LJ Smith — The Secret Circle

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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.

Comments

  1. says

    This is the series that finally got my baby sister reading for fun–and even turning off the TV in favor of books! I was a huge LJ Smith fan when I was a teen (as were my sisters, cousins, and–later–my students).

  2. The OTHER Maria says

    lol isn’t it amazing she’s still producing such good work? i read her when i was a teen nearly 10 yrs ago!!

  3. SunlessNick says

    Cassie quickly realizes why — she’s at least half-witch.

    Not to criticise this book in particular, which looks good, it would be nice to see witch handled as something besides a species – as a skill that a character can choose and develop.

  4. says

    Afternoon Maria,

    That was a nice review! Concise and clearly written, good job.

    My name is Omar W. Rosales. I’m a novelist at LLewellyn Worldwide (home to faeries, trolls, witches, and flights of fancy).

    “Elemental Shaman” is my new title about ghosts, Buddhist Masters, Maya Lords, 2012, reincarnation and Life after Death (whew!). We’d like to send you a review copy and a Promo Pak.

    Please drop me a line and we can send you one via FedRaven or UBS (United Broomstick Service) asap.

    Thanks,
    – Omar
    omar@elementalshaman.com

  5. Aoelaigh says

    Wow…I read the synopsis on the back of this at Walmart, and it sounded really good…this makes it sound pretty corny, actually, as most witch books are…as a Pagan, this kind of stuff makes me wonder…I’m still going to read it, though, just out of curiosity…

  6. Alex says

    Hello,
    I have read L.J Smith books for just 2 weeks and already got through 3!!! I have finally taken a fancy to reading for fun!!! Normally i would be happy to put a book down to watch tv but all i do is read now!!!
    I was actually going to ask whether you thought as i did that it would be interesting for a movie to made on the secret circle books… I just hope sometime in the not so distant future someone will make 1, i deffantly now 1 person who would buy it!!!

    • Maria says

      Hi Alex!

      Hehe I’m glad the books got you to read more. :)

      Here’s LJ Smith’s website. She has more Secret Circle stuff there.

      http://www.ljanesmith.net/index.php

      I know the Vampire Diaries is a TV show now… I don’t know if anyone’s talked about doing something similar for Secret Circle. I could see it being a TV show better than a movie, so you could get to know all 13 of the characters better. :)

  7. Yusari says

    The first and only books from L.J. Smith that I read and love till now.

    First read it 3/4 years ago..

    Love it much more than Harry Potter. :D

  8. Bess Rae says

    I would like to get “The Secret Circle The Captive Part II and The Power”. I live in Ontario, Canada. I have looked all over her in Barrie (my hometown) and have been unable to find it. Do you have any in stock? If so, would you please let me know so I can order it. Thanks.
    Bess Rae

    • Gategrrl says

      Bess Rae, Hathor isn’t a bookstore, but if you have a local library (and it’s still open!) perhaps you can order it through an interlibrary loan, if they have that. Or, if you have a charge card, you could order it off of Amazon.com Canada.

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