Cirkeln - Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren

CirkelnCirkeln by Mats Strandberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I read Cirkeln now and I think I have to upgrade it to a five-star rating. Because this is a book you don't forget, it's a book that stays with you and it is one where you end up waiting anxiously for the sequel to come out so you can know what happens, and for the translations to come out so you can pimp it like mad to your english reading friends.

Another writer and fan, Nene Ormes, coined the term rural fantasy when talking about this book and it is very appropriate. It plays on the same field as the urban fantasy crowd but the setting is a small town in the Middle of Nowhere, Sweden (aka Bergslagen) instead of a bustling big city. And it works. It works really damn well. One reason for this is that the characters feel real, even when they are using magic.

The basic premise is this, several young people in the small (ficional) town of Engelsfors get the gift of magic. What they can do is related to the element they are attuned to and this first book is about them learning to handle those powers and in the process defeating evil. If you think it reminds you of Buffy you are not wrong (The authors have said on several occasions that they are fans of the Sunnydale crew) but this is so much more than that. It comes into it's own through believable characters with both strengths and faults, through an engaging story, through a new twist on handling magic. They manage to surprise me with several turns and if I did suspect something and it came true there was something in that reveal that I couldn't have guessed.

I am really looking forward to the sequel to this and I think everyone without a severe allergy to the paranormal should read Cirkeln.

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