Submitted by Ssnnooz t3_11se950 in books

I absolutely ADORED SoA, especially the writing style. It was so beautifully written, i've never read a book that's style spoke to me so well.

It was very intentional and intense, so descriptive and beautiful. Yet it was still really easy to understand. I usually have to reread paragraphs a few times before i fully understand, but not with SoA! I understood everything. I was never bored

I just ordered Circe to get more of this author. I've heard good things about it



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Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_jcddano wrote

Very sad that Miller is saying she can only work for very short periods now due to long COVID.


mikarala t1_jcdgfit wrote

I didn't know that, what a shame. I believe she revealed on Instagram a while ago that she's working on a Persephone retelling, which I'm really excited about. I hope she's been able to make progress on it.

Edit: Just want to clarify that I'm not simply hoping she's been able to make progress on the novel purely for my own benefit, although I am looking forward to the book, but because I imagine it being extremely demoralizing not being able to make progress due to chronic health issues sapping all of your energy. I always find it really tragic when the body can't follow the mind, if that makes sense.


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_jcdgzu4 wrote

Details here. Sounds really rough.

Anyone who thinks long covid is a joke (not you) should consider what possible reason a best-selling author of critically acclaimed literature would have for pretending to be very ill.


ckoocos t1_jce6wbi wrote

Thank you for sharing. I hope her health improves soon.


Neverstopstopping82 t1_jcfecbw wrote

I haven’t heard anyone joke about long covid. I’d have to wack them upside the head if I did.


[deleted] t1_jchl6pb wrote

It’s mostly a push from conservatives to make sure disability payouts don’t increase. People with very low empathy and enough short-sightedness to not consider what would happen if they found themselves chronically ill with LongCovid…


Bridalhat t1_jcdvzqu wrote

Oh god I will not be able to handle the Discourse on that

Guys, I’m not even saying the book is going to be good or bad, just that the discussion around it is going to be exhausting.


Cleverusername531 t1_jceabey wrote

What do you mean?


Bridalhat t1_jceb0o1 wrote

I mean I’m on classics Twitter and book Twitter and the retelling of story with rape at the center of it has already been a bad take machine several times, and the most popular writer in the myth retelling space is probably going to make certain corners of the internet implode

ETA: and once upon the time I was a part-time professional classicist who was paid to write about sex in the ancient world and I am extremely hesitant to use the word “rape” because they don’t have an equivalent term. The Latin “raptus” does mean rape, but it most generally means “seizure” wherein forced sexual congress could be implied there. Women in the ancient world didn’t have agency over their bodies and it was their captors exercising their authority over them rather their husbands or fathers (unless the captors became their husbands and then it was legally ok). The wants of the woman rarely figured into the story, one way or another. There was actual material loss in illicit sex and that is why stories, like Terence’s the Eunuch, feature women marrying their rapists as a happy ending. Conversely, wanted sex could be a bad thing as it could ruin a woman’s chances for a husband and thus financial stability.

(Also it’s easy to dismiss an obsession over social prospects, but that is all women had. For a modern equivalent, remember a time in your life where everything was going your way and you were excited for your future, and then imagine if you were raped that you would lose whatever it is that made you excited and you would still have to deal with a fallout from rape. Some of your tears will be for the rape, others for the future you wanted that you weren’t getting anymore.)

Anyway, the story of Persephone, in every telling, is what we would describe as rape. Girl, field, mother, tears. Even if Miller handles it deftly, loud corners of the internet will not.


MorningCockroach t1_jcfbcm8 wrote

That's an interesting choice of myths to retell then. I think even an adept author would run into some level of pushback given the content and sensibilities of modern readers.


spotted-cat t1_jchqvku wrote

There’s been a retelling of it published already—

Neon Gods

And some people in the Hellenistic Pagan community are obsessed with Hades and Persephone, and view Hades as this super heroic husband cause of the thing with her mom.


Melificarum t1_jcdpxh5 wrote

Oh no! That's awful. I was really excited for her next book.


GhostMug t1_jcet25s wrote

I was so sad to hear this from her on twitter. Hope for the best for her. Long COVID is no joke.


applecub t1_jcde4k1 wrote

Both books are wonderful.

Without giving anything away, I found Circe to match the high standard from Song of Achilles. My one slight caution is that Circe leans far more heavily into Greek mythology than SoA, and that there are some characters or references you may not fully appreciate without this prior understanding. That said, the book absolutely stands in its own and can absolutely be enjoyed without an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology.



Ssnnooz OP t1_jcdf2hu wrote

I was a percy jackson fanatic in middle school, is that good enough? haha


MSeanF t1_jcdiuu2 wrote

It will give you a decent footing, and you'll probably recognize many of the various deities and monsters. But you might want to read with your phone handy to look up some of the minor characters.


AlmostFilipino t1_jce4a88 wrote

To be honest that was exactly my situation going into the book and it’s one of my favorite books of all time now. I was inspired to read The Odyssey after finishing it and I can say I definitely enjoyed Miller’s prose more than Fagles’


Patient-Rope-2412 t1_jcfftjl wrote

Circe also does provide a glossary of sorts in the back that gives a short summary of the figures from mythology & their background. Just finished reading it yesterday with the same knowledge base and I loved it!


Individual_Guest641 t1_jceh751 wrote

I don't know all that much about Greek mythology, just the stuff I've picked up from popular culture. I absolutely LOVED Circe. Never wanted it to end.


BloomEPU t1_jcf57l0 wrote

I read circe before SoA and honestly, it made me feel a bit disappointed in SoA. Going from circe being this cool complex lady to achilles who's like, some grumpy asshole was a bit rough :P

I still love how SoA is written, both novels are really beautiful, it's just I preferred circe waaay more.


BookFox t1_jcf9168 wrote

I mean, I feel you, but also: the relevant character to compare in SoA is Patroclus.


cMeeber t1_jch2xq9 wrote

Probably why I loved Circe so much! I’ve been a Greek mythology freak since 3rd grade.


Electrical-Driver-21 t1_jcdm39w wrote

Or so you think. You can never move on from The Song of Achilles. It stays with you forever


Chickadee486 t1_jce38b1 wrote

I think this is true. I cried so much, I still think about those last chapters randomly.


CaractacusPotato t1_jchdh09 wrote

Don't have many books that I'm sad ended, cause I wanted to stay in that world a little longer, SoA was definitely one!


emilyl1kesfood t1_jcekmos wrote

I thought I was over the devastating ending, but then I watched a video discussing the book, and I sobbed all over again.


EchoedJolts t1_jcdl6vp wrote

If you like this kind of book, I recommend Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel.

Retelling of an old Indian story from the perspective of the woman


crashmom03 t1_jcdxz10 wrote

I was going to write that too! I love that book too. I knew nothing at all about Indian mythology and was completely fascinated by it. Beautiful story.


Mivirian t1_jce35jf wrote

Thank you for the rec! I really love myrhs/fairy tales retold.


stupid-adcarry t1_jceavfk wrote

I actually was recommended palace of illusions and read benarjee's other book too and thought she did the trope justice, is the prose of kaikeyi good ?


crankygerbil t1_jcdueyh wrote

I liked Circe more, it was more concrete, more in the world.


Vollautomatik t1_jcfc89c wrote

Interesting. For me it was quite the opposite. The mere fact that Circe was immortal really made everything meaningless in my opinion. Every encounter she ever had with any human was just a small blink and didn’t matter in the grand scheme of her life. It really made me think about the importance of death for a meaningful life.


crankygerbil t1_jcg6lbq wrote

I meant more along the feeling like the earth was under your feet. There was more attention to flora and fauna, more of it feeling posited in the real world.

I liked the book. I had never really placed close attention to Circe in mythology, didn't know she was the daughter of a Titan or a nymph.

After watching The Eternals, I now picture Circe as Sersi. :)


Dorothea2020 t1_jcgnlsp wrote

Though Miller’s Circe agreed with you about immortality, which is why she made the choice she did at the end. I liked Circe better than SOA precisely because I loved its exploration of the distinctive weight and meanings that mortality gives to human life.


Not_Buying t1_jcf6anb wrote

Me too. I really enjoyed it … even more than Achilles.


hyperlethalrabbit t1_jcdv69f wrote

If you're a fan of the feminist restored voice that Miller does in Circe, I find Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad to be a good one as well. As the name suggests, tells the story of Penelope's life and gives us her perspective of the events of the Iliad and Odyssey and beyond.


erika_on_literature t1_jcesxoy wrote

Yes, +1 to The Penelopiad recommendation. Also, I'm reading "A Thousand Ships" by Natalie Haynes right now, which looks promising to me. It retells the story of Troy from the perspective of different women of that period.

I'm also curious about "Daughters of Sparta" which is also a retelling of the same story but from Helen and Klytemnestra. But I haven't read it yet


motherofpearl89 t1_jcemnk5 wrote

>The Penelopiad

Oh my goodness thank you so much! I had no idea this book existed.


akornel t1_jciyn1s wrote

Ooooh, I’m putting that one on my list, thanks! I absolutely loved The King Must Die by Mary Renault. It’s based on the idea that if the story of the Minotaur was an exaggerated story based on a kernel of truth, what might that kernel be.


PunkandCannonballer t1_jce8eez wrote

It feels like people tend to like one more than the other. I personally adored Circe, but only found Achilles to be decent.


Ssnnooz OP t1_jceamjn wrote

I've heard that some people find it harder to relate to patroclus. I relate to him and his story in a lot of ways i've never seen in a book before


vietnams666 t1_jcenpud wrote

Am I the only one who found Circe to be just meh?


MamaJody t1_jcewtdg wrote

I absolutely loved SoA, but am reading Circe now and it’s just not grabbing me. I feel nothing for the characters, and find Circe in particular to be far too passive and hard to connect with.


fluff472 t1_jcesg5n wrote

It was quite boring and linear. Luckily it got more interesting towards the end. 2.5/5 for me.


ElSinchi t1_jcfhr7n wrote

more like circular than linear ;D

anything bad happens? she gets molly root. something else happens? she gets molly root.


Milorii t1_jcdp4ut wrote

If you want another perspective I’d recommend The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. I read it immediately after SoA and I appreciated that I did. It’s much a more brutal retelling that isn’t as romanticized as SoA is and it really grounds your view of the story. I recently read Circe too and I really liked it!


MamaJody t1_jcewpuk wrote

I was really disappointed with this book. The women spoke almost entirely about men (I’m not sure this book, about women, would even pass the Bechern test), and then after she introduced Achilles’ perspective, it lost me. The book felt as though it was still really all about Achilles, Patroclus and Agammemnon.


elyse2701 t1_jcdv17y wrote

Circe is one of my favorite books ever! I also just finished Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel, and gave that a 5 as well. If you end up liking Circe, Kaikeyi would be right up your alley! Seriously wonderful books.


emilyl1kesfood t1_jcekuqa wrote

Not OP, but have been looking for something to fill the void those two books have left in me. Added to my list, thanks!


Orion3500 t1_jce6r47 wrote

I didn’t like Song of Achilles much… Circe was amazing!


harrietww t1_jcec86e wrote

I’m in the same boat as you - I read Circe first and right after the birth of my first child at the start of the pandemic so it really resonated with me. I’d read a few feminist Greek myth retellings so I had a pretty negative bias against Patroclus and Achilles going in which probably didn’t help.


-bwep- t1_jcg2o1h wrote

That’s my hang up on reading it, I’ve already read Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls and I don’t think I can romanticize Achilles after that.


taylorswiftfolk t1_jcdgmyv wrote

SoA was such a fantastic read! Beautifully written indeed; it’s not everyday that a book makes me sob like this one did. Madeline Miller is an outstanding writer. I need to pick up Circe soon! I live for Greek mythology retellings.


Ok-Duck2458 t1_jcefqj8 wrote

It’s my favorite! I think you’re going to love it!!! Also, the audio book read by Perdita Weeks is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever listened to


Ghostobsessed t1_jcdliuo wrote

OMG I LOVED SONG IF ACHILLES. It is on my shelf right next to they both die at the end I love them so much! Let me know what you think of Circe I’m interested as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts


TwistedFate21 t1_jcf3qr6 wrote

My book club did Circe recently and it was Mehh Compared to Song of Achilles was the general consensus. I never read SOA so I really enjoyed Circe. Try to go in with no expectations if that possible.


EmperorDarkest t1_jcf6dkk wrote

Circe: so much potential - so little payoff.


Bittersweetfeline t1_jch48kw wrote

I did not realize SoA was going to be a romance, which is NOT really my cup of tea, so her writing was phenomenal which allowed me to finish, but I was a bit bamboozled wanting more of the actual retelling, lol.

I have Circe as well and look forward to reading it!


jrdbrr t1_jcejtxv wrote

I loved both. Have you heard of Ariadne? Similar retelling of Greek tales.


SlightSupermarket533 t1_jcesxll wrote

I read this book, and it solidified how much I hate romance as a genre. Not sure why either. Just seemed like there was so much going on im this story that the narrator wasn't talking about. Like me and the narrator just find different stuff interesting. I did like how she wrote though. Quite alot actually the book flowed really well and her style was enjoyable.


battleangel1999 t1_jcf0wch wrote

I'm so happy you enjoyed it! For me I did audiobooks for both of them and the narrators were AMAZING. As a bi guy it felt awesome to see a Achilles and Patroclus written about in such a passionate way. Just gay in the best way! Circe was beautiful and actually very relatable in the way she just wanted to be left alone. I really liked how her power was described and how she saw the other gods. I highly recommend that one for sure.


joeybklyn001 t1_jch82cs wrote

My wife and I both read SoA at the same time, we both enjoyed it very much also. It is heartwarming to see so many of the same thoughts.


NotNearlySRV t1_jchjvq3 wrote

Circe is waaaay better imo. More fascinating, maybe because it's a less-told tale. And more beautifully poetic. I read it first and was knocked out by it. Achilles was meh.

[Edit: Not knocking your appreciation for Achilles. Just saying, if you liked Achilles, you'll really enjoy Circe.]


mindlessmunkey t1_jchmuvv wrote

In my opinion Circe is even better. You’re going to love it 😊


Realistic_Depth5450 t1_jcsf7ev wrote

I adored Song of Achilles too. It made me so sad in a really beautiful way. And then I was mad at myself for being sad, since I've read the Iliad! I know what happens! But still... beautifully written.


GarlicAndSapphire t1_jcdljp9 wrote

Thanks!! Book is now in my queue! I read Ovid in my early 20s. I am so looking forward to this. Thanks again.


meags_13 t1_jcdm11e wrote

Didn’t realize they were the same author! I have Circe and I’m planning to read it soon- I’ll have to get SoA!!


Ssnnooz OP t1_jcdnq5l wrote

It's amazing, especially if you are LGBT.

I've heard that it can be uninteresting to people not involved in the community, but i absolutely loved it.


John_Browns_Body t1_jce8xf9 wrote

I’m a straight man and I thought it was a great book.


stupid-adcarry t1_jceb0ht wrote

Same some of those lines ! They are just so memorable. SoA is just a good book and a great romance, it doesn't matter what your gender is to appreciate it.


Ssnnooz OP t1_jceatvd wrote

oh yeah for sure, im a straight man too. Not saying only gay people can enjoy it, but i think that some people have a hard time relating to patroclus and his story


Nearby_Cheesecake t1_jcdvdeg wrote

You’ll love Circe! Miller is a great writer. So fun yet so moving.


lazycat654 t1_jce21to wrote

I read SoA for a project in my senior year of high school and I absolutely adored it! I had to force myself to not read it during class because I'd start crying 😭


Jenzen918 t1_jce2r45 wrote

I didn’t think SoA would be my cup of tea but I loved that book. Adding Circe to the TBR list.


CosmicSarah t1_jce58ao wrote

Just finished Song of Achilles today as well! It was so wonderful!


Fun_Cod9871 t1_jce5ctg wrote

I loved Circe but SoA left a hole in my soul (in a good way, but still)


tom8pot8cre8 t1_jce6oai wrote

Reading Circe right now- I like it a lot but not as much as SoA!


mamabelles t1_jcehh68 wrote

i just started Circe! enjoying it so far although i never read Song of Achilles. guess i gotta add it to my list


d3adbor3d2 t1_jceoh5z wrote

I mostly do audiobooks these days and one disadvantage to me is when you don’t connect w the reader it kinda ruins the book. That’s me with SoA. Otoh, I really enjoyed Circe. It’s almost as if you’re describing Circe as well.


Davenport23 t1_jcf5uf2 wrote

I loved Circe. Can’t wait to reread it.

SOA was a let down for me. I still liked it, it’s just I didn’t buy into it, as it came across too much like the voice of a teenage girl writing in a diary.


Ssnnooz OP t1_jcki6mv wrote

I totally get that. I think that was intentional though.

To me the book was less about an epic love story, and more about Patroclus not being able to see Achilles for how he really is (an arrogant asshole) because he's just SO consumed by his love. Patroclus idolized him to a deadly degree

Achilles decision to choose pride over happiness/love was repulsive. It made me sick to my stomach, more than any book has.


skinnyraf t1_jcfav89 wrote

From my middle-aged perspective, I liked Circe much more. Song of Achilles is a beautiful teenage drama. Key protagonists in Circe are middle-aged - well, Circe being a goddess is thousands years old, but you'll know what I mean. SoA is awesome, but it was Circe that really touched me deep inside.


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Cold_coffee_addict t1_jcfiwkd wrote

I read soa 2 years ago and must say that it’s a beautiful book and a must read. I’ve been thinkinh of read the Odyssey but only have like minimal Greek mythology knowledge(from Percy jackson). Should I go ahead??


definitely_zella t1_jcgcolz wrote

I haven't read Song of Achilles yet, but Circe absolutely wreaked me. Such a gorgeously written book.


IndyIndigo t1_jcgfr23 wrote

I am on the waitlist for SoA and waiting as patiently as I can. I picked up Circe after a friend recommended it. I couldn't believe how much i loved that book. It is so out of my normal genre and style. I read it. Then I read it again. Then I listened on audiobook. I hope you enjoy Circe as much as I did. I hope I enjoy SoA as much as you did!


Ssnnooz OP t1_jch49r0 wrote

the SoA audiobook is free on spotify and REALLY good!


yoongiscowgirl t1_jcgioec wrote

soa was my book of the year, even though it's only march. gonna be very hard for any other book to beat that spot tbh. it was just beautifully written and i agree the writing style was just it for me. i literally read soa in a day and then immediately reread it. im sad its over but im gonna read circe this year, and i wanna try to really complete the iliad (even tho ive tried and its HARD)


Beer_before_Friends t1_jcgy8h5 wrote

You'll love Circe! I liked Song of Achilles a lot, but Circe is far superior. Enjoy!


Professional_Ice_792 t1_jcj33sy wrote

I was expecting Circe to be closer to Xena, but instead I felt like all we got was a pathetic Diana. It was something where I kept reading b/c the writing was good - but no. It was pretty forgettable. Circe wasn't much of a heroine, imho.


LovestoRead-2023 t1_jdjz3vo wrote

Natalie Haynes is doing an AMA tomorrow (3/25/23) at 1PM ET in r/books. A THOUSAND SHIPS, this month's book club pick, and her new novel STONE BLIND!


Cornbread_Queen t1_jce9xho wrote

I loved both! I also really enjoyed her new short story Galatea. I will read anything she writes.


harrietww t1_jcecsor wrote

Galatea was originally part of a collection of myth retellings called xo Orpheus, published before SOA took off (it lists a bunch of authors on the cover, Madeline Miller is part of the “and more”). It’s worth checking out if you can.


makingburritos t1_jceqmpx wrote

I just finished it earlier today and loved it too! So glad this post came up


GhostMug t1_jcet3kw wrote

Circe is one of my favorite books of all time. Definitely something you should be looking forward to :)


Abject_Nectarine_887 t1_jcf45x7 wrote

Both books are extraordinary, but I do have to say that I liked the song of Achilles more. When I first read it years ago I cried and was just still in shock for weeks. The impact and truth has always stayed with me, Circe had such an impact but it didn’t stay in my soul like achillies did. Her writing is excellent


Martholomeow t1_jcf78uo wrote

I loved it!

Afteri finished it i tried to read The iliad, but got about two thirds of the way through and took a pause. It’s a slog.


Giggles567 t1_jcfabux wrote

Circe is a fantastic read, I hope you enjoy it!!


LostandFinding85 t1_jcfer4p wrote

I picked Circe as my book club read, everyone loved it. I want to read SoA, I've heard good things about it. I am currently reading Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, so far I am enjoying it. She is a daughter of Minos and the beginning talks about the birth of the minotaur (her brother), the labyrinth, and her mother's decline.


Hazel_nut1992 t1_jcfn0nn wrote

I read Song of Achilles and then I picked up A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes and then read Circie. They are not written to “go together” but A Thousand Ships starts where Song Of Achilles ends and makes a nice bridge to Circie. And I just recently read Stone Blind which is Natalie Haynes new book about Medusa and I loved it


diya2127 t1_jcgiuot wrote

Omg SoA was heart wrenching.


RogerCorman2022 t1_jcjhft6 wrote

I bought it wane was interested in reading it but I read somewhere that it is for Young Adults and I felt silly reading a book for kids . Is it still worth the read for adults ?