The Secret Circle
By L. J. Smith
The Initiation and the Captive Part 1
In this, the bind up of The Initiation and The Captive Part 1, is the start of Cassie's story. Forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England, Cassie is homesick - until she forms a bond with a group of teenagers at her school. This clique rules the school - no one dare cross them - but Cassie feels a strange kinship with them, and when she is initiated into their 'secret circle' she is both terrified and thrilled to be part of a coven of witches that have controlled New Salem for hundreds of years...But then Cassie falls in love. Now she has a tough decision to make: does she walk away, or does she step over to the dark side?
The Captive Part 2 and the Power
Now that Cassie is part of the most alluring and deadly clique imaginable, she is starting to realise that power comes with a price - more dangerous than she knows. Torn between the dueling desires of the two leaders of the Secret Circle, Cassie is struggling again. Does she use her considerable supernatural power to save lives, or does she put all her energy into keeping Adam, the boys she loves. Cassie's relationship with Adam is threatening to tear the circle apart, so where does Cassie's loyalty, and strength, truly lie? Is she brave enough to lead the coven out of danger? Or will she fall prey to the darkness..?
I originally got these two because I liked the series, which got cancelled (shakes my fist at the CW). I was hoping for a little more on the characters that I had started to enjoy from the show. Now I've always been one to say that books are better than the adaptations made from them and here it is true. It is also true to say that you should watch a Tv show or movie made from a book first, so that you can enjoy it as a separate entity to the book that spawned it. This is doubly true as I can see now how many changes were made for the television script. If I had read these two books first, I would have been found watching the Tv series and nit picking. For example from the books to the Tv series, Diana and Cassie swap hair colours. Also New Salem is renamed Chance Harbour for Tv and placed in Washington State rather than in New England. You can also see where characters from the books have been blended to make the circle a group of six instead of twelve like it is in the book.
That said, I really enjoyed both books. I read them in one afternoon which shows they are good, but I was able to put them down, there are a few passages here and there that I found I could put my bookmark in and go do something else for a while. The book are more true to the old religion than the Tv series, there is a lot more about Wicca as a religion and the aspects within which I found interesting. Don't get me wrong these witches still do magic but not in the flashy "lets make things explode in fire" way of the Tv series. Its a subtler more natural portrayal of a power that comes from a strong connection the the underlying current that flows through the earth. My favourite characters were Nick, Faye and of course Cassie herself. I found Diana to be a bit wishy washy, too good to be true. There is a point in the book where I was yelling at her "come on get mad for christ sake" but she wouldn't do that, she is too understanding and compassionate. I also liked that in the books, the whole evil father thing (which we see in way too many things these days) was played more subtly that in the Tv show. Also John Blake aka "Black John" wasn't the serial sperm donor that the series made him out to be. His character was a lot more believable in the books.
I give Secret Circle (all its parts) ****/5