Published by HarperTeen on March 20, 2012
Keep your enemies close. . . .
For the first time since moving to New Salem, Cassie Blake feels normal. She's dating her soul mate Adam and making new friends in town. But between the secret coven of witches she belongs to and the incredible power she holds within her, Cassie is leading a far from ordinary life. When tragedy strikes the Circle, Cassie realizes being extraordinary can be a curse.
The Circle is being hunted by an unknown enemy—and anyone could be the next victim. As they struggle to protect themselves, alliances are formed and relationships are tested. No one knows who to trust or who to fear. Will Cassie be able to save the Circle . . . and herself? Or will her choices break it apart forever?
Before I begin my review, it’s important for me to talk about The Secret Circle book series in general for those who might never have read them. The Secret Circle which has also recently been made into a TV series was created by author, L.J. Smith (other works include The Vampire Diaries, Night World, etc.). L.J. Smith first wrote and published three Secret Circle novels back in the early 90′s, The Initiation, The Captive, and The Power, however this latest book: The Divide was written by Aubrey Clark, a ghostwriter. Many arguments have occurred due to L.J. Smith “losing” The Secret Circle rights, but I’d like to look past them for this review. Although I feel extremely bad for L.J. Smith losing her own series, I was still very eager to dive back into this fictional world that I love so much. Okay! now lets get onto – The Divide.
The Secret Circle: The Divide picks up very close to where book 3 ended, Black John has recently been defeated and the residents of Crowhaven road are well on their way to living a somewhat normal life well, as normal as magic-wielding teens can get. It appears that everything has reverted back to its original state with some new upsides, the circle (group of teen witches, i.e. the main characters) have come to a mutual agreement with the outsiders (non-witches) which allows them to coincide peacefully in and outside school. Cassie, with her best friend Diana’s blessing has finally been able to successfully and truthfully hookup with the boy she shares a deep connection with – Adam. Everything seems perfect until, as you can guess — ”tragedy” occurs. There’s a new enemy in town whose both dangerous and unpredictable — leading to an emotional loss and a new rise of panic. There’s a few new faces in New Salem and it’s up to Cassie and the Circle to figure out which and if the new residents are to blame for recent threats and attacks against those who dwell on Crowhaven road.
I was very skeptical going into this book, not just because it was written by a new writer. Although I longed for more Secret Circle books after the trilogy ended, I was perfectly happy with the ending L.J. Smith gave us. I feared that The Divide could hinder my feelings towards the series as a whole. However I’m happy to say that my positive thoughts for this book definitely out-way the negative. I think the ghostwriter did a pretty good job with The Divide. You can tell that she closely examined L.J. Smith’s originals books in order to get the feel for the type of writing and the actions expected by the characters. Except for one character who sadly; I feel didn’t match the original version very well, the rest were fantastically written. For example, Faye, one of Secret Circle’s most-complex characters stayed very true to her snarky and influential nature.
The original series were all about Black John, this ultimate villain that seemed almost impossible to beat, so I had to wonder how they could top him in a sequel or at least reach somewhere near his evil-level. I won’t talk about who or what the “new” villain is because it’s a main story point, but I will say that I was slightly disappointed with the reveal. There ends up being two new obstacles, one that’s not really put into full-motion yet (I’m sure that’s what book 5 The Hunt will include) but the second, in my opinion, was revealed too quick.
I know this is all very vague but one of the two villains is revealed in a big way towards the end of the book. They of course aren’t defeated yet, but I feel like they had little to no progression. It was like “all of the sudden” BAM I’m the new big bad and I’m going to destroy you. I think the book would have been slightly better if their true agenda hadn’t been released so soon.
So yes, a few things bugged me and leaves me with this book getting a 3 out of 5 star rating. However I do recommend reading this book if you love the original series, and if you haven’t read the originals, do so. Trust me. They’re good, quick, and fun reads.