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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Circle: Taken by Sage Sask is an exciting dystopian adventure about survival. Alexia was found on the beach when she was just eleven years old with no memory of anything that came before. She's spent her life since then living under a name given to her by the government and doing what she can to help care for the younger kids at the orphanage. Upon turning sixteen, she goes to get evaluated the way everyone else her age does and that's when everything goes south. She's quickly carted off to train among other teens like herself and gets the opportunity to have a place among them. That is if she can survive their test. And she'll only be able to do that if she can keep her ability to read people's pasts and futures with a single touch from being revealed. The more she trains under the Circle's guidance, the more about her past is revealed but she doesn't know how much is true or who she can trust. Soon her loyalty is tested when she has the chance to have everything she's ever wanted, but only if she's willing to betray those who trust her.
The story is full of action and challenges with training and tests that are about endurance and survival. The mystery is an important aspect of the plot as the enigma of her lost memories and the Circle is what drives Alexia forward. The Circle has its secrets and the more she digs, the more uncertainty she has if she can trust anyone there. Her life before is a blank which her time with the Circle begins to fill in for her but she has to learn if she can trust the ties she's forming or a life she's been told she had. This explores an intriguing mystery that's bigger than Alexia's past and opens up other aspects of a conspiracy that runs deep between two sides. She doesn't get to be a normal teenager, spending every second apprehensive or just surviving, but Sask incorporates a few gentler moments such as dancing. These moments give calmness to Alexia and allow for her to build connections with the others and with agents while also letting you see the characters as teenagers and allowing you to bond with them. The Circle: Taken is a brilliant read with an addictive plot, well-rounded characters, a gritty world, and a journey of survival.