The Captain’s Log – circe (Madeline Miller) – a 19 in 2019 book!

Ahoy there me mateys!  This be the seventeenth book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list.  The crew has been gushing over this author’s work for forever and this book won the Goodreads Choice award for fantasy in 2018.  So I thought I would give it a shot.  While it was nice to get back to some fantasy after a wonderful Sci-Fi Month, this wasn’t quite a five star read for me.  Before ye scalawags start throwing rotten fish entrails at me, I shall explain even though me ship me rules!

I have always loved Greek and Roman myths.  I had to read them a lot – basically every single time I switched schools.  That’s also how I got to take Latin twice, in both sixth and eighth grades.  At the beginning of every sixth grade Latin class our teacher had us recite the motto:

Latin. Latin.  Say what ye will.  Is NOT over the hill!”

While I loved having to read the classics over and over again in school, the two Latin classes did not help me learn to read Latin any better.  It did lead to an appreciation for the myths and legends and retellings whether it be in plays (like seeing one in the Siracusa Greek theater) or in books (like reading the Percy Jackson books with me nephew).  But I majorly digress.

So I was very much looking forward to a retelling of Circe’s story from her point of view.  First thing I did before reading was to go back and review some of Circe’s references in the old tales.  I wanted it fresh in me noggin so I could savour the author’s choices in how she chose to tell and modify the sources.

This was the correct choice for me because I do think the author gave a stunning retelling.  I thought the writing was sublime and was completely engrossed in the world and Circe’s viewpoints and feelings.  I particularly loved from the beginning of the book all the way up until Odysseus leaves Circe’s island.  And then the problems began with the pacing.

Personal problem was that I basically got kinda bored with the Telegonus section of him being born and growing up and all that.  I get the struggle, I do.  It was a little too much Circe angst and I just was ready to get back to the action.  Once Telegonus comes back to the island, the book got much better though I was never again completely sucked back into the narrative.  It became more of an intellectual based reading.  I enjoyed it but just thought the first half was so much stronger.  That said, I did think how the book ended was perfect.  So despite me problems, I get the hype of the book.  I just don’t completely share it.

As for the author’s other works, I have no interest in the Achilles/Patroclus love story (and no I won’t change me mind).  I be interested in the short story about Galatea if the library has a copy.  Have any of the crew read that one?  Arrrr!

Side note:  One month to go and two books left in me 19 in 2019.  The end is nigh!

Goodreads had this to say about the novel:

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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Madeline Miller – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

circe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Reviews for Me 19 in 2019 Books

the lie tree – Frances Hardinge (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

children of blood and bone – Tomi Adeyemi (Walk the Plank – YA Fantasy)

summerland – Hannu Rajaniemi (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

the ship – Antonia Honeywell (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi Dystopia)

rosewater – Tade Thompson (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

wild beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

eleanor oliphant is completely fine – Gail Honeyman (Off the Charts – Contemporary)

the rift – Nina Allen (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

the paladin of souls – Lois McMaster Bujold (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

the night circus – Erin Morganstern (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

to say nothing of the dog – Connie Willis (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

the falcons of fire and ice – Karen Maitland (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

hot head – Simon Ings (Abandon Ship – Fantasy)

the bees – Laline Paull (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

the wolf road – Beth Lewis (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi) 

the sparrow – Mary Doria Russell (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

12 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – circe (Madeline Miller) – a 19 in 2019 book!

  1. Great review, Captain! This wasn’t a 5 star for me either, and I completely agree with your points. The writing of the final few pages was fantastic, but I also enjoyed the plottier beginning of the story to the uneventful angst in the middle.
    Also, congrats on your 19 in ’19 progress!

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  2. Ooh nice to see this- I’ve been super curious about this book. Love the idea of Circe getting a retelling. 🙂 I love mythology. I’m definitely going to keep my expectations in check though when I get to this one.

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  3. Is there a 20 in 20 coming and can I join you? Lol. I need to better commit to reading my backlog.

    Anyway- I enjoyed this one very much, but I can see why you struggled with the pacing through the parts you did. Another great review!

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  4. As ever, a great review, Cap. I enjoyed this one more than you did as the Telagonus section didn’t grate with me as much. I found myself thinking of my own son growing up as I read it. It’s currently one of my favourite reads of the year…

    Congratulations – you are definitely going to nail that challenge:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, the Telegonus section resonated with those crew that have been through the child rearing part. It be one of the (many) reasons I never had kids meself. But I remain impressed with how well written it was and be glad I read it.

      I hope I make it through the last two books on that challenge of mine. And in enough time to set up the one for next year. Arrr!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting how much we bring our own experiences to the books we read, I find.

        And I hope you manage to make the final two books on your challenge – I’m just finishing listening to To Say Nothing Of the Dog – thank you so much for your hearty recommendation! It’s definitely one of the reading highlights of my year and I wouldn’t have encountered it if I hadn’t read your review:)). I’ll be reviewing it myself in due course…

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  5. Almost done with your 19 in 19! So exciting!

    I’m interested to read this one (and the others) but I have no sense of urgency for any of them. Not even all of the hype I’ve seen about them makes me want to get to them any faster than “eventually”. It’s nice to see a balanced review too, so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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