Circe

Cover of book Circe
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Categories: Fiction » Fantasy

I love mythology and Greek mythology was my first love thanks to Percy Jackson. I couldn't help comparing Madeline Miller's enterprise of modernising greek mythology to Rick Riordan's.

Unlike Percy

...

Jackson, Circe is not 'modernised' in terms of place, time and characters. It would be more accurate to say that she 'fleshes out' the content. The Odyssey like most ancient epics (and some movies) is very fast-paced, jam-packed with action after action, event after event. Therefore, the motivations and contemplation behind various decisions made by the characters are omitted, leaving the readers with many unanswered questions. Madeline Miller picks on these instances, string them to together and fill them up.

She provides answers that make sense. The biggest issue is the greek deities. They are often wild and unpredictable but they were revered despite their harshness. Madeline Miller emphasizes the bad side of the gods, portraying them as cunning, scheming and power-hungry, the entire opposite of the Odyssey, through the eyes of Circe. She also, interestingly, lays bare the sexism rampant in the Odyssey. She provides sympathetic reasons for the women often portrayed as evil. Circe was definitely depicted negatively in Percy Jackson. She also didn't oversimplify the male characters into hedonistic, vainglorious beasts.

The reason for a mediocre rating is because I couldn't help feeling the novel could have been more. The contemplation of immortality is great but it does not provide much that is new. it is the same rhetoric: lives of the mortals burn short but bright. I find the negative depiction of the gods reasonable but it is again the same as what was done in Percy Jackson. In fact Rick Riordon did a better job in giving the passing deities character and depth even though he painted them negatively rather often as well. Similarly, the topic of monster creation is dealt well but I couldn't help feeling it lacking in development. Perhaps it is because this book is a fast-paced book.

I would certainly recommend anyone interested in greek mythology to pick this up, particularly one that is more entertaining than the classics themselves. Percy Jackson provides the hero side of the story but Circe provides the Titan/Witch side of the story. This novel, however, lack thrills since a titan can't really be hurt that physically without being able to recover from it.

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User Reviews:

Guest 4 months ago

This book was a lovely journey. The loneliness and growth of a young girl to a woman was so touching and I'm glad it was recommended to me.

Guest 5 months ago

I really really liked this.

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