Cirkeln (The Circle) – A Review

Authors: Mats Strandberg & Sara Bergmark Elfgren
Genre: Young Adult Supernatural
Series: Trilogy
Published by: Rabén & Sjögren
Date: April 2011
Pages: 516
Primary language: Swedish
ISBN:  9129676053
5 out of 5 Stars

Engelsfors, an inconspicuous little town in the Hedemora municipality of central Sweden has more than meets the eye. The town is like all Swedish small towns, beautiful, but for a dark and eerie forest that fringes it, where people could get lost or go missing.  It is here that the eternal battle with the darkest of evil is about to take place. But before that, the ones fated to fight this battle must be chosen to give birth to the  perfect circle within which an affiliated force of supernatural power will ultimately destroy the evil. The circle cannot be completed without the allegiance of each one of the chosen ones.

Six girls. Six wildly different human beings, with only Englesfors high school common in between, find themselves facing a curious situation in their lives. Little do they know that they are the chosen ones and the road to discovering oneself is a challenging one. A place where a strange suicide cult is on the rise, the chosen ones are no way far from danger. An amorphous power slithering its black tentacles in the dark into their lives and houses creates havoc and threatens to silence them forever. Apart from school, homework, exams, heartbreaks, relationships and crushes, Minoo, Rebekka, Ida, Anna-Karin and Linnea each harbours a common secret that would destroy them all  forever if revealed. Thus, secretive Minoo, laid back Vanessa, unattractive Anna-Karin, wicked Ida, Gothic Linnea and beautiful Rebekka are forever joined in a Circle that might save them or quell them.

Cirkeln (The Circle) is the first book in the trilogy which received a major hype amongst the younger demographic in Sweden. As promised, this debut venture of two authors Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren delivers a brilliant beginning to the trilogy. The major strengths of the book are its utterly real characters. This  book is commendable for its irrefutably indubitable characters. Teenage dilemma together with familial issues are captured in a heart rending sort of way. Frightening eerie scenes are illustrated with such intensity that it certainly makes it one of the major plus points of the book.
Cirkeln is not just about a dark supernatural force bent on destroying a cozy little town and its inhabitants. It is about genuine young people with genuine problems. The protagonists are nowhere close to perfection. They are incomplete and close to damage. But it is through their incompleteness the circle strives to be born. Cirkeln is about the need to conform within a society, it is as much about shining through the darkest of tunnels, as much as it is about being defeated and being lost forever.
The transition of the story glides so smoothly that putting down the book is the hardest thing to do.

Two characters in particular, who are not the main protagonists but who are involved in the process of edifying the chosen ones, lacks credibility and consistency. The book would fare better without them but perhaps they have more significant roles to play in the upcoming books. However for the first book, the function of these two characters seemed unnecessary.

The English edition is readily available at the bookstores.

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Yoshay Lama

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