THE HEART OF THE CIRCLE by Keren Landsman.
Angry Robot. p/b. £10.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
In Tel Aviv Reed Katz and his kind endure growing hatred. Terrorists are killing sorcerers and selling the general public a gross misrepresentation of those marginalised members of society. The Sons of Simeon are relentless in their missions and each attack is no less violent or agonising than the last. Events surely cannot get much closer to home.
Reed is an empath and moodifier; he has the ability to affect people’s emotions – change them, absorb them, transfer them to others. When the burden is becoming too much he can take it away from them, with their consent, of course. So why are his kind so detested and mistrusted?
His roommate, Daphne, is a seer, or damus as they are known in the local slang. She knows what will befall Reed; she has already seen in. The question is, can she, he, his friends or her new boyfriend change that?
The Heart of the Circle follows Reed and his friends as they try, and often fail, to outsmart and bring down the Sons of Simeon who so openly and brutally make their message clear. In a politically fraught world, we have a story of great depth, told through well-rounded characters who win great empathy from the reader, and an excellently conceived magic-system tying it together.
Landsman presents an intelligent and reasoned exploration of inequality and the illogical and very unreasonable basis that fuels it. Through Reed’s desire for a society where sorcerers are treated as equals to those without powers, we cannot help but think of those changes we would wish upon our own world and remember the impact the few can have on the many. A powerful story that one suspects has lost little in translation to this English language version.