The Circle is an imaginative, almost dystopian (and almost contemporary too) book that provides an intriguing yet scary perspective of where the future of our technology industry could go in the not-too-distant future. It is a future that seems far off with some of its technology, apart from the subtle mention of recent events and the Circle’s concepts that are strangely familiar, like a FitBit like device and technology resembling VR.
The Circle starts off incredibly positively, sucking myself – and the main character, Mae – into the work and lifestyle of the Circle. The atmosphere of its campus, its positive belief in technology and its charismatic staff makes the Circle on the surface an attractive utopia to read about and for the character of Mae to be involved in.
It is in the middle of the book, however, that the subplots simmering previously come to the forefront of the narrative. I felt they lacked development up to that point to really make me care about reading about them. This period lasted briefly on the other hand, passing swiftly and catching my attention once again to take me through the escalating developments in the narrative to a point where you’re on the point of discovering how far this institution will go.
At the peak of this, waiting for this final big moment, another moment happens where the ending inherently depends on a character’s action. You’re waiting, on tender hooks, wondering what might happen, it’s tense…and then it ends. I sat there in shock flicking through the pages checking I didn’t miss anything. A sense of feeling cheated arises in me when I think back to reading it – it felt like a whole final scene was taken out the book and replace with a single ‘oh this happened by the way’ sentence. The ending itself left me conflicted, I was both simultaneously satisfied and dismayed by the ending, which I think is a place its supposed to leave you.
Overall, this book had so many brilliant 5 star moments, but the pace and the quality of writing didn’t quite last throughout its nearly 500 pages. However, this book was enjoyable and is certainly a modern Brave New World or 1984, which I think in itself should be appreciated. It looks at a lot of modern, scarily familiar issues with a magnifying glass without being too preachy. It’s important I think to remember this in the modern age with massive corporations, like Google and Amazon.
How familiar is this future? Who knows, but as I write this on Google Chrome using Windows operating software on a website owned by Amazon with an Apple phone next to me, it’s not hard to see what might happen if these massive, influential technological companies fused together. This is a novel I think that will stay with me as I grow up with the developments in technology and remind me how important it is to remember to be an individual.
(A great review which also summed up my thoughts perfectly is here, but does contain some spoilers: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…)
I give it 4 out of 5