Fire by Mats Strandberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Because I only semi-enjoyed The Circle, I approached Fire with some trepidation. I'm glad to report that this is a better book than the first, still too long and with passages that get a little confusing, but it was better.
Better how? The girls, the Chosen Ones, are better delineated than before, and the story is sharper. Having said that, if you haven't read The Circle it really won't make sense who's who and what their backstory is (even with that, it got confusing at times). The "Positive Engelfors" movement didn't need the magical intervention (although, of course, it had to have one in the context of this trilogy) because we've seen movements like that before in real life. And the final scene, in the gym, started to get a little too Carrie-esque but luckily it veered away from that before the comparisons got too close.
By the end of this middle book, the girls (now down to four) are closer and understand each other better; they still have no real guide, as the Council clearly against them and their mentor has disappeared. The apocalypse is still on its way and the Blessed One may not have been responsible for the PE events. An editors shears would have worked wonders on this trilogy, getting rid of the padding and confusion to really draw readers in.
ARC provided by publisher.