Circe by Madeline Miller
This book gives the reader a fast paced trip through Greek mythology. The heroine, Circe, is depicted as an awkward child, not endowed with beauty, desperately craving affection in her early years.
Unaware of her powers at first, she grows into a strong willed, independent young woman, not afraid to challenge long existing traditions. Her punishment for stepping outside the boundaries is to be in lifelong isolation on a far off island. Here, she develops her powers by learning about the plants and herbs which grow around her, producing powerful potions and manipulating her world.
Encounters with human love, power intrigues, witchcraft and monsters keep the reader enthralled. This is a rewriting of myths from a feminist point of view with a freshness that draws the reader in. Young readers will enjoy the magical world while admiring the stoic persistence of a woman against adversity.
My only disappointment was the ending. This was somewhat predictable and a little flat after the extraordinary encounters throughout the novel. However, I believe many readers will now be stimulated to dip into the Greek mythologies to learn more as a result of reading this book.