The Initiation, book one of the Secret Circle trilogy, introduces us to Cassie Blake, a shy and somewhat awkward teenager from California. Cassie and her mother are vacationing on Cape Cod when, while sitting on the beach one day, Cassie spots a red haired boy walked by with his dog. Her friend Portia orders Cassie not to look at the guy, claiming that heís dirty and works on fishing boats. When the boys dog runs over to Cassie though, Cassie canít help being friendly back, not only to the dog but to his owner. The meeting is extremely short. Cassie runs into the boy later that same day. Heís running from Portias brothers and their friends. Cassie helps the boy to hide and in return he gives her a rock he has. Itís chalcedony and he says that if sheís in trouble she should squeeze it and think of him. For a moment Cassie has an odd sensation and thinks she seeís a silver cord connecting them, heart to heart, but she pushes it away. Itís not until the boy leaves that Cassie realizes she never asked his name. Itís when Cassie gets back from the beach that her mother informs her that instead of going back to California theyíre going to a town called New Salem to stay with Cassies grandmother whom she has never met.
As if it isnít bad enough for Cassie to be starting a new school in a new state, she immediately gets on the bad side of three of the girls at school (Faye, Deborah, and Suzanne) who make it clear that they would have no qualms with taking out any threats. They are also said to be part of The Club which Cassie takes to mean a gang. They make Cassies first days at school some of the worst of her life, and the school doesnít seem to care. The principal tells Cassie that she and the girls should work this out themselves, without relying on ďoutsideĒ help. And so, things only get worse. Itís not just Faye either. The other students on campus, while not terrorizing her, ignore her and shun Cassie who doesnít understand it at all. One day Faye lures Cassie into the old science building on campus and attacks her with fire, threatening to burn her with it while Deborah stands behind Cassie holding her arms. This time though, someone intervenes. The girls name is Diana and she seems to have some sway because Faye stops. Diana takes Cassie back to her house to get cleaned up. Diana lives on the same street Cassie does, on Crowhaven road, as do Faye, Deborah, and Suzanne, Cassie learns. Diana introduces Cassie to her friends Laurel and Melony. Apparently theyíre all part of The Club. Cassie finds herself with a desire to join The Club but learns that thereís only one opening which will go to the Hendersonís sister Kori. That is, until Kori is found dead on the morning of her birthday. That night Cassie is taken from her room to the beach for a ceremony. There she finds that The Club is actually a coven of witches and Cassie is being initiated. She also sees the boy she ran into on the beach, only to learn that his name is Adam and heís Dianaís boyfriend.
The coven has found one of the master tools, a crystal skull that belonged to a Black John, a member of the original coven from which this one is descended. They do a ceremony and something from the skull, something evil, escapes to reek havoc on the town. Meanwhile Cassie and Adam, realizing their feelings for each other but neither wanting to hurt Diana, take a blood oath to prevent just that. But Faye happens to have seen Adam and Cassie together and threatens to tell Diana, that is, unless Cassie gets her the crystal skull.
The Initiation is a good book. It sets up the trilogy well by introducing us to all of the characters weíll see later and to the main problems in the book, Cassieís attraction to Adam and Fayeís power over her, as well as to the evil thing that escaped the skull which of course is important later. The last scene is an important turning point, thus making it almost certain that the reader will continue the trilogy.
The Captive, book two in The Secret Circle trilogy, has Cassie and the rest of the coven looking for the dark energy that escaped the crystal skull. Their principal has just died in an avalanche and the coven has a sure feeling that the dark energy had something to do with it, especially when Cassie finds Jeffery, a boy from school, hanging in the boiler room during a dance. Nick finds Cassie in the boiler room and we get our first introduction to the fact that Nick is more than he appears to be at first when he comforts Cassie. Adam finds them and the three begin to trace the ďdark energy.Ē Cassie is also in a large dilemma because sheís helped Faye to get the skull and now is afraid not to do anything that Faye asks because otherwise Faye will tell Diana everything. Tracing the energy Cassie, Nick, Adam, and Deborah who has joined them, end up in a graveyard where some sort of shadow rushes at them before taking off. After that the coven seems to be breaking up. Then thereís another dance coming up, a Halloween dance. Cassie decides to ask Nick but ends up messing up his stuff when heís working on a car. When he yells at her Cassie leaves. She ends up going for a ride with the Henderson brothers. They end up in Salem and Cassie ends up realizing that thereís a connection between the way that people are being killed now and the way that accused witches were killed in Salem.
Cassie does end up attending the Halloween dance with Nick. Afterward the group calls up the spirit of Black John and Cassie seems entranced. His voice gets into her head. Itís Adam who stops it, going through the groups four circles of protection to get water to douse the fire and Cassie with. Then the leadership vote is coming up. Cassie gives in and votes for Faye. Faye immediately tries to use the skull, and something comes out of it, causing something of an explosion. Then thereís something happening at Cassies house, some sort of strange light. Cassie, Nick and Deborah go and find Cassies mother in the house, wandering around totally out of it. Cassieís grandmother is lying in the kitchen and something, some form, is over her. It leaves but the group knows thatís not the end of it. Before she dies Cassieís grandmother has Cassie get their families book of shadows, and she tells the kids the story of their parents and Black John, how Black John came back in their parents generation and paired up the parents just right so that their children would be the most powerful witches ever, the most powerful coven, a coven he hoped to lead. When the parents found out they went after him and thought they defeated him. Apprently, they were wrong. At the end of the book Cassie decides she canít deal with Fayes blackmail anymore. She tells Faye itís over. The book ends with Faye asking to speak to Diana, obviously with the intent to tell Diana all about the relationship between Cassie and Adam, and about Cassies betrayal.
The Captive is when you really start to get into the characters. Each of the characters are revealed in more depth. Deborah turns out to be okay, and we see Nick smile for the first time. Thatís what makes this book so interesting, itís characters. Although there is action of course and the problems with the crystal skull and Black John, itís the revelations about characters that made me keep flipping pages. The ending leaves you hanging, just wondering whether or not Faye actually tells Diana about Cassie. LJS seems to be good at that, ending each book in the trilogy so that the reader finds themselves having to read the next book.
The Power, book three of The Secret Circle trilogy, opens with Faye revealing to Diana and the rest of the coven Cassies relationship with Adam and her deceptions. The coven seems ready to turn on Cassie before Adam breaks in, insisting that Faye had her turn and itís his chance now to tell the story. He tells the group about when he first met Cassie on Cape Cod and the connection the seemed to have, the silver cord they both thought they saw. Diana is opening her mouth to reply when Cassie bursts out, begging for a second chance for both her and Adam, and chance to prove their loyalty to Diana. Diana agrees. At school thereís a new principal, a Jack Brunswick whom the group quickly recognizes, from a ring on his finger, as Black John. Faye joins Black Johns side and Black John organizes the school to cause strife between the witches and the outsiders, obviously hoping for the coven to go to him for help when theyíre getting in trouble for the rules that are specifically aimed at them. Cassie and Nick begin a relationship. Cassie is not in love with Nick but she decides to give it a try anyway. She needs someone and heís the one whoís offering to be there. Portia Bainbridge, a supposed friend of Cassies from Cape Cod who also happens to be a witch hunter, is now in New Salem. Cassie gets a startling revelation. Black John, she learns, is her father. Sheís afraid the group will hate her for this, but, like Deborah says, they donít care ďif her fatherís Adolph Hitler.Ē The group is behind her. Then they find the Master Tools whoís hiding place was revealed to Cassie in a dream. They run into Sean outside and make the mistake of telling him about the tools. Itís a mistake because, as they later find, Sean has been under Black Johns influence all along. Black John has Portia, her brothers that were chasing Adam on Cape Cod, and Sally, the girlfriend of Jefferey who was one of the first people to die, kidnap Cassie. They tie her to a tree and intend to brand her. She calls out to Adam with her mind though, and the coven shows up in time to save her. Cassie realizes though, that she canít continue in her relationship with Nick since she doesnít love him, and they break up. Cassie has managed to convince Sally though, that the group isnít evil and Sally is the one who tells them when Black John is expected to make his move. The group pretends to be disorganized. The members only speak to each other at school to fight. This way, they figure, Black John wonít know theyíre prepared. When the time comes they learn that Black John plans to send a hurricane their way. They donít know what to do about it but know they must face him. They nab Sean back to their side and elect Cassie leader because Faye is with Black John. Therefore, itís Cassie who leads the group to Black John. She expects to face him alone. She tries. Sheís scared but she manages to throw a knife at him. It doesnít work. She begins to recite a spell but the spell requires the rest of the coven. Luckily theyíve disobeyed her orders and come after her. Then it looks as if they still might not win since they donít have a full coven to complete the spell. Faye comes over to their side though, and Cassie directs their energy to get rid of Black John, hopefully forever. Diana tells them the next day that she wants Adam and Cassie to be together, because they are soulmates. Thatís what the silver cord was. Everything seems to be working out great.
I realize that the above summary isnít best and I apologize. I may try to revise it later. Anyway, The Power is my favorite book in The Secret Circle trilogy. Cassie is finally starting to show independence, growth. The other characters are expanded on. We especially get a bigger look into Nickís character, and thereís action kept up throughout the book. The one thing that I have a complaint about in this trilogy is a lack of real insight into Adams character, which would have been especially helpful for understanding his and Cassies relationship, but I guess you canít have everything. The ending scene especially, the vision of everything and everyone being connected, was touching, a nice way to end the story. Over all itís a good trilogy.