Just finished the first vol. of the series the Secret Circle. Smith’s an amazing YA writer — her characters are generally distinct from both one another and from other series, which is always fun. While her plots can be a bit rote, she infuses them with fresh life because of her able prose and her quirky details.
On to the plot. Cassie has to move out to Cape Cod because of MYSTERIOUS FAMILY REASONS her mother won’t tell her. After starting school, Cassie quickly realizes why — she’s at least half-witch. The coolest kids in her HS are also witches, and once she accepts this and starts chillaxing with them, she’s pretty happy.
However, when Cassie gets sucked into the politics of the coven (Diana is a goodie and wants to use magic for good, Faye is a baddie who wants to use magic for entertainment) things quickly come to a head involving teen politics, forbidden love, and the legacy of the Salem Witch Trials.
What’s neat about this series is that even though Faye is both bad and extremely sexualized, she’s not the only sexy girl character. While each of the witches is associated with an implicit archetype, the strengths and weaknesses of those archetypes are fairly well handled. Faye’s not only a sexy sexy lady, but is also a good leader. The Henderson brothers are not only references to the Wild Hunt, but are also kind and compassionate friends. Even Deborah, who’s an angry Artemis, has her moments, like when Cassie and her run off to try and run down an ancient evil, and end up scaling a fence. In heels and prom attire. The guys are all “OMG, how did you DO that?” and Deborah and Cassie are like, “Girls CAN climb fences, you know..”
The series is what it is — it’s a quick satisfying read meant for YA readers, with a formulaic plot, and a guaranteed happy ending. I’m pretty happy I finally picked it up, and it’s definitely going on my “would give to a kid” reading list.