Cover page for Madeline Miller's Circe

Hailey and I fully intended to do a buddy read and review for Madeline Miller’s Circe. Unfortunately, we hated it. After a long and cathartic ranting session, neither of us felt much like getting into it all over again in a written format. Well, it’s been some time since then, and I am ready to discuss this book in a calm and rational manner. Mostly.

 

Content Warning: this review discusses violence against women and sexual assault. We have to address these topics, as they are present within the book.

 

Circe is an amalgamation and retelling of the Greek myths around the mysterious witch-nymph Circe, famously prominent in Homer’s Odyssey. Miller follows Circe’s life from her early childhood to the end of her days, as she encounters heroes, fights monsters, and comes into her magical powers as a witch whom even the other gods fear.

 

I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open.

– Madeline Miller

Dear readers, she was exactly that dull.

 

 

The Lights of Prague was such a delightful read! The story follows Domek, a lamplighter who secretly protects the city from the monsters that roam the streets at night, and Lady Ora, a wealthy and seemingly eccentric widow. Despite their vast differences in class, the pair are inexplicably drawn to each other, though Domek does not realize that Ora is a pijavica – one of the creatures he is sworn to destroy. While Domek and Ora attempt to keep their secrets from each other, they both become embroiled in foiling a plot that would allow the monsters of Prague to overtake the city.

I love mythology and fairytales of all forms and I had not yet read anything featuring Czech myths so I really enjoyed reading about pijavice, bubáks and vodníks. I do wish that there had been a glossary of the mythological creatures at the end of the book that the reader could refer to, however, a quick google search of the Czech terms was easy enough.

I loved how Nicole Jarvis used the history and architecture of Prague as a part of the story – the setting was so vivid that the reader feels completely transported in both place and time. The characters were well written and there were also some plot twists that I had not anticipated. I was fully absorbed by the book and I sacrificed a good night’s sleep so that I could finish reading because I just had to know what would happen next. I haven’t read a vampire novel in a while and I’d honestly thought I was no longer interested in the trope, but The Lights of Prague was a fresh and thoroughly enjoyable take on the genre. I’m excited to see what else Jarvis has in store and I’d definitely read more of her books in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing an eARC of this book for review.

– Hailey

When Domek had first started working as a lamplighter, he had been frustrated by all the people who continued to venture into the night. Didn’t they realize the danger? If everyone stayed home, Domek wouldn’t have to risk his life to protect them.  Over time, though, he realized that life couldn’t be contained to daylight hours. For every human or pijavica that used the dark to prey on passersby, there were a dozen people just trying to make it home. Prague belonged to all of them, and Domek would be damned if they would be made unsafe in their own city.

Nicole Jarvis