The Circle (The Engelsfors Trilogy, #1) by Mats Strandberg. Translated by Sara Bergmark Elfgren

The Circle was an excellent and gritty urban fantasy. It was dark enough that I would hesitate to classify it as young adult. It is about a group of close friends and magic.

It reminded me of that 1996 film, The Craft, which, as you will recall, is about a group of angst-y high school friends who find out that they’re witches and have to deal with all of the issues that go along with that. There’s drama, danger and magic… oh my!

For such a large cast of characters, Strandberg does an amazing job fleshing them all out. Each has their own unique feel, story, and interests. At first, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to tell Vanessa from Linnea from Minoo but that never happened.

Strandberg also deftly captures the high school girls’ attitudes and hang ups. He makes you love each one of them with their failures and unrealized potential. I believed in the characters and was cheering for them the whole time. It takes talent to create that level of emotional bonding with a cast of protagonists. Strandberg nails it.

There’s a lot of surprises in store for the readers who pick this up. Not to spoil anything, but you may want to have some tissues around if you’re a sensitive type.

I think that the best part about this trilogy is that all three books have already been published. They were originally written in Swedish. It took a couple years to be translated into English, but aren’t we lucky?

Also, in early 2015, this book was made into a film so there’s no waiting on that either. Awesome.

For people with triggers or appropriate reading material concerns, there’s some intense murder and cutting scenes, bullying, language, a near rape and a bunch of underage sex (but not overly graphic like Paper Princess). Mature young adults could probably handle it, probably 16+. It’s up to the parents, but read responsibly.

If you enjoyed The Circle, you may enjoy The Magicians by Lev Grossman or Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.

I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. FTC guidelines: check!

And, thanks for reading!

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