REVIEW: Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren

Monday, 5 March 2018

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.

Weave a Circle Round was bizarre. And it was bizarre in the kind of way that I honestly can’t tell if it was good or bad, which is why I have no other option than to give it a middle-of-the-line rating of three stars.
Sure, it was engaging and went to a lot of unexpected places, but I do not know whether all those places were absolutely necessary. It was kind of a nonsense novel, sort of a more serious Dr Seuss, where it feels as though the author threw loads of unconnected and increasingly ridiculous things onto the page and then tried to make them all fit into a singular narrative. 
The characters were strange, but I think the thing that stopped Weave a Circle Round from being an amazingly odd piece of literature instead of a uh-I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on one, is the fact that the world-building sorely lacked. The main focus of this book is time-travel (is that a spoiler? I’m so twisted into knots by this book that I have no idea), and so it was essential that each period of time felt different and unique from all of the others, but I don’t feel as though this was the case at all. The readers instead received an incredibly small amount of detail about each and the book was instead far more focussed on the strangeness of the neighbours - another aspect of the novel that, even after finishing it, I still don’t really understand.
It feels so embarrassing to step back from a book and be like, “I don’t get it?” (especially when that book is aimed towards a younger age group) but I don’t. And maybe other people will and they will see nuance that I almost certainly missed, but I really need to hold my hands up on this one and admit that I have no clue. So yeah, Weave a Circle Round was fun, but it still was not the book for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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