“Some things are worth spilling blood for.”
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌏🌍🌏🌍🌎
Character development: 🤭😮
Circe is the daughter of the Titan Helios, the sun god who rides a golden chariot across the sky each day and an ocean nymph named Perse. She was a god but had no powers, nor great beauty. She was ignored by her mother and teased mercilessly by her siblings Perses and Paciphae. It wasn’t until her brother Aeetes came that she had someone to spend time with, though he grew fast, was the favorite of their father, and left Circe to go to a kingdom of his own that their father gave them.
Circe meets Prometheus at the time he is getting his punishment for giving mankind the gift of fire. In him, she sees another god who is different than the rest and who questions things like she does. She spends time at a beach where she and Aeetes used to frequent, and there she meets her first human, a young fisherman named Gloucus. She wishes he was a god so he would not die and tries to make him so, only to become jealous when he wants to marry the nymph Scylla.
“I had begun to know what fear was. What could make a god afraid? I knew that answer too. A power greater than their own.”
I love greek mythology and this book was all that and so much more. I listened to it in audiobook format and it was a terrific listen. Narration was done by Perdita Weeks who has a soft voice with a light British accent which worked perfectly for the Character of Circe and between her soft lilting voice and the lyrical storyline, it worked exceptionally well as an audiobook.
I never knew much about the story of Circe, just the part she played in the story of Odysseus on his journey in the Odyssey. In that we don’t see her as an individual with feelings or even how and why she is who she is and where she is. This story tells how she is banished to her island alone and how she learns and becomes such a powerful figure.
She initially learns sorcery and pharmacology because she is a nymph alone in a world where men can and have done horrible things to unsuspecting nymphs who were not strong enough to fight back. So she plays around with plants and potions via trial and error, learning more with each success and failure.
I loved how many stories of myth and legend were woven into the story of Circe, like the story of Scylla (the rock and the hard place), the minotaur and the labyrinth, Jason and the golden fleece, the Odyssey and I even had tears in my eyes when Icarus flew too close to the sun and Daedelus was left to grieve his beloved son.
“The truth is, men make terrible pigs.”
I loved the story of Circe and it is a five star read in my opinion, especially because I love the myths intertwined into this story. However, when compared to the Song of Achilles, I think that book was the better of the two. I couldn’t get enough of the love story in that that book, and while Circe does have more than one love in her life and they had some of the same yearning and tragedy as the story of Achilles, I was more invested in the love between Patroclus and Achilles.