Murdered contortionists aren’t exactly what Vivienne signed up for when she ran away to join the circus. But like most things under the big top, nothing is what it seems. With a past she can’t quite remember, Vivienne finds that running away forever might not be as appealing as it once sounded—especially not when she realizes the devilishly attractive ringleader, Mab, is the Faerie Queen of legend—and that she and the rest of the troupe are locked in an age-old rivalry between the otherworldly Courts.
Aided by her friends Kingston—a feisty stage magician whose magic is quickly stealing her heart—and his smart-ass assistant, Melody, Vivienne finds herself racing against the clock to discover the culprit behind a series of deaths that should be impossible. However, the answer she seeks might reveal more about her own bloody past—and future—than she bargained for.
The show’s just beginning. Step right up…
So occasionally Amazon runs these promotions that are “Because you bought Book X, you can buy one of these books for $0.99!” A buck, I thought, that’s worth a look. And yeah, I got my money’s worth. To the right people, it might even be worth the full $4 Kindle cover price. Would I recommend it for the $8.97 paperback price? Eh…
I’d say this book is kind of adequate. Though the parts are enjoyable enough, there is nothing new in this plot. You’ve see variations on these fairies. You’ve seen this kind of circus. You’ve seen this kind of romance. It’s all old hat. I also found the way she kept going back to Kingston even though his emotional jumps from “I want to help you!” to clear “I know what’s going on with you and I refuse to say what it is” is so obnoxious that most sane people would wash their hands of it. Though, I suppose that’s so common in young adult fiction that I can’t blame him for it. Ultimately, it’s so familiar, it’s forgettable.
The writing is also adequate. While there is nothing particularly egregious here, the book might have benefited from one more round of edits. Some word choices – like “passover-able” as part of the narration that make the narrator sound like a ten year old and should have never made it in into the final text. There’s another part where it looks like words exploded onto the page. It’s the kind of thing you’d see in poetry to represent chaos. It works well in poetry, but looks out of place here, as if the author wasn’t confident his words do their job.
Finally, the weakest part of the book is its serialized nature. Because it is released in parts, each part ends with a Big Moment then fade to black. The transitions always feel harsh and he never found a graceful way to transition to the next scene. And of course, because even the acts are serialized the book is short at just 224 pages and the story isn’t truly complete, but there is more closure than several traditionally published books out on the, so I will at least give it some credit for that.
This is a book that I can’t rally for, but I also can’t truly hate, either. It’s ultimately inoffensive and kind of forgettable. It’s an easy read that can be fun enough if your expectations are adjusted. I won’t be picking up the final two thirds, but I don’t regret the time I spent with this book either. It’s okay. And that about it sums it up.
Verdict: A weak Borrow It, if you can catch it on sale and you like the genre.