Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book review: A page turner - The Circle by Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren

Do you like reading novels that keeps you up into the wee hours of night? If you do make sure to grab yourself a copy of The Circle by Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren, it is a true page turner! 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.

The Circle released out into the wild(UK & Australia)
on June 7th.

Usually I write my own synopsis but I'm afraid I won't do The Circle justice so I'm going with the synopsis written by Random House AU this time:

One night, when a strange red moon fills the sky, six school girls find themselves in an abandoned theme park, drawn there by a mysterious force. A student has just been found dead. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone - except them.

In that derelict fairground an ancient prophecy is revealed. They are The Chosen Ones, a group of witches, bound together by a power, one which could destroy them all. But they soon learn that despite their differences they need each other in order to master the forces that have been awakened within them.

High school is now a matter of life and death. Because the killing has only just begun.

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.
Quite a few of the girls gets to tell the story from their POV, not all of them but almost. One should think it confusing but it isn't. 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! 

I have a soft spot for the Swedish cover!

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.

Authors Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren have managed to create a great story with several “I-did-not-see-that-one-coming”- moments. 

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:
  • The movie right has been sold already in Sweden and Hollywood also been sniffing around wondering whether or not to jump on The Circle craze.
  • This Swedish trilogy is translated into 21 languages.
Did I manage to tempt you? Or did you not notice my enthusiasm there? ;)

The final verdict?
The Circle is deserving of all our silver sparkling moons!

Full disclosure:
Review copy from the Norwegian publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and online book stores like Amazon and The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store has free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. O God, I was looking at that book and admiring it only yesterday, thinking. It's in Sweden it must be gritty and realistic, and I must read it! ;)) Also I adore the original cover - beautiful. Definitely will read The Circle, because it sounds like just my type of book. Thanks for a great review!

    1. Thanks!

      It sure is, the fantasy part of the story is more in the background in this first installment but I reckon that it will perhaps take front seat as the plot thickens :)

  2. Wow, I just love the Swedish cover! Can it look any more gorgeous than that? Totally caught my attention- I can't believe I didn't stumble across this! Thanks for the review, loved it.

    1. Awww, thank you for your kind words Varsha :)

  3. Hm.....ok maybe one day. At least I would get to read it in my own language and no translation

    1. Yes, pretty please! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on The Circle, B :) The fantasy is a bit in the background in this first novel but I do think that might be a good thing as we get to know this lil' Swedish town and it's inhabitants.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this review!
    I was just stunned by the cover haha. :]
    I am going to going to have to order it!

    1. Yaaay, you do that, Jill Marie :) I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did.

  5. (I take this in swedish, hope you will understand, cuz you are from Norway, ore? XD)

    Det svenska filmprojektet har lagts ner. Jag vet inte varför men det kommer inte att bli någon Svensk film av Cirkeln.

  6. Oh, the Swedish cover is gorgeous! It's the first time I hear about this book. And I love the "no cliffhanger" bit! Thanks for the review! :)

  7. I'm swedish so excuse my probably bad english. xD I have read the two books and can't wait for the third! They are amazing! They were very exciting and also a bit sad sometimes. I must say that i think the covers (both swedish and english)is very nice!

  8. i'm also from sweden and i heard about the movie idea. i think that they should make a tv show because the book has too mutch details to just make a movie. and if there not going to do it in sweden they should probably make an american series or british series , so it can go world wide.
    sorry for my bad english :) and i have to ask why didn't they just print the swedish cover?

  9. The little town Engelfors does'nt exist.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)