What the Cards Said: So darn predictable

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Isobel Bird Circle of Three What the Cards SaidWhat the Cards Said by Isobel Bird

What the Cards Said is the fourth book in the Circle of Three series, a fifteen-volume set that chronicles the learning experiences of three adolescent girls — Kate, Annie and Cooper, in their year and a day of study in the religion of Wicca.

In this book Annie has discovered her skills in tarot reading, and after she’s been talked into playing “Miss Fortune” at the school fair, others pick up on her uncanny habit to accurately predict things. Soon she’s the talk of the school, with a range of popular girls requesting information on everything from careers to boys to future events. Flattered by the attention, Annie eagerly agrees to show off her gift.

Well, you don’t need Annie’s precognitive abilities to know what happens next — some people are freaked out by her premonitions, and when others discover that the future doesn’t bring them exactly what they want, they end up blaming Annie for their misfortune. The moral of the story: don’t abuse your gifts. But I could’ve told you that before you read this book.

That ultimately is the main problem with Isobel Bird’s books — they’re just so darn predictable. Just reading the blurbs on the back covers will give away the whole story. Furthermore, some details of this story just don’t work well, and are devoid of any meaningful suspense or climax. For instance, at one stage Annie tries to “test” the powers of the cards, and ends up telling Sasha a fib concerning her reading. This results in Sasha running away, and the inevitable “lesson-learnt” speech from her Wicca teachers. But then what happens? Annie solves the problem by doing another Tarot card reading, that not only tells the reader what they already know, but doesn’t help find Sasha in any way. A few minutes later the phone rings, informing them that Sasha’s been found and is on her way home. So much for dramatic tension.

Of course, one might argue that Bird is simply adhering to a realistic course of events, but really, if any practicing Wicca thinks that meeting the goddess Hecate in the flesh, or experiencing Tarot card readings that are that accurate comes under the term “realistic,” then they’re kidding themselves.

But Bird’s books are not all bad, as he has a clear, concise (if rather dull) narrative voice, which can clearly describe what the tarot is all about and brings to life a rather enjoyable coven ritual in which the witches-in-training are sent into the woods in order to meet folks dressed as the characters of the tarot.

The three girls are likeable and Bird’s most worthy attribute is the way he is gradually letting them grow and learn, but they are also rather unimaginative stereotypes: Annie is the brainy one, Cooper is the rebel and Kate is the popular one who is now suffering for her involvement in witchcraft. They are also surrounded by rather tired stereotypes for friends and associates — the streetwise runaway, the sensitive boyfriend, the catty bitch, and all of their Wiccan teachers are virtual clones of each other.

Ultimately, these books are what I classify as “holiday reads” — they are short, cheap, forgetful buys that you can read whilst travelling, but not be too upset about if they’re misplaced.

Circle of Three — (2001-2002) Publisher: With this ribbon I do bind, My heart to yours and yours to mine. Love, I call you, come to me, As is my will, so mote it be. Kate cast the love spell with results unforseen. She cannot stop it by herself, but the book of spells tells her of two strangers who can help her — if only she can find them.

Isobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue MoonIsobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue MoonIsobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue MoonIsobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue MoonIsobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue MoonIsobel Bird Circle of Three 1. So Mote It Be 2. Merry Meet 3. Second Sight 4. What the Cards Said 5. In the Dreaming 6. Ring of Light 7. Blue Moonfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsIsobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation Isobel Bird Circle of Three review 8. The Five Paths 9. Through the Veil 10. Making the Saint 11. The House of Winter 12. Written in the Stars 13. And It Harm None 14. The Challenge Box 15. Initiation


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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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