The Circle

Overview

On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates—Vanessa, Linnéa, Anna-Karin, Rebecka, and Ida—arrive, compelled by the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida’s body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. As the weeks pass, each girl ...

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Overview

On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates—Vanessa, Linnéa, Anna-Karin, Rebecka, and Ida—arrive, compelled by the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida’s body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. As the weeks pass, each girl discovers she has a unique magical ability. They begin exploring their powers. The six are wildly different and definitely not friends . . . but they are the Chosen Ones.
 
In this gripping first installment of The Engelsfors Trilogy, a parallel world emerges in which teenage dreams, insanely annoying parents, bullying, revenge, and love collide with dangerous forces and ancient magic. An international sensation with rights sold in 26 countries, The Circle is razor-sharp and remarkable from start to finish.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in 2011, this first book in the Engelsfors trilogy follows a group of Swedish teenagers as they awaken to the supernatural horrors around them. The opening sequence draws readers into sympathy with a troubled boy named Elias, who’s desperate to connect with his best friend, Linnéa. Instead, a voice in his head drives him to graphically depicted suicide. After that, it’s somewhat difficult to commit to the many other characters, mostly female classmates of Elias, whose anomie and everyday bleakness occupy the next hundred pages. Minoo, Vanessa, Linnéa, Anna-Karin, Rebecka, and Ida have 10th grade in common, but little else. There is a point to this slice-of-life approach, but for readers drawn by the promise of magic and fate, that point may feel like a long time coming. Reluctantly bonding over the discovery that they are “Chosen Ones,” gifted with strange powers, and developing a shared conviction that Elias’s death wasn’t suicide, the girls gradually begin to act. Breathless page-turner this is not: the narrative is defined by its angst, and for readers who share it, this book will feel special. Ages 14–up. (May)
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 8 Up—This Swedish import tells the story of seven 10th graders who find themselves developing mysterious supernatural powers. After Linnéa and Minoo find their classmate Elias Malmgren dead in an unused bathroom from an apparent suicide, the girls are horrified. Just as they are coming to terms with his death, they and four other girls are drawn in by a mysterious force to an abandoned amusement park near their town. Once there, they discover that they are fated to fight an ancient evil, but they are given no other instructions or guidelines. When one of them also ends up dead, the remaining five must figure out how to use their suddenly developing powers to stop any further deaths. This meandering, overly long story drags. The authors seem to throw nearly every scenario from an afterschool special at the plot-teenage drinking, a student/teacher affair, alcoholic parents, etc.-in an attempt to make the girls' lives seem ordinary, but the effect is overwhelming. The girls are given what appears to be a guide into their new roles as witches in the form of their principal, but it quickly becomes apparent that she will not be able to give them all the help they need, so they, and readers, are quickly left frustrated and lost. With too much unnecessary detail, the real plot gets lost and many readers might give up before the conclusion.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Coming into witchy powers and learning to use them responsibly is complicated by intense teen Sturm und Drang in this doorstopper import. Heralded by bodiless demons, major evil is poised to break through to this world in the small Swedish town of Engelsfors. Seven high schoolers have been Chosen to fight this evil--which they discover after most are compelled by a never-explained force to meet in an abandoned amusement park--and later develop powers such as the ability to become invisible or to control minds. Their various paths to final, uneasy alliance are embedded in a thoroughly developed, exceptionally complex web of family issues, emotional and sexual entanglements, rivalries, hatreds, inner battles, risky personal choices and conflicting impulses that enrich the story but also make the suspenseful climactic battle with a dangerous adversary seem long in coming. Furthermore, along with killing off some of the Chosen (after they become point-of-view characters too, a knavish trick to pull on readers), the authors lazily trot in a succession of adult witches to explain matters to the survivors. They also dispel rather than intensify the atmosphere of creeping horror by turning much of the potion- and magic-making into clumsy attempts at comic relief. Muddled but ambitious, with much to please fans of character-driven fantasy; here's hoping the next two volumes proceed more smoothly. (Fantasy/horror. 13-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468308198
  • Publisher: Overlook Juvenile
  • Publication date: 1/16/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 404,907
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara B. Elfgren began her career in the film industry as a screenwriter. As a script doctor, she has been involved in several Swedish film and television productions. She has a degree in Film Studies. The Circle is her debut novel.
 
Mats Strandberg is an award-winning novelist and journalist. He is a regular columnist for Sweden’s biggest evening newspaper and has been named Columnist of the Year by Sweden’s Newspapers and Magazines organization. He has published three previous novels, with rights sold in numerous countries.

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