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Circe by Madeline Miller

I heard so many positive reviews of Circe in email newsletters, from co-workers, and from customers that this one made my reading list before it was published. Then with a stroke of luck I received an advanced listening copy from Libro.fm. Madeline Miller retells the life of the nymph Circe, the outcast child of the god of the sun and the mightiest of Titans, Helios. She moves through the various events of her life from her time as a naive child-- lacking both her father's power and her mother's allure, in love with a mortal and helping Prometheus through to her centuries in exile. Alone and unsure of her worth, Circe turns to the mortal world and discovers that she has the power of witchcraft, and that it was strong enough to transform her enemies into monsters.

I loved the character development of Circe. You get this strong understanding of her as a young girl all through her adulthood. With every experience and adventure she encounters the reader sees the natural, authentic growth spurts in her personality. You can see exactly where all of her wisdom comes from and can feel all of the heartbreak and love and strength, regardless of her low status amongst the gods. I loved the section where Circe first does what she believes to be right rather than what the others tell her to do. She feeds Prometheus nectar and comforts him even though he was being publicly punished for eternity for helping humans. It's such an unusual slice of life type scene tucked in between the major plot points that are more familiar. It gives the story added depth and breathes life into the characters.

Circe is an inspiring character full of spunk, wisdom, and completely comfortable with herself. The way she sees herself is a goal to strive for. Her story is so well written and doesn't feel like a retelling at all. It feels original. Anyone interested in mythology or even historical fiction, people who are looking for a self-esteem boost and/or for the inspiration to own their quirks, and book club members will love this book, especially if they are a fan of classic myths like The Odyssey, The Illiad, or Beowulf.

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