The Circle is a young adult fantasy that pulls off something that very few fantasy novels manages to do, it manages to somehow be a kind of a contemporary novel at the same time.
Sky high expectations
In the Nordic countries The Circle has been receiving so much praise that I was actually scared to read it. My expectations where sky high and needless to say The Circle had a long way to fall if it did not meet my expectations. I'm delighted to announced that I DEVOURED The Circle and it is so far among my top 3 novels of 2012(I've read 50 so far so that's saying something).
Realistic portrait of teenage life
I was glued to the page from the very dramatic beginning, it starts out with a suicide and that was a bit difficult to read about(but that's life, it is not always easy). There is no sugarcoating in this novel, which is part of why I love it so much, this is real yet this is also fantasy. The fantasy element is almost more of a background figure in this first novel as we're zooming in on the characters and their life. I quite like that and I reckon the fantasy element of the story will be a lot more visible in the next two installments.
Multiple point of view - and it actually works incredibly well.
Authors Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren have managed to create a great story with several "I-did-not-see-that-one-coming"- moments. The characters in this story are all very interesting and each of the six girls has got a unique gift that is important to the task at hand. It is drama time when six very different teenage girls are forced together in this way, and what a great drama it was!
It is wonderful, as well as heartbreaking, to be able to get inside these girls head. We got a great variation of characters; the seemingly perfect girl, the victim, the quiet one, the kind one and more. It all resulted in me having to dry of tears from my cheeks several times during this read. I must add that one of the girls is a bit of a secret and it is quite clear that the readers will find out a lot more about her as the saga of The Chosen Ones continue on.
First in a trilogy - is there a cliffhanger ending?
The Circle is the first book in a new trilogy and we all know how those books ends, right? Well The Circle does not end with the usual cliffhanger, we get some kind of a solution while we still have more than enough loose ends to know there will be a whole lot more to look forward to in the next installment.
Sex, drugs and Rock'N Roll - not quite but a tiny warning is called for.
I might add that this book is perhaps most suitable for older teens as it contains both sex (nothing very graphic tough) and some talk of drinking and drugs. In my opinion this is the most real YA novel I've read of quite some time. Also the young adult in this novel is around 17-18 years old.
I'm pretty sure that this trilogy will get a huge fan base consisting of both young adults and adults.
Also worth mentioning:
This Swedish trilogy is translated into 21 languages.