Book Description:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER–NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, The Washington Post, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor and Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider

“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story,” this #1 New York Times bestseller is “both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right” (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).

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.

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard about Madeline Miller’s newest novel, Circe: it was a #1 New York Times bestseller and widely considered to be one of the best books of 2018. (It also appeared on my own list of favorite books of 2018.)

Circe is the story of the titular Greek goddess, told from her own perspective through rich, lyrical writing. It covers a large span of time that could only belong an immortal, chronicling her early years with her parents and siblings, her discovery of her sorcery and particular gift for transformation, her exile to an island, and encounters with various figures from Greek mythology. Earlier in her tale, Circe’s views of those around her are not always accurate, and she gradually comes to understand the reality of the world of the gods—particularly the ways in which the women around her must be calculated in order to grasp power of their own.

Circe is a sympathetic character with her desire for connection, and I found the novel to be beautifully written and powerful. Her time on the island could drag at times—which is why this was not higher on my favorite books list—but other than that, Circe is fantastic.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Read an Excerpt from Circe

Book Description:

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

Foundryside, the first book in Robert Jackson Bennett’s Founders Trilogy, is a lot of fun. It’s brimming with discovery between learning about its creative magic system and the sentient key that Sancia steals in the beginning, plus there are mysteries related to characters’ pasts. Though I didn’t think any of the characters had a lot of depth, I did find them entertaining to follow and especially enjoyed reading about Sancia, a thief struggling to survive in this grim city of powerful Houses—and one who has the unique ability to “hear” magical objects that she doesn’t entirely understand.

I didn’t love Foundryside: in addition to the lack of in-depth characterization, I also found it to be rather exposition-heavy at times plus the dialogue style is a bit modernly casual for my taste (even if it can be entertaining!). However, I did enjoy it and am certainly curious about the next book—and hopeful that the story will be smoother given that the background will have already been covered in the first book.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from Foundryside


Book Description:

In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection—now she’s after revenge…

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her—and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

The Heart Forger is the middle book in Rin Chupeco’s Bone Witch trilogy, following The Bone Witch (my review). As with the first book, I loved Tea: a powerful necromancer whose rage and desire for justice inspired her to follow her own path rather than the one expected of bone witches.

Though I did enjoy The Heart Forger, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Bone Witch (but I seem to be one of the few who feels that way!). The main reason I preferred the first book was that I found the characterization more compelling since it showed such a huge disparity between past Tea and present Tea, and I didn’t find that these two story lines in this installment had me thinking about how they came together as much. I also felt that the worldbuilding still contained a lot of fascinating but underdeveloped concepts, and despite the abundance of lovely prose, my reading flow was often interrupted by awkward phrasing and pieces that needed to be reworded for clarity. However, I was entertained by The Heart Forger and am looking forward to The Shadow Glass (coming March 5).

My Rating: 7.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Read an Excerpt from The Heart Forger

Review(s) of Previous Books in the Bone Witch Trilogy:

  1. The Bone Witch