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Review on Books about Witches and Wiccans: Teen Fiction Series “Circle of Three”
Teen Wicca Book
Circle of Three by Isobel Bird is a teen fiction series about an unlikely friendship between three teenage girls that arises out of a common interest: Wicca and Witchcraft. Together, the girls go through a year and a day of study, taking a class on Wicca put on by the local Pagan shop.
My daughter brought this book to me years ago when she was a teen. It was part of our family ‘book club’ and it was her turn to make a selection. Having grown up in a Wiccan/Pagan family, and one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever known, she was always very disappointed in the way Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism were handled in teen fiction. Not that she necessarily was looking for religious books, but she was tired of the authors exploiting our religion, creating confusion about it, perpetuating nonsense about it that made her want to bang her head on the wall. Circle of Three was different and she found it refreshing to be able to read a book that portrayed Wicca accurately.
First Book of the Series
Characters in Circle of Three
The Circle of Three series features three main characters. Each one seems to fall into one of your typical high school stereotypes:
- Kate Morgan is a fairly popular girl at school. She's on the girl's basketballteam and is in a clique of friends who fawn over jocks and fashion.
- Cooper Rivers is a mild rebel and very creative. She's in a band and very musically inclined. She also exhibits some psychic gifts that seem to have been passed down in the family.
- Annie Crandall is a brainy introvert. Her parents having died in a tragic crash, she and her younger sister live with their aunt. She's a nurturer who tries to please everyone, sometimes at the expense of her own needs.
Through the series, the girls work on their friendship as well as on themselves. Wicca and Witchcraft is woven into all aspects of their lives as they make mistakes, confront their problems and learn some lessons along the way.
The first two books of the series are told from Kate's point of view. The third book is from Cooper's point of view, and the next is from Annie's perspective. After that, point of view jumps between each of the girls who all have a distinct voice.
Teen Wicca Realistically Portrayed
Circle of Three was different than any teen fiction I’d ever read on Wicca or Witchcraft. It wasn’t just trying to exploit the name Wicca for its popularity; the author actually made an effort to portray our religion realistically. It was clear from the beginning that the author had experience with the Pagan community, as well as intricate understandings of both Wicca and the Craft.
The book was written by Michael Thomas Ford under the pen name 'Isobel Bird'. Indeed, Ford is a long-time member of the Pagan community and author credited with over 50 books. Other works by Ford include Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me, Paths of Faith: Conversations about Religion and Spirituality and Living a Magical Life.
Something Wicca This Way Comes
"Merry meet," Anya said, stepping forward. "You have taken the first step onto the path. It will be the first of many. For the next year and a day, through one full turn of the Wheel of the Year, you will be travelers in the realm of the Lady and the Lord. They will greet you in many forms. They will answer your questions, and they will ask questions of you. Tonight you come before us, your community, to tell us what gifts you bring on this journey and what you hope to find at its end. Each of you will be called to speak. You will then be given a light to help you see your way on the path, as well as a word of power. This word represents one of your challenges for the year. Now, who will be the first to come to the cauldron?"
- Circle of Three: Merry Meet (book 2); p 188.
Wheel of the Year
The Significance of a Year & a Day
In Wicca, there is significance to the time period a year-and-a-day. This is a traditional period for studying Wicca before initiation.
A year and a day is not a random time period. The point is that you have dedicated yourself to learning the religion and given it at least one full year of your life. It's a full turn of the "Wheel of the Year." You go through a complete cycle of the seasons, learning about it through a Wiccan perspective, before making any decisions.
What's the Wiccan Wheel of the Year? Learn about it here.
Circle of Three Series
Book & Title
1 - So Mote It Be
A love spell from a library book goes awry; the caster desperately seeks the other two strangers who previously checked out the book to seek if they can help set things right.
2 - Merry Meet
A book of spells brings together three girls who make an unlikely trio. Together, they seek a new path.
3 - Second Sight
A missing girl cries out in a mystical way for help to the three Wiccans-in-training who might help her. A mystery to solve a kidnapping ensues.
4 - What the Cards Said
The alluring power of the tarot threatens the trio's friendship.
5 - In the Dreaming
Midsummer Eve is a night of magic with unexpected experiences and lessons to be learned.
6 - Ring of Light
One of the girls becomes disillusioned with Wicca after being shaken at Midsummer.
7 - Blue Moon
Aspecting a Goddess had unexpected results.
8 - the Five Paths
Controversy arises when there is an uproar at school over a student wearing a pentagram.
9 - Through the Veil
Samhain is a particularly difficult time for one of the girls, who's suffered a loss.
10 - Making the Saint
Exploring other religions, one of the girls struggles with controlling her emotions.
11 - The House of Winter
The trio and their Wiccan group are snowbound in the mountains for the Winter Solstice.
12 - Written in the Stars
Lessons in astrology reveal a questionable future for the trio.
13 - And it Harm None
The girls learn a lesson about the Threefold Law and karma when they try to help a friend.
14 - The Challenge Box
One of the girls is unsure of what path she wants to take beyond her initiation.
15 - Initiation
Hard work pays off as the girls celebrate their initiation and their friendship after a year and a day is over.
- There is some hocus-pocus. The initial spell that sets off the chain of events of the book is kind of ridiculous, and garners very ridiculous results. The girls do run into some fantasy creatures. Anyone reading it should take such things with a grain of salt. While this gives an idea of what learning Wicca is like, it's not meant as an instructional guide.
- Secondary and minor characters seem to remain little more than caricatures and are not very well developed. Considering there are 15 books, it's a shame.
- The stories (perhaps by the publisher's demands) are a little on the white-washed side. If you're looking for dark and gritty teen angst, you won't find it here. While the characters do face some tough issues, it's more Sweet Valley High than Cut or Speak.
- The writing is not exemplary. The author uses passive voice more than is necessary. Sometimes it drags on, sometimes it's choppy.
- The main characters are interesting and for the most part, likable. You don't mind taking their journey with them.
- Circle of Three portrays Wicca as an ethical religion rather than just the practice of magic. This in itself is very refreshing for me.
- There are some beautifully written rituals and classes, and young teen Wiccan hopefuls can have a more realistic view of what the Pagan community is like.
- Despite the fact that they start off as high school stereotypes, the characters are developed to have depth and dimension over the series; their growth is realistic-- they don't turn into "super Witches". They do get to a point where they can learn from the past and decide what direction they want to go.
- There's 15 books and a lot of story to cover, which is always a plus for me when I'm enjoying a series.
© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright