Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Secret Circle by L. J. Smith

The Initiation and The Captive (Part 1) (Secret Circle Series #1-2)  The Captive (Part 2) and The Power (Secret Circle Series #2-3)

The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive Part I
The Secret Circle: The Captive Part II and The Power

I needed something light, quick, and well, that didn't require a substantial intellectual investment.  These books met the above requirements and had the added bonus of having sat in my unread pile for more than a year.  This is a bonus because this year I'm trying to buy less books and make a dent in the large my pile of unread books sitting in my living room.  I bought The Secret Circle a few years ago when I heard that a television version of the show would be on the CW.  Well the show came and went before I got around to reading the book.  Happily, I can now cross them off my list. 

By them, I mean the two books I read in this series.  Or maybe it's four.  I'm not sure.  I have two books, each of which seems to contain two books.  Arguably it should be read as one book because if you stop at the first story (The Initiation) or the the first physical book (The Initiation and The Captive Part I combined) you'll be left quite satisfied.  The first story/book does not read well as a stand alone story.  The story really doesn't get resolved until the last story (The Power).

Which brings me to the story...It centers around Cassie.  She's on vacation on the east coast, with plans to head back to California in time for her junior year of high school when her mother announces that instead they are going to move to New Salem, her mother's hometown.  Soon after arriving in New Salem, Cassie learns that she comes from a long line of witches. 

There's a love story and a love triangle.  There's a battle between the forces of good and evil.  Long time enemies come together to defeat a greater enemy.  Cassie slowly sheds her shyness and learns to stand up for herself.  I can see why there was an effort to turn this story into a television show.  It is not a great book, but it met my simple reading needs at the time. 

My biggest complaint was that there wasn't enough magic.  I could get past the overly simplistic love story (Cassie and her soul mate fall in love after two conversations, both of which lasts five minutes or less), and the even more simplistic good versus evil battle (a bad guy who is purely evil with no redemptive qualities makes for minimal interesting drama), if only the mythology of witchcraft were better explained.  I mean Cassie and her friends are descendants from a long line of witches.  There should be elaborate spells and rituals.  There should be limitations on their powers and things or circumstances that enhance it.  Instead the witches just make circles in the sand and carry around crystals to enhance their (boring) powers.  I needed more of the supernatural.  Oh well, these books got me through a week when I had a lot of other stuff on my mind, and for that I'm grateful.

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