Saturday 7 July 2012

The Circle by Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg

Pages - 596
Published by Hammer in June 2012
Book kindly sent by publisher

She's waiting for an answer but Elias doesn't know what to say. No answer would satisfy her. Instead he stares at his hands. They are so pale that he can see every vein in the harsh fluorescent lighting.

Goodreads Summary
Only together can they survive.
 Engelsfors. A beautiful name for a scrubby little town in Sweden where six girls have just started high school. They have nothing in common -- except they are all hunted by an ancient evil.
 The autumn semester has just started when a student is found dead in one of the school toilet cubicles. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone except those that know the truth. One night, when a mysterious red moon fills the sky, the girls meet in the park. They don't know why or how they were brought there but they learn that they need each other in order to survive.
 They are told that they are witches. An ancient prophecy states that they are The Chosen Ones. From this day on, high school is a matter of life and death. They must learn how to work together despite their differences and they have to master the forces that have awakened within them. Time is running out. Something is hunting them and if they don't find it and defeat it, it will kill them.
I will admit to being a bit put off by the size of this book. At six hundred pages, it concerned me how long it was going to take to read it. I looked at my TBR and panicked about fitting it in . However, I was glad I read it, because I really did enjoy it.  If ever the opportunity came for me to personally obtain magic, then I would imagine it occurring in this way; naturally and without warning. 
If you enjoyed the film The Craft, the series Charmed and the books The Secret Circle, then this one will squeeze itself happily into your book shelf.
The story follows a group of girls all from the same year at school who are brought together after the death of another pupil. The girls have been selected as the Chosen Ones and they couldn't be less happier about it. Firstly, they really don't get on. Imagine taking the lead girl from every different clique in school and binding them together, from the geek to the bitch, from the cheerleader to the Goth. They are not happy at all about being bound together to stop anyone else getting killed. The book really studies how they have to overcome their prejudices about each other in order to work together. They will never truly like each other, but they have to be grown up about things and work  as a team. I loved watching their relationships change as they came to terms with their abilities.  To be honest, by the end of the book, I felt like I was sitting with old friends, I really enjoyed the company of each and everyone of them. 
The book explores each aspect of the girl's lives and you do feel a little voyeuristic as you explore their home lives and relationships. The book flits from one character's perspective to another, and to begin with I struggled to work out who was who. I would say it actually took up until their binding to realise who was involved, but once I did, I was definitely rooting for them all as they struggled with school teen drama alongside murder and witchcraft.
Considering that this book was brought out by the Hammer imprint, I was expecting a lot more horror than I found. It wasn't gory enough for me, but saying that I really did enjoy it. I just presumed with the Hammer label, it would be a lot more and I don't often get to read horror these days, which I used to love.
This was a really promising start to the series and I am intrigued where the author will take the girls next. As a translation, I thought it was excellent, the writing flowed easily and I didn't feel I was missing anything. I adored the setting, I so rarely read books set in Sweden, so that made a refreshing change.
This was definitely a brilliant book, that is well worth taking the time to invest in and read. 


  1. eh, I do not know. It's the strange Finn in me that says no ;)
    But I have seen the book and sure it would be fun to try YA in my own language for once and at least then when I would love or diss it I would do so without having to say anything about a translation

  2. This one sounds interesting, but you are are right that the length can be a turn off sometimes in picking up a book.

    1. I can be really turned off by length, due to lack of time. I know it shouldn't though.

    2. It was an extremely quick read for me - I finished it in one (long) afternoon. I read it in Swedish, though, and it's possible that the translation for whatever reason is not quite as quick a read (and in addition the translated version is slightly longer. The book is 515 pages in Swedish.)

      Still, there are many much slimmer books that take much longer to read. Which I sometimes prefer, it depends on what kind of book I'm after.

      It is interesting that you found it difficult to keep track of the girls at first - I often find that a problem in books, but not in this one. I wonder what it is that makes it more or less easy for us to tell characters apart.

      I did like the book, a lot, as well as its sequel. I've never watched or read The Craft or Charmed or The Secret Circle - the comparison that leapt up from the page and hit me in the eye was with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  3. I love The Craft, and generally enjoy anything witchy, so hopefully I'll enjoy this one! Glad to hear that nothing was lost in translation!

    1. You will love it! Fabulous book. Really enjoyed the characters.

  4. Glad you didn't let the daunting size of this put you off. Sounds like my kind of read though I'm not overly keen on the cover.

  5. This sounds like a worthwhile read, especially if it reminded you of The Craft. Great review!

  6. I'm so. so happy to hear that you enjoyed The Circle, Vivienne :) For me when I read The Circle back in January, the Norwegian translation, it was the first book to keep me up well into the night for a long, long time.

    It's a brick, but the pages sure turns easily and all of a sudden there is no more pages to turn.

  7. I'm not very good in english so excuse me if there are any grammatical/spelling errors.
    I've read the book in swedish, and it's actually the best book I've read since Harry Potter. The second book in the trilogy came in swedish a few months ago (it's called "Eld" in sweden, probably "Fire" in english then) and it's almost as good as the first book. I recommend that you read that one too when it's in the book stores in England!

  8. I read this in swedish but I'm dying to find out how it is in english, I won't read it in english though, I don't want to spoil the fun with finding an book that is very good and IS swedish from the beginning... :)

  9. The last book in the series (key) is the best! I have read it in Swedish and it certainly lived up to my expectations! Even though I'm Swedish and live in Sweden so I never read the books by Swedish author, this was exceptionally good to be Swedish! And they will also make the circle to the film 2014 too ;) they will probably be in Swedish: P Sorry for the bad english :/


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