Elfgren & Strandsberg’s The Circle

             The Circle is the first in a supernatural trilogy by Swedish authors Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandsberg. The novel follows a group of teens who develop magical abilities following the death of a classmate. Elfgren and Strandsberg put a supernatural twist on the trope of strangers banding together to overcome insurmountable odds, in this case, a demon trying to bring about the end of the world.

I enjoyed The Circle because the authors successfully took the familiar (high school, teenage rivalries, sexual orientation) and made it strange and frightening. There were some instances where I felt some of the effectiveness of the prose was lost in the English translation, but overall the dialogue and descriptions were strong.

The thing I found most interesting about The Circle was that it didn’t feel like a story written by two authors. The characters’ voices remained consistent throughout the novel. Written in present tense, with a third person limited point-of-view, the narration switches back and forth between some (but not all) of the main characters. I found it very interesting that Elfgren and Strandsberg chose to narrate from the point of view of a character up until the moment of that character’s death, as was the case with Elias and Rebecca. Overall, I believe Minoo is the novel’s true protagonist; her story seemed to be the core which the other characters connected to. Also, the origin of her power remained a mystery even at the end of the novel.

Prepare to feel unsatisfied by the cliff-hanger ending. Readers will be chomping at the bit until the second novel is translated into English (or you learn to read Swedish).

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