Week of April 8-14 Weekly Book Round-Up
New Release this Week: Circe by Madeline Miller
“Miller follows her impressive debut (The Song of Achilles) with a spirited novel about Circe’s evolution from insignificant nymph to formidable witch best known for turning Odysseus’s sailors into swine…. Weaving together Homer’s tale with other sources, Miller crafts a classic story of female empowerment. She paints an uncompromising portrait of a superheroine who learns to wield divine power while coming to understand what it means to be mortal.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“In her stirring follow-up to the Orange Prize–winning The Song of Achilles (2011), Miller beautifully voices the experiences of the legendary sorceress Circe…This immersive blend of literary fiction and mythological fantasy demonstrates that the Greek myths are still very relevant today.” — Booklist
A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch… [Circe is] a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel….Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child….Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells. Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.” — Kirkus, Starred Review
“This beautifully written and absorbing tale of gods and mortals will delight Miller’s many fans and have them reaching for Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.” —Library Journal, Starred Review
“Circe is the utterly captivating, exquisitely written, story of an ordinary, and extraordinary, woman’s life” –Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
“Rapture. Utter rapture. Exquisite, live-wire prose; a wave of a story, surging and ebbing and surging afresh; and above all, Circe herself — once inscrutable, now indelible. Miller has shaken the dust from Homer’s tapestry, blasted it with air and light, and exposed glorious new colors, new textures. A magnificent novel. A privilege to read.” –A.J Finn, bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
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.
In other blogs: Sheila at She’s Going Book Crazy had two insightful posts this week. Check out her Blog in the links below.
As two of my favorite urban fantasy series are wrapping up, I found this top five list of contenders to fill the void.
BookTube: Mercy’s Bookish Musings shares 3 books she’s recently read and loved
Upcoming Reviews at The Paperfruit
I’ll be playing catch up on my reviews between now and the end of April. Here are some reviews to look for in the coming weeks.
Put another quarter in the coin slot folks, because it’s time to talk about Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Topics include bad fan culture, the narrowness of the characters’ “exhaustive” knowledge of 80s popular culture, and why the critical response to this book has shifted so much in just a few short years.
Currently Reading: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Review below from Kirkus Reviews
When a Japanese graduate student’s sister is violently murdered in a small town in rural Japan, he abandons his life and steps into her shoes to come to terms with her death.
Ren Ishida has always admired his sister, Keiko, from afar. He grew up obsessing over her love life despite never having much of his own. He pursued the same major as her at university—a study of British and American literature—with ambitions of becoming a teacher, just like her. But when Keiko is stabbed to death on the street in the small town she calls home, Ren is so guilt-ridden and grief-stricken that he travels to her town under the pretense of obtaining her ashes and finalizing her affairs but ends up moving into her home and replacing her as an English teacher at the local high school. Over the course of Ren’s spiritual reconnection with his sister, he unwittingly uncovers the mystery behind her murder and unearths shocking family secrets in the process. Goenawan’s debut proves to be a slow, soulful whodunit full of deadpan humor and whimsical narrative unpredictability in an attempt at a Murakami-esque aesthetic. Ren’s barren, unreliable narration can be as hilarious as it is sad, and an interesting cast of characters—a girl in his class nicknamed Seven Stars, with whom he forms a taboo romantic entanglement that torments him; his friend and fellow teacher, Honda—gives the novel a voice and world of its own. Goenawan unfortunately struggles with transitions between present action and flashback, and the novel falls victim to plot holes and linguistic clichés (an underage Seven Stars to Ren, while wearing her schoolgirl uniform: “Didn’t you say age was only a number?”).
A witty, well-constructed debut that manages to overcome moments of cliché.
Bookstagram: Check out this bookstagrammer