So I’m here blogging on a Sunday afternoon because I am ever a second-choice. Saint’s blood in these fucking veins and to **some** people I come after video games and beer. In a fit of impotent rage I sucked back two vodka coolers and also a shot of vodka (#russian), which means… Less Than Sober Blogging !
So fuck everyone and everything, let’s review a motherfucking book ya? And what a fitting book it is, about witches and the men who fail them: Circe by Madeline Miller.
Meh. I dunno, I don’t like the face. It’s too cartoonish for a book by the same author who ripped my heart out over and over again in The Song of Achilles. I strongly prefer the British cover, which you can see here. Also I know I’m waaaaasted but does she kinda look like Barbie to you? Cartoon Barbie. There was a cartoon, right? I didn’t just imagine that. They were in Malibu. There were leg-warmers. It was the 90s, leg-warmers were very in.
The Summary Heist:
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.
Okie dokie so maybe this is not the best book to review while slightly tipsy.
It’s complicated, gonna have to turn on the old brain box.
NUMBER ONE have you read The Iliad? NUMBER TWO have you read The Odyssey (ugh). NUMBER THREE have you read The Song of Achilles? If you answered yes to the first two questions, whoop-dee fucken doo, good for you, you fucking nerd, proceed, collect $200 as you pass go, don’t trip over your own inflated ego (KIDDING I’M DRUNK REMEMBER). If you answered no to the third question though, what the actual fuck is wrong with you, sort yourself out, mate, in the words of the meme:
Really you don’t need to know shit about anything to read this, Miller provides enough context to get you through the story, because she is an ace fucking writer who knows her shit goddammit and she is PRECIOUS. But real talk you will miss all the little jokes and cleverness if you don’t have at least a glancing familiarity with Greek mythology in general and the tales of the Trojan War in particular. It would be like watching Teen Mom without having seen 16 and Pregnant ya know?
Real talk it’s a good book. It’s not, like, rip-out-my-still-beating-heart-from-my-chest good, like Miller’s debut, The Song of Achilles (please read it you will not regret it). Like her previous book, Miller does a great job of retelling a classic myth, adding just enough to make it fresh without turning it into a “re-imagining.” The story is… leisurely. I won’t call it slow, because this isn’t about action. This is a purely character-driven novel. And speaking of characters, as you can imagine, Circe gets the most attention. The story is told from her point of view, and it’s a satisfyingly feminist vindication for a woman villainized by Homer. We get a fully-rounded, complex, interesting woman, the first witch according to this story, with hopes and fears and anger and desire, separate from crafty Odysseus and his story. Of course, the two cross paths eventually, and we get a nice realistic image of the King of Ithaca.
I didn’t like the swiftness or the manner of the finale, truthfully – I think it was a bit of a narrative laziness, but hey, what the fuck do I know, I’m drunk-blogging on a Sunday afternoon with a grumpy old cat at my side and maudlin Drake songs blaring from my dollar-store speakers.
Read it. It will make you learn shit while it entertains you and who the fuck are you to turn your nose up at a two-for-one deal like that, richie? And then read The Song of Achilles and prepare to WEEP as you have never wept before.
Miller’s good with the words, man.
“He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.”
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
“The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”
TOO DRUNK TO GOOGLE SORRY NOT SORRY.
Book Boyfriend material:
The Minotaur cuz I bet he wouldn’t pick beer and video games over a human woman eh. EH.
At least he’s got abs.
7 out of 10 stupid idiot hard-headed know-it-all men who think they’re so fucking clever, just fucking off outta Troy without leaving a sacrifice for Athena thinking that’s not gonna come back to bite them in the fucking ass *cough* ten more fucking years traversing the fucking seas, and then oh, they are LUCKY enough to land a NICE WITCH who ACTUALLY CARES about them but noooooooooooooooo–
ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT:
I don’t even know, you know?
– xoxo, R