Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren Book Review

Morning mortals! Today’s book review is another one of those books that are just a little bit weird. Now if you know me well (or you’ve been following Chaininteraction for a while) you’ll know that I’m a big fan of weird. In a world of predictable fantasy fiction, anything that can make me say ‘huh?’ is good in my book. But just how weird is Weave a Circle Round?

Goodreads Summary:

Freddy wants desperately to not be noticed. She doesn’t want to be seen as different or unusual, but her step-brother Roland gets attention because he’s deaf, and her little sister Mel thinks she’s a private detective. All Freddy wants to do is navigate high school with as little trouble as possible.

Then someone moves into the house on Grosvenor Street. Two extremely odd someones.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah aren’t . . . normal. When they move in next door, the house begins to exhibit some decidedly strange tendencies, like not obeying the laws of physics or reality. Just as Freddy thinks she’s had enough of Josiah following her around, she’s plunged into an adventure millennia in the making and discovers the truth about the new neighbors.

The summary for this book sounds pretty generic. The book I actually read was drastically different from that which I was expecting. I was, in fact, pleasantly surprised by the vast majority of this book.

This actually feels more like three books rolled into one. One book is a ‘teen siblings discovering they have more in common than they expected through battling a terrible enemy’ another is ‘aren’t the neighbors a bit odd I should definitely go and investigate and get caught up in a bit of an adventure and find myself’ and the third is a time travel novel. Oh yes. There is time travel.

To be perfectly honest I expect there are a few more books in the mix here but those are the three that spoke to me. It’s so in keeping with the theme of chaos and things not quite making sense that this book works the way it does. It’s a delicate balance, I imagine some people won’t get on with the jumble of ideas collected in these pages but for me it was just right.

I haven’t read a book with a deaf character in a long while (if at all) and it was cool to see that represented, in fact all the characters in this book were fleshed out, interesting individuals. I appreciated this as sometimes in the ‘isn’t my neighbor odd?’ genre all non-neighbor characters can all blur together into ordinary. But instead we have three siblings who hate each other as siblings do, one who loves mystery novels, another who likes RPGs and our heroine Freddy. On top of that mix add the phenomenally quirky and somewhat scary Cuerva Lachance and the cynical Josiah and you have a great mix of individuals.

If I have one criticism of this book it’s that some of the elements feel a little rushed. You can skim one page a little too quickly and suddenly you miss an enormous plot element. It may be that this was deliberately to unsettle the reader and add to the sense of chaos explored in the book – if so, job well done – but I think it can make things feel less well thought through than they might otherwise. Also, a matter of personal preference but, I would have liked a little more time spent on some elements (such as the transforming house) than there was.

If you’re up for a standard adventure with a lot of quirks and twists along the way I think you’ll really enjoy this book. It was an excellent palate cleanser as well, so perhaps when you find yourself in a bit of a reading rut you could give this one a go?

My rating: 4/5 stars

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, all opinions are my own.

What say you? Is this on your tbr? Let me know in the comments below!


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