The title and the cover of this book don't lie. This is exactly the type of jacket you're getting in the book. There are variations in the type of silhouette but essentially you will get 18 designs of those knitted circles jacket that have been popular for quite a while now. What the title and the cover of the book don't say is that though knitted circle jackets have been around for a while, the author does innovate in the shape of these designs, because they are worked in a different way, namely there is a back placket (my description not the author's) to better shape the jacket's back, sleeves and eventually to conform to the body shape better.
I was a skeptic when I received this book, I thought it would all be a rehash of already seen designs, but I am convinced by the quality of the design after reading the book, the book is not in the same vein as the hype sometimes hashed out when these genre books come out. Still there are things that could be worked on to make the book even better.
First, the number of sizes is not staggering. There are only three sizes, and despite the author explaining that the jackets can be styled a bit differently on different body types and will be accomodating of sizes, it remains a bit of a One size fits all concept to only have three sizes in the book. I'm not sure how much work it would have been to include more, and I'm not sure how small size one is, and how big size 3 is. Given that the size shown in the photographs all seem to be size 2, I'm going to suppose that this is the model size, ie S/M. So maybe a size 3 is a L/XL. And this brings me to another critique, and it is that the sizes have only been identified by numbers. The author/editor makes no effort to indicate whether the sizes are S/M/L/XL to keep us in the ballpark. It is usual to at least suggest what these could represent according to the CYCA guidelines. Of course these jackets are not typical, and the author does indicate how to size yourself up by yoke measurement. Now this yoke measurement is explained and to make a short story, has to be taken on the actual body, because there is no way to compare this to a standard bust measurement. It seems to me that once the samples were all knitted up it would have been a simple business to measure them and give a bust measurement, but apparently not. So this book is great to make jackets for yourself, but slightly less so to make gifts for others, if you are not able to measure them beforehand.
Throughout the book, the author gives 4 variations on the basic jacket, (centered circle, off-center circle, centered oval, off-center oval). There are 18 different designs in those four categories, but it is the same type of jacket with length variations and cowls/neckbands/hood variations. The stitches used are st st/rev st st welts. One has little eyelets, quite a few have stripes of colour, and one has elongated stitches but the author is a bit tame when it comes to different types of knitting. Cables might have been difficult to work out but they would also have been the central showcase of the book had they been figured out in any way in the design. Same goes for knit/purl textural work or lace knitting. The decreases might have been worked in the st pattern, though again it would have been difficult to design, but certainly worth the time. I don't want to diminish the work that was done, but it would be a good start for further work.
As it is the author plays with textures in form of welts, sometimes contrasting two different yarns, sometimes she added fringes as well for visual appeal. And what appeal! the jackets are very beautiful, the photographs are really nice, and the editing of the book is great with a lot of explanations, charts and diagrams to make this new construction more easy to understand for the everyday knitter.
Another thing to consider when buying this book is whether you will want to make more than one of the jackets. Many knitters use a buying test that goes somewhat like this: "how many patterns in the book will I want to knit?". In this book, you have to wonder how many swirl jackets you will want for yourself or people you won't have trouble sizing up. The designs are enough similar that a second one might not be the same, but it will fill the same niche in your wardrobe. There are 18 designs, but chances are you will only knit one for yourself. So despite the book being a great technical achievement for MacIver, some knitters might wait for a paperback version or to borrow the book.
If the number of patterns you will make out of this is not important, then the book is excellent and worth the price.