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Publisher's Summary

The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times best seller The Song of Achilles 

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018

"An epic spanning thousands of years that's also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner." (Ann Patchett)

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. 

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur; Daedalus and his doomed son, Icarus; the murderous Medea; and, of course, wily Odysseus. 

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from or the mortals she has come to love. 

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and pause-resisting suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, and love and loss as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Madeline Miller (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"With sumptuous writing and descriptive imagery you'll see these gods and men and every being in between as you've never imagined them before." (Esquire)

"Madeline Miller, master storyteller, conjures Circe glowing and alive - and makes the Gods, nymphs and heroes of ancient Greece walk forth in all their armored splendor. Richly detailed and written with such breathtaking command of story, you will be held enchanted. A breathtaking novel." (Helen Simonson, author of The Summer Before the War and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)

"With lyric beauty of language and melancholy evocative of Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Circe asks all the big questions of existence while framing them in the life story of the famous goddess who had the magic of transformations. A veritable Who's Who of the gods of Olympus and the heroes of ancient Greece, Circe knows them all and we see them through her perceptive eyes. This is as close as you will ever come to entering the world of mythology as a participant. Stunning, touching, and unique." (Margaret George, author of The Confessions of Young Nero)

"Author Madeline Miller and narrator Perdita Weeks transform the ancient Greek drama of Circe, witch of Aeaea and daughter of Helios, into a fresh and vibrant tale for contemporary listeners.... Weeks's cool British intonations and attuned performance capture Circe's evolution from youthful uncertainty amid scorn from richly characterized fellow deities to a confidence earned from centuries of island exile. Her first-person perspective creates intimacy as she engages fabled figures, such as Odysseus and Athena, and grapples with the pleasures and dangers of everyday life." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Circe

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Fascinating story, expertly read

It's all in the headline - a fascinating story and expertly read. From the moment I started, I couldn't stop listening! Captivating.

11 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

This story is so good. As is the narration. I loved it and was sad when it was over. I am hope more from both the Author and Narrator soon! Circe is a great story of magic, wonder, love, greed, finding yourself and the question of what life is all about. It's set a new interest in me about Greek mythology. #Audible1

8 people found this helpful

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Awesome modern take on a classical story.

As a fan of the Odyssey I loved this book, but think people who aren't into Greek classics would like it too. In the old story Circe is a beautiful which who turns men into pigs.

Miller's Circe is a wonderfully human goddess; vulnerable and cunning who struggles with her own destiny in the high stakes world of Greek gods and goddesses. The book wonderfully captures the fancies and tantrums of immortal gods that make the old Greek originals so interesting. But it shows also Circe as an ignored sister, caring mother and disobedient daughter that any modern reader could identify with, feel for and admire.

Perdita Weeks is an amazing narrator; easy to listen to and so expressive. Too bad there aren't more books featuring her.

5 people found this helpful

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This book is soul quenching

Honestly I have no words for how amaIng this book was. And the narrator was just perfect. after i finished it i spent the subsequent month being completely obsessed and immersed still. I have come across very few books that can do that do me. Highly highly recommend, especially if you like greek mythology

4 people found this helpful

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Re-writing Mythology

A fascinating tale of titans, gods and heroes; of magic, betrayal and danger.

Much of the story re-imagines many classic Greek myths that you might be familiar with, spinning the tale in novel ways and tying together many myths that might have once not been cannonical (so far as I recall, anyhow; but I don't claim to be well versed in Greek mythology).

Perdita Weeks does a fantastic job at breathing life into the voices she presents, and makes the story an absolute joy to listen to. Madeline Miller has a strong sense of character development that makes each character feel multifaceted and alive.

My only complaints are that Miller seems to be fairly limited in her use of similies/metaphores, as certain phrases get recycled a few times. This may have been done to keep in character of the protagonist or the period, but it does get a little trying sometimes. As well, occasionally Weeks has to really drop her voice down low to imitate a man-voice: something that I find to be a nuisance in general (it also bothers me when men try to falsetto a woman-voice in different stories). Again, I understand why this is done, but it's still something I'm not terribly fond of.

Powerful story, strong drama, very well performed. Not a story for everyone, but a great listen all the same.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Madeline Miller managed to breath fresh life into a story I already knew. The narrator was perfect for this book and so I give this five stars all the way.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible Story

I could barely put this down. A fantastic retelling of myths rarely told from a woman's point of view. A fantastic performance in addition to everything else.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely beautifully written!

I did not want this book to end. First off, the story was amazing. Second, the narration by Perdita Weeks was mesmerizing. She has the most lovely voice. I honestly can't think of one negative about this book. It's definitely moved into one of my favorites. Absolutely loved it!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ash
  • 2021-10-18

Captivating

Beautiful and captivating, you are pulled into the world of the gods. Here we are immersed in the life of Circe, her fear, her bravery, her coming of age. Madeline Miller captures the essence of Greek myths and creates an intricate weaving of an ancient story with an all new perspective. This story holds a depth that cause us all to consider our own mortality and what we want out of life. Must read!

1 person found this helpful

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A classic that should be listened to

I admit when I first started audible I had my doubts, and not all audibles are created equal. Depending on the quality, the narrator and the story some books don't lend themselves as well, but this is not the case here. Circe, in my opinion, should be listened to, rather than read.

The book itself feels like a Homeric poem. It flows like milk and honey and the words are weaved together in a way that truly captures the essence of ancient Greece and the Gods that shaped it.

Written in Circe's voice, the narrator imbues the Goddess' strength, power, and vulnerability. I feel the narrator elevates an already exceptional novel. To read it is to discover a foreign world, but to listen to it makes us live it. I highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael - Audible Editor
  • 2018-04-11

Refined writing with an intimate performance

I don't know why this book had such a profound effect on me, but it was unlike anything else I've listened to so far. I don't consider myself a mythology nerd, but looking at books I've listened to in the past (Norse Mythology, Fifteen Dogs), I probably am. It wasn't really the mythology that grabbed me though, but way more so the intimate experience of living inside of Circe's mind for 12 hours.

You can tell that Madeline Miller took great care to really dive into and visualize Circe's experience. It's so real!

The self-doubt, the grappling with her identity, her punishment, her privileges, and her mistakes. Circe as a character is so dynamic, and Miller polishes each thought, each minute detail, like a diamond. The dynamic perspective also adds so much to the familiar stories and fables of greek gods and heroes that we see them all in a totally new way.

Odysseus is especially more human than ever. His skill in trickery and leadership turns into something new entirely, and his heroism (and so the very concept of heroism) is illustrated remarkably well.

Yeah maybe I am a little too into mythology, but if anything this book made me realize it more than ever.

Lastly, this audiobook debuts a brilliant new talent to audible. Perdita Weeks. Omg. She is amazing and can do anything. The way she fluctuates between male and female voices is one thing. I didn't even notice it was her at first, narrating the men.

But the raw emotion she pours into Circe's internal struggle nails the point of this story on the head. She turns what is essentially a lonely monologue into a three-dimensional experience.

In the end you have two people Madeline Miller and Perdita Weeks, who wholly and honestly assumed the role and mind of Circe, and lived it for the duration of this story.

I could keep writing about this forever so I'm just gonna end it here, because you probably get the point.

609 people found this helpful

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  • Jim N
  • 2018-04-18

Magnificent!

This is the best book I've listened to in ages. Beautifully written from start to finish, Madeline Miller's novel breathes new life into old mythology. Through Circe's eyes, we perceive the strange and callous cruelty of the gods (and of men), the fleeting lives of mortals, love, loss, and the strange and wondrous magnificence of the world. There are heroes and monsters, adventure and witchcraft. The book is breathtaking in it's scope yet immensely personal and moving as well. It's a truly impressive achievement and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Perdita Weeks' narration is top notch.

248 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 2018-04-13

Filled With Grace, Action, Humor--Unforgettable

To say that Circe proves Madeline Miller to be an excellent writer, capable of capturing setting, time, characters, and essence, is an absolute understatement. I haven't been so entranced by a book since City of Thieves.
Though they are entirely different forms of work, both books have unforgettable characters, and Miller's writing places you, the reader, right in the midst of gorgeous places, living with the larger than life, whether gods or mortals.
Here you'll find Circe, someone who was shaped by an early act of grace given to Prometheus, living amongst the likes of Daedalus and Icarus, Jason and Medea, Odysseus and Penelope. Then too, she butts heads with Hermes and Athena, with Helios himself. She moves among them all.
She is moved by terrible violation and the tenderest of pity. She grows into a woman of strength and independence, and finds that, through generation after generation of life, there's a difference between immortality and actual living. It's a beautiful tale, elegantly written, with act after act of the unbelievable, the unforgettable. Truly, this is a story written from the divine for us, mere mortals.
And Perdita Weeks! Though at times I had trouble with the volume, as she goes from quiet thoughts to daring and outspoken declarations, Weeks has wonderful tones, carries dialogue, carries action with grace, ease, and power. What a find she is as a narrator.
I can't vouch for how closely Circe follows mythology; what I found (in Wikipedia, I admit--not from Edith Hamilton), is quite different, but I can say with complete sincerity, that this story as written is truly a find.
A cover-to-cover listen (what is mere sleep, after all? a trip to the underworld?), filled with gods and mortals, lionesses and wolves, swine and nymphs.
Really, quite remarkable.
For other reviews, of all genres, check out Audiobook Accomplice

117 people found this helpful

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  • Linda Likes to Learn
  • 2019-01-22

YE GODS! WHEN WILL IT MAKE AN END?!?

Normally I don't 'follow the crowd' and choose a book because it is 'popular'. I learned long ago that my personal interests and tastes often do not match those of the general reading public. That said, I decided to take a chance on Circe. I thought it might be an INTERESTING retelling of the old myths -- with some elaboration to tweak the old stories to make them more 'gossipy' and less 'history'.

I should have followed my instinct and avoided this book. I actually felt so strongly about my disappointment in the book that - after I had RETURNED it - I went back and RE-PURCHASED it - just so I could review it. I'll return it - again - as soon as I finish the review.

I listened to the first half of the book - never 'attaching' myself to the main character, or any others. Circe seems to make a life of just 'floating through her world'...like flotsum...briefly swayed by interactions with others, but always just going where her personal 'winds of change' blew - never taking meaningful action. I wanted to shout: "For The God's sake - just DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL!!!"

Perhaps all the literary accolades are just that - based on "The Literary Perception" - that elevates well-manipulated words into "Literary Wonders". Evidently I am well-past my college days when 'literary works of art' were understood and lauded - discussed with others - and loudly praised to the uninitiated.

Now, I'm much more satisfied with a book that stirs my emotions, raises the limits of my imagination, amazes or educates me. Sad to say, "Circe" falls far short of even catching my interest.

That said, I will, once again, return it -- and choose something that really earns its 4-star (or higher) rating.

114 people found this helpful

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  • Yvonne den Besten
  • 2019-06-21

Not worth the hype but still good

This is the story of Circe, the daughter of the Sungod, who gets exiled to an island, and comes into her own as a witch and as a woman. I don't know, everyone says this book is so feminist, and I guess I just don't see it. I thought Circe's character was dull to be honest. And the only parts of the book that were actually interesting to me, were the parts where she interacted with others. But as she is exiled pretty early on in the book, to an island which she can't leave, those parts weren't prevalent in the story. I liked almost all the other charcters better, and that was hard going for me, since this story was told from Circe's perspective. Another problem I had was the span of this tale, which literally spun thousands of years, and almost all the action was brought to you in a very peripheral way. It picked up by the ending, though which was excellent! If only Circe had stood/ spoken up for herself sooner, I would have liked this tale a whole lot more.
All of that asisde, I think the writing is beautiful and it reads like a fairy tale that keeps you interested all the way. You don't have to know anything about Greek Mythology to enjoy this. My own knowlegde was limited at best - I didn't even know who Circe was, at the start - and everything is explained very well, and in a manner that's very organic.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes stories with a large scope,with beautiful proze and a female character coming of age, and finding out where her value lies. I think that the whole discussion on immortality was very interesting and well-done, too

I thought the narration was excellent. Her voices really takes you everywhere, and almost had a lulling quality, quite magical. I thought it was really well-suited to Circe

80 people found this helpful

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  • craftybeli
  • 2018-04-23

Wow, Wow, Wow - Exceptional

If you could sum up Circe in three words, what would they be?

Circe is Spellbinding

What other book might you compare Circe to and why?

This book is nothing like I've read before. It's almost like magic was used in each word, casting strong emotions. The story can be an analogy to our trials and tribulations. Even after reading it I keep thinking back of the poetic tone Miller used to unravel the stories, it conjures to reflect on the similarities within it with our human experiences. One of the strongest emotions is realizing children are not our own but their own and they would find their way in this world not matter how strong the will is to protect them. Circe will be one of those books that will be forever in me. Perhaps one such book causing a similar magical effect is - Don Quijote.

Bravo Madeline Miller!

What about Perdita Weeks’s performance did you like?

Perdita Weeks' performance was outstanding, drawing Circe's personality out as she matured. Not only did she make Circe a compelling character but all the others as well.

Who was the most memorable character of Circe and why?

The strongest character by far is Circe, she is powerful, always strong willed and aiming to do what is ultimately right against all odds. She is brave, facing those who had wronged her, murky waters, and deadly situations. Circe is a heroine.

Any additional comments?

Additionally, Madeline took such great care on making Circe a classy read. Loved, loved, loved, how it did not have explicit sexual innuendo and anything remotely close to a sexual encounter was kept to the readers imagination. This is the first audible I purchase the companion audible edition for and will also buy the hard copy because I want to go back and re-read it. So many insights in it, so many teachings.

76 people found this helpful

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  • TravelMommy
  • 2018-04-26

Gorgeous and haunting

I will listen to every story this narrator is willing to tell. It’s as if she and the author are one. The tale of Circe as imagined from her perspective is so full, so - I’m at a loss for an adjective big enough to describe - but it’s lodged in my body, the emotions and insight and observations, the mythical and the mortal. I will listen again just to get lost in it. One of my favorite audiobook experiences ever.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Kate
  • 2019-04-07

Slow start, but a fun listen overall.

I wished Circe would stop whining for the first 3 chapters. It got immensely better after all that self loathing was over.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Alicia Long
  • 2019-03-16

Left a lot to be desired.

It took me forever to finish this book and sometimes it felt more like a chore to carry on. To me this wasn't really a story and more of a memoir or timeline narration. I just found this to be a very, very boring book.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Wini Harrison
  • 2018-04-12

Till human voices wake us...

Any additional comments?

"Circe" has all my favorite elements: mythology, magic and a strong female pov with an authentic human voice. The narrator's performance, precise, lyrical yet understated, lured me into the depths of the story.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Cheerioh
  • 2019-03-06

Très jolie interprétation du mythe de Circé

Ce récit centré autour du personnage de Circé nous offre une réécriture du mythe mais nous fait aussi passer par de très nombreux épisodes des mythes antiques dont j'étais passionnée à l'adolescence. Mais nul besoin de les connaître pour en profiter et au pire il y a un pdf des personnages fourni. On rencontre non seulement Circé mais Ulysse (Odysseus sur la version anglaise), Hermès, Zeus, Prométhéus et encore une palanquée d'autres.

N'mporte quelle femme saine d'esprit bondira à chaque insulte qui est faite à ce personnage du fait de son sexe, c'est insupportable mais bon ces histoires datent un peu. Par contre l'auteure prend clairement le parti de son personnage et elle est tellement riche, détaillée, nuancée, franchement c'est vraiment un plaisir.

On découvre vraiment un personnage intéressant toujours dépictée sous une forme négative et cette fois présentée sous un jour plus subtil. Eh bien ça vaut le détour. Peut-être pas au point d'être aussi enthousiaste que comme sur Booktube mais c'était pas mal tout de même et la narratrice américaine était excellente, on avait l'impression d'entendre Circé s'indigner.

2 people found this helpful

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  • A. Wilson
  • 2019-02-06

Sadly the poor editing is jarring

Yes, you really can see the join! It's like the book was recorded in different rooms on different days, and edited together to form a rather disconcerting patchwork, paragraph by paragraph. A great pity because the actual words are intriguing. Ms Weeks is not a very compelling story-teller, exhibiting very little light and shade. She seems like a bit of an amateur, like she's just reading to herself. I was tempted to keep the book for bedtime, however, instead of counting sheep.

Now contemplating buying the print version so I can create my own soundstage.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mae Ferron
  • 2022-04-25

An amazing journey

Wow every aspect of this audiobook is excellent! Narration, writing, sound design…
Ate it up in a day! Seriously excellent. Thank you to all those involved!

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  • Tady Walsh
  • 2022-03-13

A wonderful interpretation

My prior knowledge of the story of Circe was (as I’m sure is the case of many) limited to her portrayal in The Odyssey. She is often maligned, deemed to be evil and ruthless. She is treated as having contempt for men and as a sexual predator, is regularly treated as their downfall.

While some aspects of this history are included in this telling, I much prefer this version as imagined by Miller. As with “The Song of Achilles” there is reason and depth to the understanding of relationships. There is a more profound understanding of the reasons as to why Circe sought to defend herself and she is a much more sympathetic character. In much the way that previous histories of Circe were written by men who instantly blame female defence as capriciousness, who trade understanding women for writing them off as evil or mad, Miller’s tale is more nuanced and gives greater effort to understand the character of Circe and how and why she was maligned.

I truly loved this story and would highly recommend it. Miller’s storytelling is so warm and enjoyable, and the history is spun in a far more believable and acceptable way. I look forward to seeing what subject Miller’s learnedness broaches next.

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  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2020-08-24

Disappointing!

An author’s second novel is unfailingly compared to the first. Clearly, Madeline Miller accepts to face this risk. Her commencement novel deals with the Iliad, more specifically with Achilles’ story. This second novel touches on the Odyssey, with the title character welcoming Odysseus to her island on his way home from Troy.

The framework is the same for both novels, with first person narration and plenty of details that generate vividness, the product no doubt of much diligent research.

Sadly, the approach does not quite work as well in “Circe” as in “Achilles’ Song”:

• In the latter, the narrator is not Achilles himself but Patroclus, what provides a certain distance and leaves some mystery about him; here, Circe herself tells the story and floods the reader with her own thoughts and feelings;
• Mortals’ involvement with deities is seamless in the first novel as they just appear for a scene and then dissolve; here, Circe is herself a deity and she finds it awkward to associate with humans; of course, it is difficult for readers to relate to that; indeed, many may start wondering about the strangeness of the divine world where goddesses have children who grow up to be adults but at one point stop aging; also, since they have been around for thousands of years, why are there not dozens and dozens of generations of gods?
• Most of the novel is set on the island where Circe has been exiled and where, frankly, not all that much goes on, say compared to the Trojan war;
• In the first novel, the author transposes the Iliad’s plot to English prose and to novel form but does not add to it; in the second novel, she daringly, some may say foolhardily, opts to supplement to the Odyssey’s story, choosing and synthesizing from other sources.

Overall, it appears better to abstain from “Circe” and retain one’s excellent opinion of the author’s talent as may be drawn from “Achilles’ Song”.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-03-18

A favourite of mine

A beautiful book that gives life to Greek myths and gods and gives them more depth.

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  • VR
  • 2019-10-13

Great (re) telling of some of the classic myths

Elegant, fluid narration by Perdita Weeks.

Great job from the author, Madeline Miller, in bringing demi-god sorceress Circe back to life, humanizing (pun intended) some of her choices and avoiding following the usual tale of the witch that is portrayed in many book as a capricious and jealous woman, blindedbu her desires. Well done and an interesting take. Really liked it.