Just in case you’re as blind as I was, Circe is one name of the long strings of Greek Gods and Goddesses.
And Circe is an eponymous novel of zero to hero journey of the Goddess of Aiaia.
Circe is born a lesser God. An immortal with a Goddess’ gait and appearance, but has no power to flaunt. In Oceanos’ Hall, she’s the pushover everybody laughs at. Corners and her dad’s feet are her only places to sit. Lonely and bitter, that’s how she’s living her life, until she isn’t. One day, she meets her first infatuation which leads her to a discovery of her true power. Turning anything into anything she wishes. A mortal into a God as well as a Goddess into a monster. Even the Olympians are terrified of her nascent self. A Pharmakeia, they call it, a witch. On the same day she finally understands the name of herself, Circe is sent to an exile. As a punishment for her exhibiting her treacherous force without permission, but also as a confinement of the terrifying unknown. But instead, there, in the island of Aiaia, the true tale of Circe begins.
Believe it or not, this is my first time, ever, of reading Greek Gods, so I’ve really got nothing to compare this with. Circe was great. Every turning point was enjoyable, and it might not be the most packed with action narrative, but every conflict was equally stimulating.
If I got this right, there’s a widely circulating myth of Circe, the Goddess. But as we all know, legends tend to be oversimplified, and have cracks full of questions. So, the author filled those crevices in with sensible plot to smooth out the surface. To make the story more humanly reasonable. The character Circe is written as flawed personality with distaste and insecurities. An eternal that doesn’t need to count death as an end, who has all time to shape her life in whichever direction. Yet to her, immortality only means that she’s trapped with the emptiness for infinity on end.
Her whole life, Circe is looking for love. Longing to fill up her wretched life. She could never find it in Gods’ Hall, for Gods are full of ego and vain creatures. The only thing they care for is themselves, they’re conceited beings that demand to be worshiped by the lesser beings. It’s really no community to get a warm welcome. Circe then turns her glance the other way, at the mortal humans. The struggling, weak living things that constantly try to give meaning to their short existence. Void of the God’s hubris, Circe finds humans stories amuse her, and sometimes she even has moments of envy of their honest excitement towards life. Circe has certainly grown a soft spot for them, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a point where they disappoint her. Many of them have attempted to lie, and among the worst have even tried to cast their lust on her. Even so, a handful others have brought the scarce colors to her vapid days. And it’s indeed rare, but a couple of them bestow beautiful memories for her to forever hold.
The way the novel romanticizes a Goddess’ life is, I promise you, mesmerizing. Everything has two sides to it. Gods are almighty and perpetual. So it’s only natural that they’re also narcissistic. Yet Lady Circe is a different sort of deity. She has what everyone other God doesn’t, which is compassion. And even though her kindness sometimes sends her to maladies instead, it’s TRULY heart-warming to see her completely incapable of turning into a more stereotypical divine. It’s her selflessness, patience, and humility that put her story in a standalone pedestal.
Plot is meandering and smooth, pace is streaming stably, and there are more than enough characters to root for. Reading about the Lady jumping from one love to another only made me sympathize harder and harder with her. She never gave up no matter how cruel her life was towards her, never complained, persistent. Not having any hope for the future yet couldn’t give up hoping either.
Final say. Circe is exactly the kind of story that will stick in your mind for so long after.