Being the second book in the fifteen-book series The Circle of Three, this further introduces to us the concept of Wicca and the three teenage girls that decide to explore it. Kate, Cooper and Annie are three very different girls that met over a spell that went awry, and as a consequence discovered a subculture of Wiccan practices at work in their town of Beecher Falls. Like the previous book, So Mote It Be, the story is predominantly told through the point-of-view of Kate, a popular girl who is trying to juggle her ditzy friends with her newfound interest in Wicca and her friendships with Annie and Cooper.
In Merry Meet we are introduced to two major reoccurring characters, Sasha (a young runaway who also becomes interested in Wicca) and Tyler (a male-Wicca that catches Kate’s eye) and the trouble that both cause in Kate’s life as she constantly tries to keep her Wiccan interests hidden from her friends, especially the bossy Sherrie and her boyfriend Scott. Though it ends on a cliff-hanger, it is reasonably fast paced and draws upon certain storylines that were introduced in the first book (with plenty of room for the sequels).
Together Kate, Annie and Cooper commit to a dedication ceremony that requires them to study Wicca for a year and a day — the stories that follow are each centered around a particular girl and her experiences. Isobel Bird does an adequate job of presenting three independent girls and a (mostly realistic) view of Wicca. Unlike the type of witchcraft you would find in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, there is a firm grounding in reality, i.e. no levitating, flashes of light or fighting demons. However, Isobel Bird does sometimes slip too far in the opposite direction, as often his stories are rather dull and anti-climatic; furthermore, I have heard complaints that the Wiccan religion isn’t taken seriously enough in these books, portrayed as the sort of trendy, flavour-of-the-month gimmick. I could kind of see their point when there are lines like this: “Ritual begins at five, with potluck after.”