The age old nature versus nurture argument. We may never have a concrete answer of which has more dominance in certain traits, such as a propensity toward violence. William Petrocelli’s The Circle of Thirteen adds to this debate in a near future setting of a matriarchal, dilapidated United States.
The violent actions of a young boy in 2008 sets into motion other violent acts toward women in the following years to 2082, when the U.N. Security Director Julia Moro attempts to prevent a major terrorist action on a national ceremony. While trying to keep the nation safe, Julia is also trying to unravel a familial mystery of who killed her grandmother when her mother was only a baby and also come to terms with the gang activity she saw when she was a teenager. With everything on the line, can Julia figure things out with enough time?
The narrative was captivating in its realistic portrayal of how the world could evolve into a society that is an extrapolation (but not too far off) of contemporary issues and social politics; it addressed issues of women’s social roles, politics, environment, and a general social climate in a tasteful manner. Suspense built quickly and action came, even if it was a bit cliched and trite at times. The text could use a thorough editing as there were several instances of “were” for “where” and vice versa. I was also frustrated by the way the dialogue of one character was split across multiple paragraphs and didn’t follow the convention of using no closing quotation marks–it lead to a disorientation of which character was speaking. And as the narrative jumps around in time to pull vignettes together to create the whole image, it was a bit jarring at times how it seemed rather non sequitur to suddenly jump to a vastly different time or place–particularly when there were times that it jumped to a different character mid-chapter.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.