Tag: mythology

Book Review: Circe, by Madeline Miller

Circe
Image belongs to Little, Brown, and Company.

Title:   Circe
Author:   Madeline Miller
Genre:   Fiction, literary fiction, mythology
Rating:   4.5/5

Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and the mightiest Titan. Her mother is both cruel and alluring. Circe is not like either of them. Nor is she like her three siblings, striving for power and fame.

Circe prefers the company of fragile mortals to that of the powerful—and cruel—gods. In her search for companionship, Circe discovers she does have power:  that of witchcraft. Her power to transform her rivals into monsters makes the gods fear her, and she is banished by Zeus himself to a deserted island.

There, Circe learns her craft, growing in power and knowledge as she comes to know some of the most famous individuals in mythology:  The Minotaur, Medea, Daedalus, and especially the mighty Odysseus. But Circe draws the anger of one of the most powerful god in existence, and it will take all of skills and cunning to survive—and to decide if she will be a god, or a mortal.

I’ve always loved mythology, and I knew a tiny bit about Circe from a year spent studying mythology in high school (Thank you, Mrs. Skidmore!), but this novel is a riveting and personal journey into Circe’s life. Her treatment at the hands of the gods made me sad—kind of like the behavior of a lot of society these days—and her fumbling attempts to find friends and figure out her own truths drew my sympathy.

I loved reading about mythology from an insiders’ view—I truly felt I was part of the tale, experiencing Circe’s pain, grief, horror, and happiness right along with her. Well-written and engrossing, this book is a journey readers will love to take!

Madeline Miller is the award-winning author of The Song of Achilles. Her newest novel is Circe.

(Galley provided by Little, Brown, and Company in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: All the Wicked Girls, by Chris Whitaker

atwg
Image belongs to Zaffre.

The small town of Grace, Alabama might be highly named, but it’s a little short on its follow-through. Populated by rednecks, people haunted by regrets, and economic depression, the town is full of hurting people shadowed by darkness. Then bright spot Summer Ryan goes missing, and the entire town fears she’s been taken by The Bird, believed responsible for the disappearances of five other local, church-going good girls.

But as Raine Ryan—Summer’s twin sister—investigates her sister’s disappearance, she discovers that Summer wasn’t quite the good girl everyone thought. With the help of Noah, a local boy who adores Raine, she starts asking questions, and soon the darkness that’s been hidden in Grace is visible to the whole world.

All the Wicked Girls shows a good picture of life in a small Southern town:  the town busybodies who want to know everyone else’s business, the good ol’ boys who think they know more than the guys in charge, the teenagers yearning to get out of town. In fact, the Southern gothic feel of the novel is so spot-on, that I was surprised to learn the author is English, not Southern. The setting is fantastically well-done.

I love how the story is told in alternating points of view, including the missing Summer telling of thing that happened before. Raine is a force of nature, and Noah is endearing as he struggles with his health issues as well as the loss of his father. There’s a lot of twists in this novel, and the suspense will keep the reader gripping the pages to find out what’s really going on.

Chris Whitaker was born in London and worked as a financial trader. All the Wicked Girls is his newest novel.

(Galley provided by Zaffre in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Patchwork, by Karsten Knight

patchwork
Image belongs to Karsten Knight.

Karsten Knight lives in Boston and writes YA fiction. His newest novel is Patchwork.

Renata Lake expects prom night to be full of the typical things one finds on prom night: moonlight, dancing, teenage hormones, and an epic prank by her group of friends involving throwing a dead body over the side of the boat into Boston Harbor. What she doesn’t expect is a proposal or a bomb explosion, leaving real bodies in the water before she sinks beneath the waves.

Renata wakes up in Patchwork, a ghostly world where all her memories come together in a crazy pattern, and her friends’ murderer chases her through these memories, determined to kill her—and everyone she loves—once and for all. Reliving her memories and watching her friends die over and over is enough to drive anyone insane, but Renata must rise above that if she is to figure out who the killer is, and get back to her real life.

Patchwork is a fantastic read, fast-paced and with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way to the final pages. There’s a bit of mythology here, not enough to overpower the action and the mystery, just enough to spice it up. I wanted to read this straight through, but real life had to take priority. This is a must-read for anyone who loves fast-paced fantasy with an edge.

(Galley provided by the author via NetGalley.)