The Secret Circle

the secretcircle ljsmith

The past few books I’ve read e.g. Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, and L.J. Smith’s Dark Visions, always seem to have heroines that are incognizant of their hidden talents before they are then plunge into some conflict in which they then find out about their real selves and had to learn to use their ‘abilities’ without the benefit of prior training or at least some kind of manual. The Secret Circle is no different.

The Secret Circle Part I & II by L.J. Smith

In The Secret Circle (published around 1992), L.J. Smith writes about a teenager by the name of Cassandra Blake, Cassie for short, who also lives a ‘normal life’ in a normal world. As usual, most characters of this kind defines normal as living like a less than regular teenager… few friends, playing ‘tag along’ with a dominant friend whose every wish is a command. Her dominant friend here is Portia, who appears in the early part of The Secret Circle Part I and in the later part of Part II.

Cassie is a witch. She didn’t know it at first. She only learns about it later when she and her mother had to move, by some unforgiving reason, grudgingly to New Salem. There she finds a group of high schoolers who are called by the name of ‘The Club’. The Club enjoys all the top privileges in the campus – a private room in the cafeteria, immunity from school rules, etc. Her first day at school was the worst day a new student can have, courtesy of some members of The Club. Of course, a few days later, by virtue of her residence’s address, she somehow became a ‘member’ of The Club and enjoyed all the privileges that comes with it.

Gradually, she realizes that she is part of the club because she is a witch. All the members of the club, both male and female, are witches and borne of witch parents with witch parents before them, and witch ancestry.

I find that the later half of Part I is dragging especially since I know it’s going to be incomplete because there’s a part II. Part II however makes up for whatever shortcomings it has in Part I. It builds up until it climaxes at the end and you find all threads closed and justified.

I thought the ‘villain turns out to be the heroine’s father’ routine is old. But it obviously still works, at least for me, in this story.

I however find the part where Diana ‘turns over’ Adam to his soul-mate a little shallow and not so elaborated. The ease of the transition is not so realistic as LJ Smith did not dwell even for a few moments on the agony Diana must be silently enduring. You just don’t let go of someone you love like that and smile a true smile. I mean, it was probably implied and left to the reader to imagine, the way it made me. Well, writing a long story isn’t easy. Perhaps LJ Smith was tired and wanted to wrap things up quickly at this end point of the story, and provide closure as well specifically to this angle of the love triangle (another over-used cliche).

the secretcircle 1
secret-circle 2

Dark Visions: L.J. Smith (Author of the Night World series)

I got a respite from the build up of ‘The Infernal Devices‘ trilogy in that after reading the first book, I did not get to go ahead with the second because ‘Dark Visions‘ by L. Jane Smith came along and I just can’t wait to dive into it.

L.J. Smith is the author of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ which was later developed by Kevin Williamson into a very successful drama-horror tv series aired on the CW Television Network which received several award nominations and won awards e.g. People’s Choice Award and Teen Choice Awards.

The short of it is it’s a story about a teenager, a lovely girl called Kaitlyn who grew up in a small town in Ohio. She has eyes that are too lovely for the taste of her neighbors that they began fearing her and calling her a witch. No one wants to associate with her. She never has any real close friends and never gets invited to parties, etc. She also has this gift of drawing and sketching. But aside from drawing what she sees, she also draws things that are yet to happen, usually ominous events of impeding accidents or something to that effect. No wonder they called her a witch.

Then, something happened that gave her a chance to get away from Ohio and into a place where she gets to be part of a group of students all with extraordinary gifts like her. There she experiences things that she longed to experience – friendship, acceptance, and things she not anticipate. She is thrown into and adventure that takes her to places she did not dream of going, and places she ‘dreamt’ of going. And adventure that tested her and her friends’ resolve to survive. She also gets to meet the boy that would nourish her lonely heart – or, rather the boys, for there were two of them. And she experiences being torn between two guys, who have powers – one who can feed her life, and one who can feed off hers.

Again, I am not a qualified critic of any author’s work; I’m just a reader. But I know when an author succeeds in entertaining me. I don’t need to use extra imagination to see what L. Jane Smith paints in her chapters. In fact, in one part I have to distance myself and try to read and see from afar in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with claustrophobia. The part where Kait gets isolated in a dark ‘Ganzfield’ water tank was just too vivid I had to put down the book for a while.

Looking back, the first pages almost convinced me that this story would be something parallel to the x-men. But while the x-men story was cartoonish, the kids in this story are more real in that their powers are within the believable range. I like most parts of the book. The end part however, in my view, has been just a wee bit overly done – too ‘feel good’. All in all, I was entertained and would like to read some more L.J. Smith books.

L.J. Smith has a website at where you can get updates of her books and download lots of free stories. If you’re into urban fantasy, then you’ll certainly like L.J. Smith.