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tt The Temptation (TSC #6) by Aubrey Clark | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Temptation is an all-time series LOW for the mess that was a continuation of L.J. Smith’s fantastic The Secret Circle series. What was once a delightful and magically dark trilogy is now a half-assed attempt at expanding the world and giving it a bit of a modernized treatment. And I can’t help but to think, once more, what the hell was going on in the minds of those who decided to continue the series?

Okay, okay, fine. It’s totally the whole money thing and it’s very tacky and disappointing but I do get it. I still think it was horribly unnecessary and butchered a perfectly good series by taking it away from its roots and the brilliantly kind L.J. Smith.

In theory this final installment could have worked well and packed on the action, it fell back into its pattern of being increasingly lackluster and a barrel of wasted potential. The Hunt, its predecessor, was far superior and while it was by no means as good as the original run, it was still better than whatever this was.

Once more, this is because L.J. Smith isn’t the one writing the books any longer and our ghost writer, Aubrey Clark, doesn’t quite have the spark or understanding of these characters like their creator did. Even the television adaptation (RIP, you were gone too soon!) seemed to portray the characters better than this mess.

I standby what I said previously, that Clark is a good writer but lacks something in keeping the characters sounding like they should–it almost feels as though she read a brief on what the original trilogy was like and thought: “Eh, I’ll just wing it.”

Just when things were solid in The Hunt, and suspenseful as hell, things hit a rather dull dead end in this one. I had to put my copy down multiple times before forcing myself to finish. I think that the only saving grace of The Temptation was seeing the creepy Blak ancestors as Cassie’s friends and the delightful fact that Nick was the only one who was able to fight the spirit which was to posses him.

And I will say we get some answers in this one.

Who the ancestors are, what Scarlett plans to do next, what they all want, how they can be defeated and how Cassie could get her friends back. Although it could have been explored further or handled better, I liked seeing that darker side to Cassie and seeing just how determined she and Nick were to save their friends.

I also liked that we seemed to backtrack re: Scarlet and Adam being soul mates. I did enjoy Faye, upon gaining herself back, playing everyone by claiming she’d go with the ancestors but really was on the circles side the entire time.

I just thought that everything good about The Temptation was rushed or very blah when it came down to how it played out. Cassie saving her friends felt so anticlimactic and I can’t help but to scoff at how she let Scarlett screw her over yet again, or how she fell for a trick by the spirit possessing Adam.

Like, I’m sorry but Cassie Blake would never. She would have learned long ago. Aubrey Clark, and the publishing house behind this move, needs to stop butchering their own works and especially need to stop trying to make Scarlett happen.

And how weak was her “redemption” arch?

Other solid notes: Nick and Cassie bond. We already know they wouldn’t be endgame but it was still nice seeing one more go at this. I also appreciated the fact that Cassie made a huge sacrifice and her friends, in turn, made one for her. I think that was just about the only time that our characters sounded as they should.

I wouldn’t mind learning more about the ancestors, though, and the previous lines in the circle’s family tree. It would be a bit interesting to see that explored somehow–so if anyone has any FF or something, hit me up, because I think that has potential to be something good.

All in all, I’m curious to see what L.J. Smith would have done if the series hadn’t been maliciously taken away from her. I often find myself hoping that she’ll do a move and post a new story one day as a short or how she did with her The Vampire Diaries book series on Amazon.

I don’t recommend this installment to fans of the original trilogy, fans of L.J. Smith or fans of the show. In fact, I don’t recommend it to anyone really and found it to be a rather tedious experience to struggle through and am quite happen that I am now free of it.

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