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Weave a Circle Round

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The unexpected can move in next door

Freddy wants desperately to not be noticed. She doesn't want to be seen as different or unusual, but her step-brother Roland gets attention because he's deaf, and her little sister Mel thinks she's a private detective. All Freddy wants to do is navigate high school with as little trouble as possible.

Then someone moves into the house on Grosvenor Street. Two extremely odd someones.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah aren't . . . normal. When they move in next door, the house begins to exhibit some decidedly strange tendencies, like not obeying the laws of physics or reality. Just as Freddy thinks she's had enough of Josiah following her around, she's plunged into an adventure millennia in the making and discovers the truth about the new neighbors.

367 pages, Paperback

First published November 28, 2017

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About the author

Kari Maaren

4 books69 followers
Kari Maaren is a Canadian writer, cartoonist, and musician who lives in Toronto with a large collection of musical instruments and a larger collection of books. Her first novel, a YA science fantasy entitled Weave a Circle Round, will be coming out from Tor in the fall of 2017.

She also has a completed webcomic, West of Bathurst, and a new one, It Never Rains. West of Bathurst has been immortalised in an enormous print collection that is heavy enough to use as a weapon. Her two albums, Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and Everybody Hates Elves, are geeky in nature. She has won Aurora Awards for her music and comics.

Kari teaches English courses at the university level. She is currently waving at the students who have just done searches on her name.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 279 reviews
Profile Image for Justine.
1,112 reviews301 followers
December 8, 2017
4.5 stars

Wow, this was a really excellent and engaging book. It went so many unexpected places, and was very satisfying to read. Themes of family and self identity are nicely woven into a mystery adventure tale in the speculative fiction genre. The writing flows nicely, complimented by humorous dialogue and multi-dimensional characters. The kids are very much kids, and all the more interesting for it.

There was a lot about this book that reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and also When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, so if you liked either of those you should definitely check out Weave a Circle Round. This would be a great book for middle grade readers as well as older kids and adults who enjoy YA. A lovely and impressive debut novel that was worth the time it took to come to publication.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,008 reviews2,597 followers
December 18, 2017
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/12/17/...

Weave A Circle Round was a book I’d been really looking forward to, but I realized almost as soon as I picked it up that it was going to be very different from what I had in mind. As a result, I found it to be a difficult read, though to be fair, my struggle with it was not so much in a “this is a terrible book” kind of way, but rather more in the sense that “This isn’t what I signed up for, and I want off this ride.”

And to be honest, this story did feel a little like a roller coaster—albeit a nauseatingly chaotic one which would get bogged down and stuck at times. It follows fourteen-year-old Freddy, an awkward freshman who just wants to get through the next four years of high school without drawing too much attention. At home, she also prefers spending time by herself, making little effort to get to know her stepbrother Roland, who is deaf, or to get involved in her little sister Mel’s interests. Their parents are never around, so the kids are mostly left on their own to take care of themselves.

Then one day, a woman and a teenage boy move into that peculiar house down on Grosvenor Street. There’s only one word that can describe Cuerva Lachance and Josiah: Strange. Impossible things seem to happen whenever they’re around, and nothing they say ever seems to make any sense. True to form, Freddy wants nothing to do with her new neighbors, but to her horror, Josiah turns up at her school the next day, and he’s in all her classes. Suddenly, all her efforts to stay under the radar are going out the window as Josiah seems bent on making a spectacle of himself in front of all the students and teachers while dragging a mortified Freddy along with him. Very soon, it becomes clear that Cuerva Lachance and Josiah are more than just a couple of your typical run-of-the-mill weirdos—they might not even be completely mortal. And for some reason, they seem way too interested in Freddy, Mel, and Roland.

Beyond this, it’s really hard to describe the story without giving away some serious spoilers, so I’ll just leave one more little tiny nugget of detail here: Weave A Circle Round involves time travel. And yet, it’s not really a time travel book—at least in not in any conventional sense. Although we get to travel through a time portal, visiting such places and time periods such as Prehistoric China or Medieval Sweden, at its heart this book is a coming-of-age tale about growing up, accepting yourself, becoming a better person. As such, it wasn’t too surprising to find a lot of YA themes.

That said, my main issue with Weave A Circle Round was the overall juvenile tone of the story, specifically the adolescent voice of the protagonist making this book feel more Middle Grade than Young Adult. By itself, this wouldn’t have been an insurmountable problem, as I actually quite enjoyed the mystery of the earlier chapters. Unfortunately, the childishness combined with the hot mess that was the time traveling sections eventually crushed my interest in the book’s second half. Moreover, the dialogue and antics of Cuerva Lachance and Josiah were so absurd that the characters came across more idiotic than endearing, making them both extremely unlikeable.

Granted, I don’t always do well with “weird” books, and this one really tested my limits in that regard. There was just too much going on, with all these topics ranging from classic English poetry to Norse mythology simply thrown together without much coherence. The book’s themes of chaos vs. order also meant that the plot itself involved a fair bit of confusion, and at times I found it sluggish and hard to follow.

All told, while Weave A Circle Round had a few high points, ultimately it failed to draw me in. I struggled to connect with the story or any of the characters, who either felt way too young or way too weird. Quite honestly, this was just not a book for me, but if you enjoy bizarre or uncanny stories with a lot of imagination and quirk, then you might want to take a look, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,685 reviews457 followers
March 5, 2018
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I didn't like this book at all. I thought about abandoning the book pretty early on and those thoughts seemed to pop up over and over with increased frequency. I don't know why I just didn't give up on this book and move on to something that I would enjoy more but for some reason, I kept pushing myself to keep listening for just a little bit more. I do think that this is a book that some readers will really enjoy but it wasn't the book for me and I should have stopped as soon as I started considering it.

I found this book to be rather confusing at times. As I was trying to get into the book, I often found myself having to back up the audio to listen to sections again in an attempt to make sense of the story. Things happen that really make little to no sense and the story shifts time and place without a lot of explanation. There were times that multiple versions of the same character were in a scene which just added to the confusion. I had a hard time following the storyline at times.

I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters. Freddy, Mel, and Roland were the most likable characters in the book but I never really felt any kind of connection to them. Mel and Roland play large roles in parts of the book but are absent in a large portion of the story. Josiah and Cuerva Lachance were incredibly strange. Cuerva Lachance may win the prize for the strangest character that I have read in all of her various forms. Josiah was hard to trust and it always seemed that he was hiding important things from Freddy. Freddy was the main character of the story and while we spend a lot of time in her head I still didn't feel like I truly understood her at the close of the book.

I did enjoy the narration. This was the first time that I have listened to Eileen Stevens and I thought she did a good job with the book. Honestly, her narration is probably the reason that I continued to listen to the book even when I realized it wasn't going to work for me. She did an excellent job with all of the character voices and her voice was very pleasant to listen to. I would not hesitate to listen to her narration again in the future.

I will not be recommending this book to others. There were parts of the book that I did like a lot more than others. I thought that the opening scene was well done and I generally liked all of the scenes with Freddy, Mel, and Roland a lot more than the parts of the book where the characters were twisting around in time. I do think that other readers may have a very different reaction to this book and may really enjoy it. I would say to give it a try if you think the concept sounds like something you would enjoy.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Blackstone Audio, Inc. via Audiobook Jukebox.

Initial Thoughts
Let's just say that I didn't like the book. At all. The narrator was good and there were some parts that were more interesting that others but as a whole this was not an enjoyable experience. The book was confusing to the point that I had to keep going back over parts to try to make sense of them. I found sections of the book to be incredibly boring and I never cared about any of the characters. Pretty early on in the book, I did consider abandoning the book but pushed myself on. I think I thought about marking the book as one I couldn't finish about once every 15 minutes of listening but for some reason I forced myself to continue. (Note to self - if you are thinking about marking a book dnf just too it and save yourself some pain.) I am honestly just glad that I finished it right now so that I can move on to a book that I will actually enjoy.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
895 reviews274 followers
January 12, 2018
DNF @ 41%

I love complex, weird, interesting fantasy/sci-fi books. Want me to believe in aliens, time travel, fantasy worlds, etc no problem BUT, you must give me a construct in which your world stands on. I don't need every detail or a complete explanation; but I do need a bit of a frame for the type of story I'm getting into and where it might be headed.
I hate DNFing a book; but when I cannot come up with a single reason to keep reading and am dreading the book I know it's time to give up.

Fundamentally Flawed
Weave a Circle Round fails at a fundamental story requirement; setting up some sort of existence for our characters that gives something to build from. If you aren't going to give a setting that helps give a logic to the story then at least make your characters really interesting. Unfortunately the characters are just as flat and uninteresting as the non-existent plot.

I can follow a book for sometime that is failing at plot if I like the character(s) enough. Unfortunately Kari Maaren has not created any character that I cared about or was even intrigued by; including the crazy neighbours. They were all very generic, boring or otherwise unmemorable. Even our two weird neighbours, that seem to be the catalysts for everything that happens, weren't enough to keep me interested.

Missing Connections
At 40%+ of a novel I expect to have an idea about why things are happening or at least what is happening. Instead Maaren takes our main gal and sets her up for bullying at school; then suddenly she ends up in a Viking timeline with one of the crazy neighbours. Say um... what?!?

There is zero indication about why this has happened or what it even means. Meanwhile the boy/crazy neighbour is clearly a time traveler with some sort of psychic power and yet still nothing fits into anything. For me it felt like each piece of the puzzle was from a different puzzle entirely that would never fit together. And frankly even if they do by the end I just didn't care about our people, the time travel or even what made the neighbours so odd.

It's okay to take me on a wild fantasy ride but give me characters I can care about and some sort of pieces that appear to go together.
I believe this book needs some serious review by beta readers to work on capturing the attention of the reader and giving nuggets of information that might fit together or at least intrigue the reader into continuing to read.
It also needs some character help to make at least our main gal more relatable if not actually likeable.
It surprises me that TOR published this. They are usually a solid publishing house. Somehow this one slipped through the cracks and got published. They might do well to pull it back and try again.

For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews91 followers
December 1, 2017
This book was a chaotic mess.
I don't even know where to start. I guess, the problem is that I'm not really interested in magical realism with a bit of science fiction combined into a fantasy type of story. Needless to say, I became confused and uninterested after a while. I enjoyed reading the story before reaching the 60% page mark. As I got closer to the end, I felt that the story just dragged on and on. It was almost pointless because I don't think I'm learning anything new about the characters nor the plot. I think the author was trying to explain an integral part of the story, but it wasn't executed in a way that I would've liked. Instead, it contributed to my confusion and I was bored. To even add to the mess, this book contains characters from Norse Mythology.

There was very little (or in my case, ZERO) likable characters in the story. I don't dislike the protagonist but sometimes I don't like reading her POV. She was bullied a lot, her siblings don't care about her (except Mel, but there's something about her that irks me quite a bit), and her mother doesn't care about her. I mean, the parents are rarely at home! Mel irks me because she doesn't seem like a real person who has feelings. She's kind of like Sherlock, but Sherlock makes a lot more sense (as a character) to me than Mel. Then there's Roland, I don't really like him but I understand him more than Mel. These characters are unfortunately less compelling compared to the Norse Gods in the book.

I dislike how there is no conclusion to the story. In school, we don't know why Freddy is constantly being picked on and if it ever stopped. I don't understand where all the bullying comes from, why it's happening, and why it wasn't addressed. I also don't know what happens to the Norse mythology characters. Worst of all, I don't know if the kids are imagining it all in their head. Oh, and can I mention the parents again? They only care about their noise making neighbor but they never enquired about their children's affairs? This book is so weird and it doesn't even make any sense. Note that I like weird books but this book wasn't for me.

If you like the complexities of time travel and the fact that Norse deities are a part of it, then I would recommend this book. If this isn't your cup of tea, I suggest picking another one.

TRIGGER WARNING: Bullying and Child neglect (not sure if this is a trigger but just in case I'm mentioning it).

*Huge thanks to the publisher for approving my request to read this book in exchange for an honest book review! All thoughts are my own.*

For this review and more, check out my book blog.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,509 reviews187 followers
March 9, 2018
Kind of weird and enjoyable take on time travel, friendships, step-siblings, and storytelling. Freddie is quietly angry about things at the start of this story: her parents’ divorce, her stepfather and her awkward and clumsy stepbrother Roland, her absent mother and stepfather. And there’s school and her concerted effort to not be noticeable, her minimal friends. Then two very odd people move in next door: Josiah and Cuerva Lachance. Strange things begin happening, with Roland attempting to warn her and her younger sister Mel away from the neighbours, while the neighbours behave strangely, including playing a pipe organ at odd hours. Things get progressively weirder, then, Freddie and Josiah go back in time.
Freddie grows up a lot while figuring out what’s really happening with Josiah and Cuerva Lachance. I found the family tensions and Freddie’s resentments believable, while also enjoying the utter weirdness of her interactions with Cuerva Lachance and Josiah. And I have no idea why, but I love the name Cuerva Lachance!
Profile Image for Jack Stark.
Author 6 books32 followers
November 28, 2017
Check out this review on my blog - Random Melon Reads

5.373339 stars

I don’t even know how to start a review for this! If you take the wonderful wacky imagination of children, put it in a bucket, put a lid on it, shake it all up, take off the lid and stick in your head - this novel is what you would end up with.

I went into this thinking it was going to be a gentle, contemporary, coming of age, YA story with maybe a magical realism aspect. Oh boy, was I ever wrong?! Our protagonist is Freddy Duchamp - a 14yr old (not 10!) traversing through life. Her parents have divorced and she is living with her mum, step-dad, younger sister (Mel) and same age step-brother (Roland). Everything is relatively normal in the life of Freddy. She is somewhat of an introvert that enjoys spending time reading in peace and quiet. She has a couple of friends at school, but isn’t part of the popular crowd. She is remarkably good at not being remarkable. It’s a completely boring normal life. That is, until Cuerva Lachance and Josiah abruptly move in next door. Then everything goes completely bat-shit crazy! Do not be fooled - this novel is not a gentle walk in the park. Although, there is some walking in the park in several chapters.

Josiah is also 14 years old, and so he starts at the same school as Freddy and Roland attend. He’s cocky, unsociable, short tempered, and generally disinterested in anything the teachers have to teach. He claims this is because he’s seen it all before. Although Josiah seems a bit quirky at times, Cuerva Lachance dials this up to 11. Never able to hold her attention on anything longer than 3 minutes, she’s impulsive and bizarre. One minute she may be eating a pear, the next she is painting something blue, the next she is chasing a squirrel up a tree.

One day, Freddy is round Josiah and Cuerva Lachance’s and when she walks out the back door, she and Josiah time travel. Yep, just like that. We then go on a series of mini adventures learning about Josiah and Cuerva Lachance, who they are, why they moved into the area, and who is this mysterious Three that Josiah mentions.

It wasn’t that she didn’t care. It was hard to watch someone die, even if the someone was not on your side. It was that she had been travelling through time for nearly a year and a half. She had already seen many people die. She hadn’t got used to it, but she thought she had got a little numb.

There were several moments through this when I thought, Did that just happen? What?! Then I would go back and reread the last page or so, and think Yep, yep it did just happen. I guess I should go with the flow. I think the whole mantra to have when reading this is Don’t question it too much. Just accept it happened and anything else could happen and keep reading. I’m being a little vague here as I really don’t want to spoil too much. Things happen out of the blue, with no build up or foresight at all. This can create a feeling of complete chaos at times. It appears that things happen for no reason but stick with it, because everything comes together so well towards the end.

“Nobody ever knows what’s going to happen next,” said Freddy. “But we need to find out.”

As regular readers of my reviews will know, I enjoy a story with diverse characters. This story has several excellent examples of diversity. Some characters are white, some are black, some are mixed race, some are chinese, some are African, some are Norse. Roland is deaf. This is not the defining character trait of Roland. I feel it would have been easy to write a deaf character that is a little oblivious to the world around him, as well as being a little stupid and having communication as being a difficulty for other characters. This is not what we have here. Roland lip-reads (as well as signs), and speaks to people in the same way as any other character would. Yes, he is deaf, but he is also a fully formed character as well. I have a 16 year old brother that is deaf, and so I can not express how happy I am to see such a positive representation of a deaf character. On a slightly more light-hearted note, there is a moment in the novel when Roland turns away from someone so he can’t see what they are saying to him. It is described in the story as the equivalent of a hearing person sticking fingers in their ears and yelling ‘lalalalala’. It reminded me of a moment several years back when my brother was being told off for something. He very calmly, and without breaking eye contact with the person telling him off, raised his hand to his ear and switched off his hearing aid. I found the moment completely hilarious. Not everyone in the room did.

Anyway, if I had to criticize something about this, it would be that there are some moments that felt a little rushed. The quote ‘Don’t tell us, show us.’ popped into my head at a few points. But I am being super picky with that. It would have to be a 600 page novel to accommodate everything.

The theme of chaos, order and the balance between the two is explored throughout. Complete chaos is… well, chaotic. But, order without a smattering of chaos is stale and boring. Through the balance between the two, we have creativity and human development. Another theme throughout is around destiny and free will. I am not a person that believes in luck or destiny. I believe things happen as a result of our actions. But this idea of whether we can change our destiny is explored really well.

Other things I don’t have time to mention (or am I purposefully leaving them out? Who knows?):
- DnD/Role Playing Games. NEEEEEERRRRRDDDDS. ;)
- Everything adorable about Mel.
- Characters from Mythology.
- Literature references.
- Poetry references.
- Pizza.

Kari Maaren has done an outstanding job of crafting a story that keeps you on the edge throughout. It feels whimsical on the surface, but with just a little consideration from the reader, it has so much depth and meaning. I will definitely be rereading this one. I’m sure there are little things throughout that I missed with my first read through.

Anyway, I am off to play the organ badly. Peace and Love.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley. My thanks to the publisher for this opportunity. This is my honest review.

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Profile Image for MB (What she read).
2,315 reviews14 followers
December 21, 2017
Sounds intriguing: https://www.tor.com/2017/11/28/book-r...

After reading:
I don't know about you, but I like my time-travel reading to contain lots of interesting historical details, along with anthropological, cultural, and sociological details and speculations about what life was actually like for our ancestors. (Like Gabaldon, Turtledove, Jodi Taylor, L'engle, Suzanne Frank, etc.)

While I enjoyed the first part of this book (the set up), once the time traveling actually began, I was pretty much bored stiff. In this book, time travel is only a plot device and the over a year of hopping around in time is just left almost entirely undescribed and vaguely hinted at. The big ending left me pretty much unexcited, so I was left with a pretty meh reading reaction.

First part of book, 4 stars. Last part, 2.

I'm interested in other readers opinions, as I feel guiltily like I'm being hard on a first-published author, for what for me was a book I was really excited about initially. Feel free to comment. I'd like to know what others think.

I want to send this book back for revision, because I think it has the potential to be spectacular if it could just figure out what it wants to be when it grows up! Either dump the time travel entirely or flesh it out into something worthwhile, clean up all those loose ends and red herrings that don't go anywhere, and, please, for goodness sake, do something (flesh them out enough) to make us care more about these characters and the consequences of their supposedly epic choices!

Entirely unsolicited reader advisory: If you'd like more of this kind of thing, you should look into the authors mentioned earlier. But for YA readers, please get your hands on some Diana Wynne-Jones! Try Eight Days of Luke or The Homeward Bounders, if you want something somewhat like this.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews611 followers
January 26, 2018
The promise of time travel shenanigans drew me to WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND. When done right, time travel can be immensely fun and mind-bending. I was intrigued and excited to find out how Freddy had arrived thousands of years in the past and what the consequences would be.

I immediately empathized with Freddy. She might have rough edges, but those rough edges are understandable. She doesn't fit in, and she's tried hard not to draw too much attention to that fact. Her parents are absent (unrealistically so, but convenient for the plot). She doesn't get along with her step-brother. But beneath all that, she desperately desires to be understood and to be in control of her emotions.
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

It was around the sixth chapter that WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND jumped the shark. I was completely digging the promise of time travel, even if it took awhile to build up to it. However, WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND adds another layer of the bizarre in an effort to provide some reasoning for the impossibility of it all.

Ultimately, I continued reading because of Freddy. I wanted her to grow as a character, but she continued to be largely passive. The time travel happens to her. She meanders along with the plot. Josiah becomes her friend because he won't leave her alone. And fairly quickly, Josiah and Cuerva's over-the-top quirkiness began to annoy me. I wanted the time travel to happen, but once it did, I was disappointed that it largely occurred as a training montage, allowing Freddy to grow, while never providing her with the urgency to return home.

Sexual Content: None
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
618 reviews623 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 19, 2018
DNF at 22%. Guys, life is too short to try and push yourself through a book you're not enjoying, even if it's an ARC. Nothing happened in this first quarter and I know that things are about to happen but I'm finding this so UNintriguing to read. I wanted this to be an exciting weird but it's just a messy kind of weird and I'm not into that.
Profile Image for Alicia.
3,122 reviews35 followers
November 24, 2017

Maaren's debut novel reads like a modern Diana Wynne Jones story to me, which is one of th highest compliments I can give. It centers on a fourteen year old girl in Canada who just wants to pass through life—and high school—unnoticed, which is complicated when a pair of eccentric strangers move next door and become entangled with her sister, their stepbrother, and herself. The story touches on English poetry and mythology from around the world, had great characters and great adventures, and I pretty much loved it. A/A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on Tuesday.
Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 108 books488 followers
March 3, 2018
I read this as part of the Nebula Award packet, as it is a finalist for the Norton Award.

Most books, I can pick apart much of the plot as I read along. This book? It's so zany and original, it completely hooked me. I had no idea what to expect.

Freddy is a teenage girl full of resentment. Her mom and stepfather are largely absent. Her step-brother is a deaf hulk and geek. Her little sister tries to make everything into a mystery novel. But when two bizarre people move next door, her life falls apart. Literally. This is a book about time travel, mythology, and the power of storytelling. Its twisty nature might be confusing for some folks, though I felt the author did an incredible job of explaining things at just the right pace.

Also, Trigger Warning for incidents of high school bullying. I really don't like reading/reliving that stuff but fortunately those scenes never went on for long. Just enough to get the idea across. But some people may not feel the same way.
Profile Image for Sydney.
343 reviews12 followers
January 2, 2018
Not sure how this is getting such good reviews from other people. IMO, the characters were not well-developed and the story was kind of a mess. Plus, it just seemed to meander for hundreds of pages in the middle.
2,208 reviews130 followers
January 31, 2018
Weird and wonderful, I smiled the whole time I was reading it. The story balances awkward family dynamics, time travel, the presence of *coughSPOILERcough* deities, and all the frustrations of growing up (lord, the where-and-with-whom-to-sit-at-lunch quandary, I DO NOT MISS IT) all into an intricate tapestry of plot. If you like Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Thresholds and Meetings, or Ingrid Law's Savvy and Scumble, or anything by E.K. Johnston or R.J. Anderson, I think you'll like this too.
Profile Image for Arybo ✨.
1,311 reviews133 followers
November 8, 2017
The plot is a mess. But so it must be, because this book shows what it means to have imagination and verbal power. This novel is a hymn to the imagination. Things happen and change the story's scenarios, suddenly. Freddy, Mel and Roland find themselves catapulted in an abnormal situation after meeting their new neighbors, Cuerva Lachance and Joshia.
Freddy, our protagonist, finds herself embroiled in time travels, caused by a portal created by Cuerva, a magical and "impossible" woman. There is Joshia with her, a boy who seems to be the very image of rationality. The story goes on, jumping from one historical period to the next.

The writing style reflects the plot. The narrator moves from one moment to the next, with no half measures: the style of writing, which is accurate in describing situations and places, clashes with the subtlety of the temporal changes that our characters experience. Readers undergo this prospect environment along with the protagonists and, like them, they do not see them coming in. This is what hit me most of the author's writing style.
We enter the story slowly, but then we stay there plumed like bugs in honey. The third person narration allows us to see everything from a window, while, at the same time, we know the thoughts of the characters, especially those of Freddy. We find things together with her and we ask ourselves the same questions.
The end is spectacular. It changes the cards on table and upsets the rhythm of the tale, which becomes adventurous. It's a fabulous climax. Kari Maaren knows the power of stories, and she shows it us at the end of the book: characters have the power to change themselves and their stories, it is not all in the hands of author or narrator, obscure forces or destiny.

You can also see it as a life lesson: if you do not like what you are experiencing, change yourself; or, if negative things happen to you, change them in something positive. Grow up and not be afraid to change, be yourself and ignore other people thoughts, because the world goes on without waiting for you. Enjoy yourself if you like yourself or have the strength to change, because time passes and you cannot live with regrets. So take things as they come and change them in the best.
It's what Freddy does, turning from an insecure little girl to a strong, determined, grown-up girl.

Becoming old does not mean losing the power of imagination, indeed. The last chapters show us the importance of creating stories in our minds. This book is for those who love narratives, myths and fairy tales. The greedy readers of these things will find bread for their teeth.

Kari Maaden is great at mixing literary (and not) influences in everyday situations: there are continuous references to Nordic mythology, poetry, theater, history and the world of cinema and TV series. It is a well-planted book in our reality, but it has a tremendous potential in its dissociation.

The characters are strange: the culmination is Cuerva. Her way of being is somewhat mirrored by the narrative of the time traveling part. Her thoughts drift from side to side, as Freddy and Joshia go from one era to another. Joshia is her opposite: pragmatic, aseptic, cold. Freddy is a simple one, she doesn't want to be the focus of attention, and her thoughts often mirror my own. She looks at reality, she sees it, as few people do. She also realizes too easily the world and people paradoxes. Roland loves video games, and he is fond of the sisters, although he doesn't show it often. Mel is my investigative cupcake. I love her, simply. She's young, but she has a fantastic mind.

There would be so many things to talk about, such as Freddy's awareness of being a person in a certain place and time who does not fit. Or The idea that not everything is solvable through deduction and logic: sometimes the heart or imagination are the solution. The awareness that there's no way to change the history.

Kari Maadene tells the story with right narrative-times in wonderful way. She is phenomenal in the creation of an unpredictable story, which the reader could easily love. She Plays with words and characters, giving us a magical adventure.

• I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review •
Profile Image for Melliane.
2,014 reviews341 followers
December 26, 2017
Mon avis en Français

My English review

As soon as I saw the cover and the synopsis of the book, I could only be intrigued. Yes, it is a reading that I was really looking forward to but I did not really expect that. This novel is an UFO. I do not see any other words to describe it. The feeling you feel during the reading is very surprising. I was intrigued, surprised, wondering where the story would go, I sometimes wondered if it was not rubbish. In fact I think the author has managed to make from this “rubbish novel” an original and fascinating story. Yes, this book is an UFO. If you read it, I’m sure you’ll think so! It is not possible to predict the events taking place, everything is surprising and until the end, it is very difficult to understand why everything seems to go in all directions. I seem confused is not it? It’s because I’ve been so much confused. But in this confusion, I found that Kari Maaren had an undeniable talent.

In this story we will discover Freddy, but also her little sister Mel, or Roland her half-brother. Each of these children have something special but it’s true that we focus mainly on Freddy. When Cuerva Lachance and Josiah move into the house next to their home, things change strangely, but these two characters are themselves very strange. They are doing inexplicable things that Mel and Freddy are trying to decipher. And yet, they really did not expect it to turn that way. Cuerva Lachance and Josiah are going to win them over, but they may not be the only ones responsible.

I can not say more. Everything is mysterious and the more we advance in the story and the more we wonder in what we fell but finally the answers arrive and it is as if a veil of understanding was opening. I really can not tell you more about this story. It’s an UFO. And it’s quite surprising to discover this kind of novels.
Profile Image for Tammy.
816 reviews135 followers
January 16, 2018

This might be the first ever Did Not Finish review on this blog! Normally I wouldn't post anything about a book I didn't finish, but I'm changing up things for a couple of reasons.

1.  I want to let the publisher know WHY I didn't finish it.

2.  Since I have a NetGalley copy, I want to be able to post something, especially since I'm working on getting my NetGalley stats up this year.

I only managed to get to 13% in my Kindle, and I feel bad that I didn't try a little harder, but here are the reasons I decided to stop reading:

Waaaaay too young and juvenile for me.

The writing style immediate felt more middle grade than young adult to me, and while I don't want to bash MG novels at all, I just have zero interest in reading books for that age group. Zero interest. So despite trying to slog through even more painful prose and immature shenanigans, I just decided to call it quits.

Waaaaay too silly for me.

In the vein of "too young" for me, the story was just ridiculous, and not in a "I love weird fiction" way at all. I struggled with the character's dialogue, I struggled with the characters' actions, and I struggled with the characters' situations. And this was all in the first 13%.

Didn't catch my interest.

I know that some stories take a little time to get going, and some of my favorite books have started slow and ended up being fantastic, but this time there was absolutely nothing that grabbed me, not a single character that I felt was worth following, and so I stopped reading. I honestly thought I'd take a break, read something else, and then come back to Weave a Circle Round , but I was never able to drum up enough enthusiasm to do that.

Too many other books that I want to get to.

Perhaps the biggest reason I'm moving on, there are just too many books waiting for me to read. Trying to finish a book you're not enjoying takes away from awesome books I could be reading right now.

Who knows, maybe I missed out on something wonderful, but based on a few reviews from trusted bloggers, I'm betting that this never would have worked for me, even if I'd stuck it out. And so, I've moved on. Many readers love this book, and it's received amazing blurbs from the industry, but it just wasn't for me.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

Have you ever posted a DNF review? This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy
Profile Image for Emily.
1,713 reviews37 followers
February 13, 2018
OK. I thought my brain melted during the denouement of this book, but I was wrong. It melted when I discovered the author is also a musician and has an album called Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and another called Everybody Hates Elves. Also, her Ph.D. dissertation, (I’m pretty sure it’s her—right location and theme) Darkness inside: The role of the half-monster hero in the Middle English Romance tradition is listed on Worldcat, and she has a web comic too. I may have just found my new favorite person.

I’m not a stalker.

This was very different from any other book with time travel I’ve read, and although the chunk dedicated to time travel wasn’t my favorite part of the book, I admired the originality in the rules she created.
I loved her writing style, and Cuerva Lachance and Josiah made me laugh a lot. After checking out the the author’s website—I’m not a stalker—I wonder if the author is, in fact, Cuerva Lachance. I should probably quit accusing authors of being their characters. I already did that in an earlier review this year. Well, maybe authors should stop being their characters. Did they ever think of that?

I may have been infected by Cuerva Lachance’s nonsense and whimsy.

Anyway. The book. I enjoyed it, especially when all the characters were together. The time travel interlude went long, but I can see why she included all that she did. I’d read more by this author, and I definitely plan to check out the web comic.
Profile Image for Ashley (gotbookcitement).
707 reviews82 followers
July 23, 2018

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor for giving me the chance to read an early copy for honest review. The cover and synopsis had me interested, very interested.
I thought that this was going to be a weird house book, or possibly a haunted house book, so I wasn't expecting what this book eventually delivered.
The most honest way I can describe Weave A Circle Round is odd, very, very odd. There were some funny bits with Cuerva Lachance and Josiah. There were some weird bits. There were some what is going on?!?! bits. It was just an odd book.
The middle part threw me off a lot. I'm not going to spoil anything. I think it's more fun to discover the surprise while reading, but I don't know if that surprise really worked for me. It was strange. It was jumpy. It could be a little difficult to follow at times. And it really just made me think, what's the point of all this. The ending was a little like that too. I just didn't necessarily get the point.
It was a fun read, kind of. It's not going to go down as my favorite book, but it will definitely go down as an interesting one that I remember.
Freddy as a character was kind of meh. I didn't really like how she was angry all the time. She kind of had a poor little ol' me attitude, which I wasn't a fan of. Cureva Lachance and Josiah were both touched in the head characters. Mel wasn't given the optimum amount of shine she deserved. I feel like she would have been fun to follow as a main character. Roland gets points for diversity, in that he's deaf, but he's kind of pushed behind Freddy too. Freddy just maybe wasn't the character that if I had the choice, I would have loved to follow.
Weave a Circle Round was definitely an interesting book. It wasn't what I was expecting at all. I think there are people out there that would love this kooky kind of story. It was an experience, for sure. A very odd experience.
Very Odd
Profile Image for Laura.
1,148 reviews120 followers
April 22, 2018
Good story about the way the stories people tell become the stories that shape the people who tell them. With a slightly dislikable narrator, attack-spiderplants, and tentacles. An excellent bus book.
Profile Image for Ashley.
321 reviews7 followers
February 4, 2018
Weave a Circle Round is the best YA fantasy I've read in ages. I was hooked within a chapter or two, and couldn't put it down. The characters were interesting, the mystery intriguing and there was a real Wrinkle in Time feel to the story. Definitely recommend, definitely will reread.
Profile Image for Cassienerdgirl.
157 reviews
March 2, 2018
This was a super charming, fun read. I liked it enough that I'm bringing it home on a plane from Mexico instead of leaving it behind, just so I can lend it out!
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,160 reviews81 followers
January 31, 2018
I promised myself I'd write at least a mini review for each book I read this year, so that I can remember what I enjoyed about it, and then promptly broke that promise after reading this book. Hahaha. So here's a quick bit about why I enjoyed this.

Kari Maaren does an excellent job of bringing to life characters who transcend time and space, while marrying them to the world that we walk around in every day! There's time travel, snarky characters, a bit of magic, a LOT of mischief, and the kind of overall story that just makes you want to crawl into it and find out what happens next. I did part of this on audio, and loved both mediums! So if you're looking at possibly reading this, take the plunge. It's worth it!
Profile Image for Laura Hill.
732 reviews39 followers
October 9, 2017
Writing: 4; Characters: 4; Plot: 4

I love YA books and this one was a lot of fun. Best for the 12 – 14 year old crowd.

14 year old Freddie knows she is “doomed to be sensitive forever”. She lives with her younger sister Mel and her step-brother Roland, a tall, hulking, deaf teenager who seems to bring both order and chaos to everything he touches. Freddie works hard to stay as invisible as possible. Enter the weird new neighbors who take the lonely house on Grosvenor Street. Cuerva LaChance is a Mrs. Whatsit like creature who is almost always cheerful and has a capital case of super ADD; Josiah is a humorless, bored 14 year old who picks fights by simply existing. Freddie is horrified to find him in most of her classes.

The book starts slowly, appearing to be a typical coming-of-age story, but around 30% of the way in it takes off stratospherically, or rather time-ospherically, as time travel suddenly reaches in and literally yanks Freddie and Josiah off on a pinball machine like journey covering 9th century Sweden, prehistoric China, 17th century France, and 92nd century (yes, 92nd!) England. Characters from Norse, Polynesian, and Chinese mythology are woven in and as a bonus, we learn the identity of the “person from Porlock” – historically blamed for interrupting Coleridge as he scribbled the poem Kubla Khan. While Josiah is blasé about the adventure, having literally lived though it before, Freddie is given every possibility to learn and grow up and help unravel a world altering mystery facing them in the current time. What or Who exactly is Three? And why is their “Choice” so important?

FYI, as a veteran SF reader, I was impressed with her handling of the time travel – both philosophically and mechanically. I was also very impressed with the literary and mythological references. It’s not often you find a book that can move through such different areas so smoothly.
Profile Image for Heather Brown.
655 reviews11 followers
October 27, 2017
In a fight for balance in the world, these kids deal with mythical beings, mysteries, time travel, and role playing games.
Super interesting book after I got through the slow beginning! Freddy and her siblings, Roland and Mel, couldn't be more different, but in an important way they are all alike--their creativity is boundless. This amazing creativity brings them the attention of the bizarre Cuerva Lachance and her youthful companion Josiah. Why are these two characters so intent on the children? Are their intentions nefarious or beneficial? Freddy will have to figure it all out in time to save not just her family, but perhaps the entire world.
Profile Image for Sara.
193 reviews
March 12, 2018
DNF at 33% I just couldn't get into this one. I found all of the characters to be unlikable as well as weird and/or boring. The story itself sounded like something that would interest me (hey I love a time travel narrative!) But once the book actually reached the time travel portion (at about 30%) it got even stranger, and not in a good way. This just felt...I guess the word I'm looking for is immature? Yes, it's a YA book, but that doesn't mean it has to read like children's. I simply didn't enjoy this.
January 26, 2018
Weave a Circle Round had potential until the actual time traveling started, and that's where I got lost. Most of the story was pointless, chaotic filler just to get to the end. If time travel was real, I'd want to travel back to the time before I read this book. It really should be a 1 star but I'm giving 2 because I rather enjoyed it until page 119.
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