Book Review


Isabel Andjell, Staff Writer

“That is what exile meant: no one was coming, no one ever would.”

Madeline Miller is the mastermind behind the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Circe. Miller’s novel is a modern adaptation as well as a combination of different Ancient Greek myths like The Odyssey. In the novel, she turns a mortal fisherman into a god. She also turns a relative nymph, Scylla, into the horrifying sea monster that she later becomes in The Odyssey. Zeus exiles the goddess to Aiaia, a small island off the coast of Greece. He’s afraid of the sorceress-like powers she has yet to discover.

Since she’s immortal, she is condemned to an endless habitation of the island. Circe must learn how to live on her own without all the servants and constant reminders of her godliness. Thankfully, she is able to temporarily escape the island on a trip to Crete, of where her sister Pasiphae is queen. There, she meets Daedalus, who she instantly bonds with, and he becomes one of the four romantic interests that will have crucial roles in her character development. Another one of her romantic interests is the great Odysseus. He leads Circe to confront her immortality and make distinctions between the ways of gods and humans.

That is what exile meant: no one was coming, no one ever would.

I loved the poetic way in which Miller wrote this story. She writes all the characters with such depth and understanding. You begin to feel like you truly know them in real life. She doesn’t do this in a way that is predictable though. The characters constantly surprise the reader with their alternating behaviors. She utilizes words in a profoundly memorable way. Miller describes landscapes and people with details that help the reader create a sort of movie in their head.