Madeleine Miller – Circe [REVIEW]

Title: Circe

Author: Madeleine Miller

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 337

Rating: 4/5

This is my first brush with Madeleine Miller, although I also want to read The Song of Achilles, and I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised. I like mythology as much as the next man, but I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly au fait with it. But then I guess that makes me exactly the kind of person that the book was written for.

Circe is a minor goddess and a fascinating character to read about, because while she’s often overlooked in her early years, she’s able to take her destiny into her own hands. That doesn’t always work out so well for her, but it’s super empowering to read about a female lead who manages to find her own agency in a patriarchal world.

When I started reading Circe, I was a little worried that it was going to be over-written and that I was going to struggle to enjoy it, but it soon becomes apparent that Miller got the balance just right between modern storytelling and ideas that are thousands of years old. It’s actually surprisingly easy to read.

The result is a cracking story that I think anyone would enjoy, whether they’re a fan of mythology and the classics or not. Circe as a character, along with the struggles and growth that she enjoys, make her a feminist hero of a sort that’s increasingly popular in modern literature, and with good reason.

I also particularly liked her superpower, if you can call it that. She’s basically a witch, with the ability to play around with plants and herbs and to make them magical. That magic sometimes works against her or in ways that she doesn’t expect, but that’s just the sign of a good magic system.

And so all in all, when it comes to the question of whether or not I’d recommend reading this, I think the answer is fairly obvious. Go get it.

Learn more about Circe.

Paula Hawkins – A Slow Fire Burning [REVIEW]

Title: A Slow Fire Burning

Author: Paula Hawkins

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 384

Rating: 3.5/5

This is my second book by Paula Hawkins, because back in the day I read The Girl on the Train like everyone else on the planet. I wasn’t particularly taken with it, but that’s only because it felt a little derivative of all of the other thrillers that were coming out at the time.

This one is different, although it still follows all of the tropes that you’d expect from a thriller novel. And that’s just okay, because it does a good job of tapping into them to tell a decent story that will have you desperate to keep on reading.

Hawkins is a decent writer, and what she does well here is to create a bunch of believable characters and to experiment with the ways in which they interact with one another to tell a compelling tale of mystery and intrigue. It has elements of a classic whodunnit, as well as those touches of crime and thriller for us to enjoy.

I also liked that some of the action takes place on the water in canal boats, because I’ve always found them to be a fascinating lifestyle choice. I actually watch a half dozen narrowboaters on YouTube, and I’ve occasionally daydreamed about moving onto a narrowboat myself.

Then we have the fact that one of the characters is a writer, and that there are a bunch of literary references throughout the book. My edition even included some notes from Hawkins on a few of the books that she talked about.

When I read books like this, I tend not to think too much about who might have committed the crime, and that leaves me in a nice position where I can just enjoy the journey instead of having to worry too much about what’s going on.

That made for a cracking little read that definitely wasn’t a slow fire, although neither did it go up in such a blaze that it burned itself out. The pacing was great, the characterisation was top notch, and the mystery at its heart was plenty of fun, too. I’m not sure what more you could ask for from a thriller novel. Happy reading!

Learn more about A Slow Fire Burning.