On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates–Vanessa, Linnea, Anna-Karin, Rebecka and Ida–arrive, compelled the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida’s body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. The park is a safe haven; the school, a place of danger. The six are wildly different and definitely not friends…but they are the Chosen Ones.
As the weeks pass, each girl discovers she has a unique magical ability. They begin exploring their powers, but they are not all firmly committed to their mission–to discover the truth about Elias’s death. Then a horrible tragedy strikes within the circle. Newly determined to fight the evil forces, they begin to learn magic from The Book of Patterns, an ancient work with a will of its own that reveals different things to different witches.
In this gripping first installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy, a parallel world emerges in which teenage dreams, insanely annoying parents, bullying, revenge, and love collide with flirtation, dangerous forces, and ancient magic. An international sensation with rights sold in 24 countries, The Circle is razor-sharp and remarkable from start to finish.
Whenever I hear that a book has been translated from another language, I get really excited. Because I have this strange expectation: any book that has been translated must be really good. Maybe it actually isn’t all that weird, as you would expect that only good books that many people love (like the Hercule Poirot series) would be translated, right? But it turns out that Twilight has apparently been translated into 37 other languages too ._. Oh well, maybe my expectations are unrealistic after all.
However, I’m really glad to say that this book didn’t let me down. I expected to be thoroughly enraptured and captivated by this book, and that is exactly what it did. My face was probably like this the entire time I was reading.
This (close to 600 pages long) book is mainly about those six girls slowly developing magical powers and learning to work together. Along the way, we get to see them grow and develop as teenage girls too. Some of them have bullying issues, some have eating disorders, some have messed up families. You get to see how so many different types of people with different lives interact and bond with each other, and I appreciate that very much.
My favourite character is probably Vanessa. She doesn’t have a nice, ‘proper’ family like Minoo’s. She’s not popular like Ida and Rebecka. She’s not as impulsive as Linnéa. She’s not desperate for love and admiration like Anna-Karin. She hangs out with drug dealers. She parties hard. She is loyal to her friends. She loves her brother. I could go on and on about her, but I feel like she’s the one I can connect to the most, and that’s why I love her so much.
Even though there are many good things to say about this book, there are certain things that annoyed me to no end. The superficial judgment for example:
Felicia’s eyes search for something to comment on. They land on Vanessa, who’s standing by the salad bar. ‘What the hell is she wearing?’ Felicia snorts.
Julia and Ida start giggling hysterically. Vanessa is dressed in a pink shirt and a skirt so short it’s essentially a belt.
‘I don’t know what she’s doing here,’ says Ida, staring at her almost covetously. ‘I mean, what’s the point of her being at school now? It’s not as if she’s going to do any more with her life than squeeze out a few kids.’
I know she’s supposed to be the queen of nastiness and all, but she does that. A LOT. To the point where I really wanted to reach into the book and punch her in the face. A girl’s dressing does NOT tell you ANYTHING about her character, and you cannot judge someone SOLELY based on the way they dress.
The other thing that irritated me beyond belief was Minoo’s pining for Max. I get the whole pining thing, I really do. But her pining was on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I have pined over many guys, but I definitely haven’t intentionally gone to find out where they live! Some of the dialogue that occurred between Max and her were also unbelievably CRINGE-WORTHY. Here’s an example right now:
‘What do you want to know?’ Max asks softly. ‘If I meant what I said? Because I do. I love you, Minoo. I’ve loved you since the first day I set eyes on you.’
‘I love you, too,’ she says, and it feels so natural. ‘But I know now that it’s not possible. What I have to know is… can you bear to wait for me?’
EEEEEBLURGGGGGGGG. THAT’S SO CRINGE-Y. She can’t love him, she barely knows him!!! She only knows him from school, and he never really talked to her in school! HE’S ALSO REALLY OLD. Oh goodness me. It’s really just. I can’t, guys, I can’t.
Overall, the plot is really exciting, the characters feel real, and there’s just enough action. Minoo and Max’s ‘romance’ is wayyyyy cringe-y, the superficial judgment is annoying, so one star deducted for those. Recommended for anyone loving anything magical and witchy!