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Weave a circle round by Kari Maaren

Weave a circle round (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Kari Maaren

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1109164,337 (4.05)10
Title:Weave a circle round
Authors:Kari Maaren
Info:New York : Tom Doherty Associates, 2017.
Collections:To read
Tags:fiction, children's/YA, sff, fantasy

Work details

Weave a Circle Round: A Novel by Kari Maaren (2017)

  1. 00
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Aquila)
  2. 00
    The Changeover by Margaret Mahy (Aquila)
  3. 00
    Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones (Aquila)
    Aquila: Everything about Weave the Circle Round reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones, but the Norse link makes 8 days of Luke the most appropriate to rec.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This was the most well written fantasy I have read in a while. I had a hard time putting it down. The characters I thought were very well developed and I love the way mythology and folklore was woven into it, as well as some cultural references relevant to today. I anxiously await Kari's next story. ( )
  marysneedle | May 27, 2019 |
Excellent concept with time travel, mystery, and a chosen one trope! A purely fun read. My only two complaints: the time travel transitions were super abrupt and, at times confusing. And, for most of the time travel, I was a little unclear on the ‘quest’, the purpose behind the journeying. Which I guess was true for Freddy too, but I never really got the sense that she felt the same.

Still! Fabulous book. And, I could hear Kari’s voice all the way through which was extra bonus awesome. ( )
  Wordbrarian | Mar 5, 2019 |
This reminds me greatly of Diana Wynne Jones, which is a wonderful quality in a book. I enjoyed it completely, to the extent that I was shocked to read (here) that some others didn't like it ... I can only assume they didn't read the back cover blurb (in my edition it says "a debut fantasy adventure for fans of Madeleine L'Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, and E. L. Konigsburg" and they weren't kidding!). If you're expecting passionate teen romance (maybe one of them's terminally ill, say) then This is NOT that book. It's very much a fantasy adventure for fans of MLE, DWJ, and ELK, though I found it especially Wynne Jonesian. If that's your jam, you'll adore it.

The book is divided into three acts, essentially. I usually hate when that happens--if it were a book I was enjoying--because the second act has new characters, or a shift in plot, and I lose everyone I enjoyed so much about the first part. But in this case the second act was just as interesting and compelling as the first, and when we came around to the final third everything from before paid off in new, unexpected ways.

My favourite book this year (so far). I'm hoping Ms. Maaren has a nice long career ahead of her, so I have more to read. (Now that I'm getting older, it's weirdly comforting to think that my new favourite authors will outlive me, and I won't ever run out of their books in my lifetime, so long as they keep writing).

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
There's a lot to really enjoy in this tale of storytelling, time-travel, and best of all, using your brain, and your heart to work things out. Having grown up with books that suddenly launch children into other realities-- ones where the writer is more focused on telling a story, with twists and turns than some of the constructs that commonly are buzzed about in books of the last decade or two (why does the phrase "world-building" come to mind?) I was quite content to sit back and be Kari Maaren's audience as she unrolled her story across the pages. She gave me tools to unravel the mysteries, but I didn't realize that until well after she began to reveal the mechanics within the tale itself. And even then, I wasn't sure which way she'd take it, but was content to read on and enjoy the ride.

My one criticism might be with the pacing of the story. I found the chapters quite long, with a lot happening, but no chance for me to necessarily stop and dwell upon that, as is afforded by a chapter break. Then toward the end, when the reader enters the final timeline (trying not to give spoilers here) the pace quickened dramatically. The pacing wasn't a true deterrent, because I obviously kept reading, but I can see that it could bother some folks who need a quicker pace throughout a story. I am also a bit embarrassed I didn't recognize the literary source of the title until it slapped me in the face. My English teacher just rolled over in her grave that this happened, and that I admitted it.

One nice thing about this book was how it dealt with the issues inherent with both siblings and step siblings. Way back in another lifetime, I did my post grad thesis on stepfamilies, and included a bibliography for professionals to recommend to blended families. I would have, without hesitation, included this book on the list.

Thank you to Diana Pho, at Tor books, who sent me my copy of this book to read while recovering from a broken patella. With my leg unable to bear weight or bend, I had a lot of enforced reading time. Luckily, this book was part of my healing process. ( )
  bookczuk | Mar 25, 2018 |
I loved this. I thought I would after reading a review of it, and it's not very often I get that impression from a review -- That sounds interesting, that sounds like something I'd like, yes, but usually not a confident I am going to love this book. And then I started wondering if I was expecting too much.

Two extremely odd and mysterious people move in next door. Freddy’s sister wants to play detective, while her step-brother is weirdly insistent that they keep away from their new neighbours. However, when school goes back, Freddy finds one of the neighbours in all her in all classes, interfering with her high school survival plan of flying under the radar.

This reminded me of (some of) Diana Wynne Jones’ novels -- it's a very similar blend of eccentric characters, magical shenanigans, mythology, commentary on storytelling, a relatable portrayal of growing up (and character growth!) and of difficult family dynamics, and a modern-day setting. I can't think of another author who has a blend of those elements that’s so close to Jones’. I was delighted by this (I love Jones’ stories), but I also like that the similarities seem coincidental rather than deliberate imitation. Weave a Circle Round has its own style and its own narrative priorities. Such as a thoughtful and matter-of-fact inclusion of disabilities, and an interesting exploration of who is “chosen” -- and what being “chosen” in this sort of fantasy story looks like. (And I can’t say more without spoiling things.)

I was impressed with the way this has an epic scope -- involving time-travel, history and mythology -- yet at the same time, it remains tightly focused. Maaren makes every detail count, without relying on contrived coincidences. Weave a Circle Round is such a perfect title for this story on more than one level.

I am really interested to see what Maaren writes next.

She should have remembered that nothing could be worse than school.
She always forgot. She never truly wanted to go back to school in September, but the summer tended to mute the horror. The first day of school even seemed kind of exciting, a change of pace from the parade of Mel’s and Roland’s larger-than-life friends and the anger that was forever making her want to lock herself in her room and pull the covers over her head. But school was… well, it was school. There were black holes that caused, on a daily basis, less terror.
( )
  Herenya | Mar 9, 2018 |
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Freddy just wants to get through high school, but she finds herself thousands of years in the past with her weird neighbors.

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