Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Initiation by L.J. Smith

Book Details 
The Initiation by L.J. Smith
Paperback, 320 Pages
1992, Harpercollins
ISBN: 0061067121
Series:Book 1 of The Secret Circle

Seduced by the Secret Circle, a coven of young witches whose power has controlled New Salem for three hundred years, Cassie falls hopelessly in love with the leader's boyfriend and falls prey to dark powers.

I decided to read L.J. Smith's The Secret Circle series when heard it was being produced as a TV series this year. I read her Vampire Diaries series before watching the show and found I enjoyed her writing much more than I did the television version of the story. After having read the first book in The Secret Circle series, The Initiation, I found myself less than impressed and hoping the producers take some liberties with the story line in this book.

The Initiation doesn't do much to endear the reader to Cassie, the series main character. Throughout the book, she's annoying. She obnoxious about not wanting to be on summer vacation on the east coast and not liking the "friends" she's made. Honestly, why hang out with them then? If these people are so awful, why not just spend time alone or attempt to make new friends? When the grandmother she's never met needs help, she whines about wanting to home, rather than move to New Salem and help the old woman. For a brief moment, she allows that the new environment will allow her to redefine herself and admits it could be a positive thing, but them quickly falls into the role of victim - it's not her fault no one likes her, blah blah blah. Cassie finally makes a friend and it's platonic insta-love. They're sisters now, or whatever, therefore Cassie will follow her blindly and wants to join a "club" the new friend belongs to, even though the "mean girls" also belong. And of course, there's a guy, but their love is forbidden and is obviously leading to a super awkward love triangle.

The Initiation does have a strong resemblance to one of my favorite movies, The Craft, with teens using witchcraft and not always for good. While I don't expect the series to be much like the movie (especially since the movie was made after the book came out), the possibility for The Secret Circle to have witchcraft used for both good and evil motives delights me. I enjoyed all of the magical aspects of the book, especially the fact that it goes detail about the use of both herbs and crystals as opposed to depending on spells alone.

The Secret Circle series has potential, but The Initiation didn't quite wow me. Cassie is grating, much like Elena in The Vampire Diaries is. Smith's female protagonists are all too often weak and sort of stupid when it comes to both common sense and romantic entanglements. Hopefully Cassie faults will be toned down in the rest of the series as not to distract from the magical story line.



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