Today I am reviewing the fantasy novel, The Circle by Cindy Cipriano. When I originally scheduled the review, I thought the book was a YA fantasy. It wasn't until I read it that I realized it was middle grade. So, not quite my normal YA Friday.
Upcoming sixth-grader Callum is part Sidhe. He lives with his Sidhe mom and normal dad in the real world. His mom runs a boutique bookstore where Callum has been helping out during the summer. Just before school starts, a young girl named Laurel comes to town, but Callum notices she's wearing a token of the dark Sidhe.
As Callum gets to know Laurel, he discovers that her brother was kidnapped years ago, about the same time that his cousin Finley went missing. Together, they team up to find out what happened and how the dark Sidhe were involved.
I enjoyed the book, especially the tying together of the human world and the Sidhe world. It was fun to unravel the mystery of what happened to Laurel's brother, and then when it ties into Callum's own life, things got even more interesting. One of my favorite parts is when Callum gets to go to Sidhe school during break. I like the creative things the kids have to learn.
This book is also a complete story. We get the entire plot of Laurel and her brother wrapped up and over before moving on to the second book. Plus, the end leads to the natural plot line of what book 2 will be about- there is no guess work.
I do wish that the Sidhe world and its magic had been delved into more. I just crave those types of details. The story starts off in the mother's bookstore, and the first chapter is so amazing as it describes these wooden shelves and banisters with elven writing engraved in them. I was disappointed when the story never delved into the origins of the store or the reason the elven writing was there.
Another thing that hit me as odd, was that right up front you know that Callum's cousin Finley went missing. Callum thinks back on the great memories they made together. Then we have Laurel, who is upset about her missing brother. It seems like these events happened in the recent past, but halfway through the book I realized it happened 7 years ago when Callum and Laurel were 4. They were totally little, but previously the book made it feel like it had happened in the last year or so. I had to do a complete re-think.
There is a lot of potential here and I definitely want to read the second book.