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Review on Books about Witches and Wiccans: Teen Fiction Series “Circle of Three”

Updated on August 26, 2016
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

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

Circle of Three.
Circle of Three. | Source

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

Excerpt

"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
Blurb
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.

The Bad

  • 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 Good

  • 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.

"Z" Series

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright

Comments

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    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Wicca by Cate Tiernan? In the US it was released under the name Sweep (don't ask me why). Circle of three is much more true to Wicca than Tiernan's series was (who I'm sure you noticed, did no research and made things up as she went along). Thanks Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      I remember reading a series called Wicca a few years ago, seems very similar, so I am definitely going to look out for it, thanks for the great review!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Hi Billy; I never attempted a book on Wicca. When I started writing, the small market was saturated with Wicca books -- good, bad and ugly -- due to Wicca getting attention in pop culture. My first attempts at starting a writing career was to submit to magazines to see if I could even cut the mustard, and it quickly became as steady income. Then I began ghost writing. I never wanted to go the self-publishing route myself because I hate marketing with a passion, and frankly I suck at it; plus these days there are tons of self-published Wicca books, and the majority of people are having a hard time giving them away.

      My real hope is to break into the children's fiction market. I my degrees and background before writing are in working with children and have a real love for children's lit. Now that my youngest kids are old enough that I don't need me to be on top of them and chauffeuring them around anymore I'm thinking more of my own career, but financially I'm not in a place where I can give up the steady income so fiction writing on the side is coming along very slowly. So far the picture books I've completed have only gotten rejection but I'm still submitting. I'm working on a young adult fantasy novel as well.

      Ugh, I woke up this morning and looked at my work load for the week and cringed; as much as I'm grateful that I've gotten stead work over the years, I am so burnt out on ghostwriting non-fiction. I would give anything for even one of my picture books to get me a decent enough advance to not have to work on ghostwriting projects for a couple of months so I can really put all my focus on my fiction works and start getting them out.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Thanks VV, my daughter is in her 20s and still has the series on her book shelf.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      4 years ago from Fountain, CO

      I used to love all of these books when I was younger! :) Talk about sparking my imagination and all of the games I played at the time! Nice review!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It seems to me that this would be a specialty genre that a writer could find success in....narrowed enough to guarantee readers provided you are good enough. Are you trying it? Have you written a wicca book?

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