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The Circle: Book One of The Sidhe by Cindy…

The Circle: Book One of The Sidhe

by Cindy Cipriano

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Calum is nervous about starting sixth grade and can't get rid of his guilty feelings over the mysterious disappearance of his cousin, Finley. He's also feeling worried about his diminishing sidhe powers. When a new girl shows up in town, he doesn't expect to make friends with her and is surprised when he finds himself making a threesome with Laurel and his cousin Hagen. But Laurel's odd behavior around Hagen causes problems, there are new bullies at school to deal with, and mysterious whisperings of something wrong in the faerie mounds. Will Calum ever find Finley and discover Laurel's secret?

This story has a good basic plot; stolen kids, machinatons among the sidhe, and a magical bookstore. The author's experience as a middle school teacher shows through in realistic touches of how middle school kids think and feel. Overall, it shows promise for a debut author.

However, nothing really happens until the last chapter. There's a lot of dialogue and a lot of new names, almost every paragraph it feels. I felt like I never really got to know any of the characters and there were a lot of different plot points that petered off into nothing. Calum's changing friendship with Arlen, the bullying Sloan siblings, and Calum's various sidhe relatives with their familial and political issues are all touched on briefly and detract from the main plot of the story. The reader doesn't get a good feel for the fantasy element/sidhe world of the story and it's frustrating to have bits of information dribbled out here and there, half a chapter of action, and no real resolution for the story.

Verdict: There are promising points, but it needs stronger world-building and a lot of editing of characters and plot points to refine it. I did appreciate that it was a shorter book - it's hard to find middle grade titles that aren't over 300 pages anymore. The cover is not very eye-catching and the book is only available on Amazon (i.e. not available on my vendor Baker and Taylor). If you have really rabid faerie fans they might be willing to pick this up, but otherwise I'd stick with Michelle Harrison's 13 Treasures series, Magicalamity by Kate Saunders, and Laura Sullivan's Under the Green Hill for serious faerie fans. I do think this author shows promise and I'd be interested in seeing what she could do with a realistic fiction book about middle school, as those were the parts of the story that seemed strongest.

ISBN: 9781922200044; Published 2013 by Odyssey; ARC provided by author for review
  JeanLittleLibrary | Aug 18, 2013 |
Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Ariel

First of all, this was a great debut novel for Cindy Cipriano. The first few pages were a little slow, but by the end of the first chapter I was hooked. Cipriano introduces an amazing world of magic with the Sidhe and she keeps readers guessing as Calum tries to find out what happened to his cousin Finley.

One of the things that really intrigued me about the novel was the fact that it’s full of Irish phrases, which can be a little tricky at first but there is a pronunciation guide on the book’s website, www.thesidheseries.com. I always get fascinated whenever something European is involved, so this was a huge plus for me.

Something else that I found really interesting about the novel was the fact that there were different clans of Sidhe and each clan has their own token and their own verse, and I don’t think we’ve been introduced to all of the clans yet, so I am looking forward to the possibility of that in future books in the series.

The characters are fantastic, Calum is your typical 11 year old boy (aside from being a Sidhe of course) and he’s an extremely easy character to relate to. Apart from anything magical going on in the novel, Calum is, like a lot of children, nervous about middle school. He meets Laurel, a human girl, and is reluctant to be friends with her because she is a girl. His best friend is hanging out with other kids, bullies, and the two are drifting apart. It is an extremely real telling of this particular time in a kid’s life, Sidhe or otherwise.

That being said, the interactions between Calum and Laurel are really enjoyable, the awkward just getting to know someone new right before starting a new school situation is done really well. Hagen, Calum’s cousin, is a great character as well. He and Calum act more like brothers than they do cousins, and Hagen is just as dedicated to finding Finley as Calum is. There are family trees in the back of the book, which come in handy and I wish I would have checked the back of the book before I read the whole book because it can be a little difficult at times to keep track of who is related to who and how they are related.

There are still some things that seem a little mysterious that I am looking forward potentially being explained in the rest of the series. Something still seems a little suspicious with Laurel to me (you’ll understand once you read the book) and of course, the book ends on a cliff hanger leaving lots of room for the next novel.

I’m giving The Circle 5/5 game controllers. It was a great read, something that I thoroughly enjoyed, and definitely would have enjoyed when I was younger. Fantastic debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more. ( )
  momgamerwriter | Jul 17, 2013 |
A young boy discovers a new friend during the summer before sixth grade and a key to a family mystery. Could the girl be tied to his missing cousin? Why does she know things about his people that no human should? There are too many questions for one boy to answer alone.

This was a very enjoyable read. The story moved along at a relatively fast pace with a plot that had many layers. You start out thinking that the story is about a boy in school, then his missing cousin, then the strange stone, then ... so many other incidents that don't add up until you get to the end.

The characters are well-done. They are complex as they deal with their own feelings, peer pressure, and family expectations. These are sixth graders mostly, and they have complicated lives just like adults. The author goes into all that. Sadly, I had too many memories of my sixth grade pop back up as she described their lives in school and the interactions with their classmates.

This is a paranormal story as the boy and his family are fairies and have magical abilities. They live in the human world but can travel to their own world whenever they like. The problem is that not all fairies get along.

I read this book in one sitting. Usually for this age group I don't get that involved, but this one had me wondering about the new girl, the stone, the many weird events. They kept coming at me at a steady and interesting pace. I just had to get to the end where I was very upset. I immediately wanted the next book. (This is payback for my own endings, I think.) All I can do is beg the author to get it released. I want to put it on my to-read list. :)

Note: This book was provided to be as part of a virtual book tour with no expectations of a positive review. ( )
  RebeccaGraf | May 16, 2013 |
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Calum Ranson is sure of three things: his cousin Finley is alive, Calum will find him, and no one knows Calum and his family are Sidhe. No one until Laurel shows up at his mother's bookstore wearing a dark clan's mark. When Calum learns the details surrounding the disappearance of Laurel's brother, he suspects the evil Hobayeth clan. Calum and Laurel work together in the Realm of Man and the Otherworld to rescue her brother-revealing a connection between Calum and Laurel that may cost Finley his life.… (more)

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