Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Three smart young women—the scholarly Ruth, her poet roommate Lucy, and their exotic, provocative neighbor Anna—are obsessed with games of all kinds. They’ve devoted themselves to both the academic study of play and the design of games based on the secret history of the neighborhood around Columbia University, from Grant’s Tomb to the former insane asylum that once stood where the campus is now. When Anna’s mysterious brother Anders gets involved and introduces live-action role-playing based on classic Greek tragedy, theory goes into practice and the stakes are raised. Told in a variety of formats—including Gchat and blog posts—that bring the fraught drama of Euripides screaming into the 21st century, The Magic Circle is an intellectual thriller like no other."

My Thoughts:

The Magic Circle was one of those books that is hard to define for me.  It started off slowly for me in the beginning because I didn't really connect with any of the characters.  But by the second part of the book I was truly hooked and had to see how everything was going to end.  The author focused much of this book around gaming and all different kinds of aspects related to gaming.  Seeing as I have a ten year old that LOVES to play games of all kinds, I definitely could relate to that aspect.  I just had a really hard time connecting to the characters.  I liked Lucy the most and I thought that the author did a really good job of making her come across realistically.  But I didn't care for Ruth at all for various different reasons and I especially didn't care for her after reading the portion that was narrated by her.  She just seemed to rub me the wrong way.  Anna on the other hand was a constant mystery to me which was intriguing....I never ever knew what to expect from her.  I liked that and I wanted to learn more about her.  I also liked the fact that we never quite knew if we could trust Anna and her motivations.  Was she telling the truth?  Or was she the person that her brother painted her out to be?  The book does start off slowly but it picks up steam after Anna's brother Anders comes into the picture.  I could just tell that there wasn't going to be a happy ending by then, but even I was surprised at the end.  The author left a lot to question and think about when the book was finished but she did it in a way that I was actually okay with.  I wanted more but I wasn't disappointed that it wasn't there.  This was a haunting read that left me thinking about it long after I finished.

Overall, it was an okay read for me bordering on good.  There were things I enjoyed and there were things I didn't like.  I'm a HUGE character person so my biggest issue was that I couldn't connect with the characters.  But sometimes you are going to have that and I don't know that the author meant for us to really connect with any of them.  I liked the mysterious ending that gave closure without tying everything up.  It left me wondering and wanting more.  I think that I would read more books by this author in the future based purely on the second half of the book which was quite gripping.  Recommended but with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  A good read but one that never fully captured me.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  The thoughts are my own. 


  1. Sam, it sounds as if you enjoyed this book, overall. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts.

  2. Although it sounds like you had mixed feelings about this, I have to say it sounds really interesting! Mainly because of the "told in a variety of formats" thing. I'm a sucker for anything remotely like an epistolary novel.

  3. I need character connection too, but this sounds like a good read.

  4. Suko- I did think it was a good read...I just didn't think that it was great. If that makes sense. LOL!

    Jenny- I'm not sure that it could be considered an epistolary novel but I did like the variety of formats. Some of them worked more than others but it made the book more interesting!

    Naida- I'm HUGE, HUGE, HUGE on character connection so I really hate when I can't connect. That being said overall it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book which is important :)

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one for the tour.


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