever read? Well, I’m not saying it is, but IT DEFINITELY IS.
Circe tells the story of one of the daughters of Helios, a powerful Titan who is god of the sun. All his children are beautiful, with golden skin and perfect faces – but not Circe. She is strange, with a weak voice and yellow eyes, and no god-like powers except for her immortality. Among gods, she is an outcast. Things seem to be bound to be that way for all eternity, until Circe discovers that she does have power – just not one that gods are supposed to have: witchcraft.
I picked up this book with not much expectation, and I only vaguely remembered the story of Circe. I remembered she turned men into animals, although I thought it was guinea pigs, and I couldn’t remember which mortal hero came to her island. I do recommend that you familiarize yourself with her story at least a little before going into this book, otherwise the names of heroes and places and gods can be difficult to keep up with. Luckily, I had a little memory of the Greek myths I read so much about in my childhood.
I loved Circe. She has the heart of a mortal, full of eagerness, emotion and loneliness. The beauty of gods, their vanity and endless pride do not impress her. Divinity is something that sits on her skin strangely, and she sees herself turning towards the world of mortals. She falls in love and, from that love and her own selfishness, she turns to witchcraft. I loved reading about her discovering her powers, and watching her grow. I loved the other characters, the grayness of their personalities, the luminous emptiness of the gods.
If you are a fan of Percy Jackson, but would like to read something oriented more towards adult readers, this is it. It doesn’t have the snarky comments or the one-liners that are typical from Middle Grade, but instead Circe is a book of gorgeous prose and emotions that run like river. After reading this book, I was so immersed in the adventures, feelings and stories that it was strange to look outside and see the world keep turning. I was looking out my window and finding the world lackluster. So, yeah, Circe kind of ruined the real world to me. This book envelops you in its world so subtly but firmly. I might be a little in love with it, can you tell?