Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller 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 page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

Review:
I was so excited when I saw this book — I absolutely love Greek mythology, the Odyssey is one of my favourite books of all time, and I was fascinated to read about Circe, who has only been presented as a minor character in Greek myth.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Miller did an amazing job of bringing this goddess to life, to telling her story in an empowering way, and even to staying true to the myths. I love taking a character from myth or history and presenting them with a backstory and motivations and seeing where that all leads.
The book has the richness and history of someone who understands Greek myth–the story is peppered with details that add to this authenticity and enhance its scope. There are some lovely descriptions and writing.
But, most of all, there is Circe, the witch from the Odyssey who turns men into swine. We get to understand how she got there, her childhood and history, her point of view of events. We get to see this amazing woman grow and become formidable, all entwined with Classical Greek themes of gods and mortals, fate and choices, and being a hero versus living a long, quiet life.
If you love Greek myth or strong heroines, I highly recommend this book.
Note: I received a copy of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: Coyote Blue

Coyote Blue

From Christopher Moore, author of Fluke, comes a quirky, irreverent novel of love, myth, metaphysics, outlaw biking, angst, and outrageous redemption.

As a boy growing up in Montana, he was Samson Hunts Alone — until a deadly misunderstanding with the law forced him to flee the Crow reservation at age fifteen. Today he is Samuel Hunter, a successful Santa Barbara insurance salesman with a Mercedes, a condo, and a hollow, invented life. Then one day, shortly after his thirty-fifth birthday, destiny offers him the dangerous gift of love — in the exquisite form of Calliope Kincaid — and a curse in the unheralded appearance of an ancient Indian god by the name of Coyote. Coyote, the trickster, has arrived to transform tranquillity into chaos, to reawaken the mystical storyteller within Sam … and to seriously screw up his existence in the process.

Review:

I love Christopher Moore’s sense of humour and Coyote Blue doesn’t disappoint. The other thing I love about Moore is that he does his research, which he certainly does in this novel. The story is about a man from the Crow nation and the details of the culture and stories feel authentic and respectful.

Coyote Blue follows the life of Sam, going back and forth from his time as an adolescent on the Crow reserve to his life in Santa Barbara as a successful insurance salesman, until the trickster god, Coyote, decides to wreck havoc through his life.

Moore takes us on a journey to imagine how the ancient gods exist in the modern world. Sam is a character we can sympathize with, just trying to live his life the best way he knows how under strange and, at times, terrible circumstances. Coyote is fabulous, an absolutely outrageous character with no moral qualms about anything.

And, like any good story, it is strewn with “truths.” Probably my favourite line in the book is when Sam is contemplating all of the upheaval in his life: “His life was back to normal, and normal wasn’t good enough anymore. He wanted real.”

Coyote Blue made me laugh, made me think, and kept me up late reading so I could see how it all ended.

 

 

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Free Prophecy Colouring Pages

I was playing around on my computer and figured out how to make the cover of my book, Prophecy, into a colouring page. In fact, several colouring pages. Here they are, so feel free to download. The reason that there are several is because of Antigone’s hair — in most of my attempts to make a colouring page, her hair just turns into a big white area. So I had an idea. I ran the cover through several different filters on a free app called Dreamscope (completely addictive, by the way), until I found some likely results. Then I took that image and ran it through another free program called Rapid Resizer that has a Free Picture Stencil Maker. This is what I came up with!

 

And, just for fun, I found a few images related to my book and made those into colouring pages too.

Here is King Oedipus contemplating the Sphinx’s riddle:

Here is Antigone and her sister, Ismene:

And here is Antigone with her father, Oedipus:

If anyone else tries this, I’d love to see the results, along with any completed colouring projects.

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Summer Newsletter & Sale

Hello Everyone,

I know it’s been a little while, but the end of the school year caught up with me. I was also getting ready to sell my book and some felting I’ve been working on at our local Art in the Park — an annual event here in Kamloops on Canada Day. It was super fun. Here’s a picture from my booth.

Working on Betrayed

As much as I love Antigone, I am finding that I need a break from her, so I am going to spend the next little while working on another novel I have in the works called Betrayed (working title). This one is most definitely aimed at adults and is about Clytemnestra, who is the sister of Helen of Troy and was married to Agamemnon (the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War). She’s an interesting character who is villianized in most of ancient literature because she took a consort while her husband was away at the Trojan War, then killed him upon his return. But, she does have her reasons… Her story has a lot of fantastic avenues to explore. Read more

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