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I'm a college student. Manga, Light Novels, etc.

Circe Review

Circe - Madeline Miller, Perdita Weeks

DNF: 26%


I'm not fond of writing negative reviews, but I'm sorry to say that this story didn't sweep me off my feet.

Before I started the audiobook, I read the synopsis and bits of the positive reviews. I thought that this story was for me because the story sounded so exciting. I was going to experience a thrilling adventure filled with high stakes and larger than life characters similar to the epics from yesteryears.

Instead of an adventure, what I've got was some boring high school teen drama in Ancient Greece. The main character, Circe is an outcast in the Ancient Greek pantheon due to not inheriting some god-like physical looks. She explains how the other gods and other members make fun of her appearance and voice like calling her a "freak." I find that reason not making any sense because there are other gods and creatures with unusual features. All of the name-calling and such makes sense if it takes place in an American high school. However, this story takes place in Ancient Greece. I wanted to listen to a story that made me feel like I'm in Ancient Greece, not skimming over an entry from a teenager's diary. The story's pacing was slow, and it didn't grab my attention most of the times I listened. No matter how I tried to engage myself with the story, my mind wanders off somewhere else.

As a woman, I don't understand how this book is female empowering. The main character, Circe, doesn't have a lot of agency and personality. For example, when Helios punishes Circe, she doesn't stand up to him or do anything to fight back. Instead, Circe begs him to stop hurting her and pleads for his forgiveness. The other female characters besides Circe were treated just as bad or worse. Circe has no positive relationships with the other goddesses and nymphs. Her relationships with them are always antagonistic. She sees the other female characters as vain, gossipy, and heartless among other names. The reason for Circe's banishment was that she turned her rival into a monster. The reason was Circe wasn't happy when her rival got together with her crush. Hearing how Circe talks about the other women made me wince due to the whole "not like other girls" vibe.

I liked the narrator's voice and the poetic feel of the writing. Those two were the reason I kept on listening until I chose to drop this audiobook. I have The Song of Achilles which is by the same author. I'm going to try reading that book during Spring Break if I have the time. I hope I enjoy that one.


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