Dewey's Read-a-thon Check-in: I read The Initiation which was an ebook and had 268 pages. I started at 12;45 pm and ended at 6:20 pm.(Note this ebook also has book two titled The Captive Part 1) Oh and I loved reading it as an ebook! I thought I would hate it but I have carpal tunnel and I didn't have to grip the book. I could just rest it on my thighs and have both hands free.
I hate to write reviews that have spoilers but with this book it's hard to review it without giving some away. So if you don't want any spoilers, please turn back now.
While at her summer home in Cape Cod, Cassie meets a strange boy who can read minds and whom she falls instantly in love with and believes she is destined to be with. She also spontaneously remembers a spell from her memory or a past life while out on pier. Did the boy set off her newfound powers or is just a really contrived coincidence?
Cassie then learns that she is not going to be returning home but her mother is taking her to stay with her grandmother in a town called...wait for it...New Salem. She can't stop thinking about how much her crone of a grandmother looks like an ugly witch. Come on L.J. Smith! Was the cliche of an old ugly witch, wart and all really necessary? You lost a bit of credibility there with that cliche. (Actually the entire novel reeks of cheese.)
There she meets a gang of nasty girls that are led by a girl name Faye that bully her but is saved by a girl she has admired from afar and wants to get to know named Diana. This girl befriends her and she discovers that the bullies and Diana are all actually part of a mysterious "Club." The girls show off their strange powers and Cassie soon suspects that they are witches. There is an opening in "The Club" aka The Secret Circle and Cassie wants nothing more to be chosen to join. There's an opening because the girl who was supposed to be chosen is murdered. Dun dun dunnn! The witches suspect it was done by an Outsider aka a Muggle. (L.J. Smith does not actually use the term "muggle." Cassie is also half muggle so I wonder if that plays a part in the series.) All the adults in the town think the girl's death was just an unfortunate accident.
Well actually Cassie does want something more. She wants to meet the strange boy she fell in love with who turns out to be her new best friend's boyfriend! This was sooo obvious the moment Diana said her boyfriend "was away." Cassie spends all her time feeling sorry for herself and neurotically obsessing about needing to belong. She latches herself onto Diana in a way that makes me cringe. Diana will protect me! I can get through anything as long as Diana is there! It's not healthy. Not at all.
All the girls (the nasty ones and Diana and her friends) in the Circle know that Cassie is actually a hereditary witch and spend about 5 seconds mourning the death of their friend (And sister. Two boys in the Circle were her older brothers.) before deciding to initiate Cassie. They are so grateful that she has moved there so the Circle can be completed. Isn't it just a contrived...I mean amazing coincidence that there's a spare witch when one gets offed? Lucky them. They then explain Cassie's heritage and how the original witches of Salem escaped and moved to a town where they would be safe. Outsiders only live there because witches allow them to.
After the initiation Adam suddenly returns and Cassie realizes who he is and is devastated. She decides to keep her crush a secret. David has finally found one of the original Salem witches tools called the lost Master Tools. It's a crystal skull that was used by an evil witch named Black John who was a leader of the original coven. Faye wants to "activate" the skull but Diana the temporary leader refuses because it's too dangerous. However, Faye wants to be the permanent leader of the Circle and blackmails her into doing a ritual with the skull. The ritual accidentally releases an evil entity (hello, setup for the antagonist in the next book) and causes the group to disagree about how to handle what has happened.
Worried that an Outsider might attempt to kill them too, they all travel in pairs and Adam is told by Diana to walk Cassie home after the ritual. Cassie has been avoiding Adam because she feels pretty guilty about being in love with her best friends guy (whom she's known for what, two days?) Now Cassie and Adam are unable to avoid each other. One thing leads to another...then yada yada yada...Adam realizes he's in love with Cassie too and makes out with her. Both decide they don't want to betray Diana and vow never to be involved again.
But this just isn't any vow. They make a blood pact with the Powers (elements) that if they break their vow that they will be cursed. The curse says "fire burn me, air smother me, earth swallow me, and water cover my grave." Oh for goodness sakes, I've never found the melodramatic death of Romeo and Juliet believable and that was written by Shakespeare! This is quite possibly the most melodramatic guilt trip I have ever read in my life. I know they're teenagers but may the universe strike me dead if I kiss my best friend's boyfriend? Come on now!
Cassie goes home thinking her secret is safe but then discovers that the nasty Faye knows what has happened and now is making Cassie do whatever she wants or will tell Diana about what happened. Faye calls it holding her "captive" which is the title of book two and three in the series.
I suppose maybe I'm being way to hard on this book. It's a YA supernatural romance and meant to be fun, right? I am willing to chalk it up to a cheesy but somewhat entertaining read up until the "universe strike me dead if I kiss my best friend's boyfriend" part. That was just over the top and utterly ridiculous. Still it kept me reading to the end and in one sitting so despite the melodramtic cheese it wasn't all bad. My rating
It does make me want to watch the tv show but I've read the book is different than the show. That's disappointing because I would love to see that melodramatic universe strike me down scene. Yeah, you got me. It's so I can make fun of it.