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R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
First of all, I encourage you to not check out reviews for this book. Right now, as I write this review, the reviews seem to be spoiler free. But as it gets closer to publication, and especially after, I have a feeling that there will be some spoilers revealed, and going into this book not knowing is so much better. I can tell you that there is a big twist, but it happens maybe a bit before the quarter point of the book, so toward the beginning, but not IN the beginning. And this changes things big time. It makes this book completely unique and brings to YA something that we should see more of, but don’t. I have not read a book anything like this and I think it’s an important story.
We get Micah Grey as he first sees the circus and then decides to join. We see that he’s new to the world and he’s running away from something. As I got to know Micah I loved him more and more. I felt bad for him and all he went through as things about his past are revealed. Interspersed we get chapters about Gene, the daughter of a noble family who feels completely out of place in her home. She has a controlling mother who just wants her to be a lady. We see that she suffers through so much heartache, and we see the amazing friendship she has with her brother. I love reading books where siblings are close and I definitely loved that aspect in this book.
This book is hard to say much about because the big twist is such a big part of it all. But I can tell you that I loved the characters, I loved the setting of the circus and how it all came alive for us. I loved the blossoming friendships and relationships and how they progressed. I loved not knowing how things might go, not being able to really predict the future in any way. I love the fantasy world that was created here. It could almost be a historical fiction (some of it felt like maybe the 1920’s) as it wasn’t at all complicated. There wasn’t a ton of travel so we see a small portion of the world and it didn’t feel like a fantasy so much. So I think many who don’t love historical fiction or fantasy may still enjoy it because those aspects are so mild.
The only thing I can think of that’s at all negative is in the beginning I felt like Micah was much younger. I would have guessed 11 or so. But as the story progressed I began to see him as older and I guess he grew so much as a character he no longer felt like a naive 11 year old and more like the 16 year old he was.
I really enjoyed this book and it’s one that I felt a very strong urge to discuss once I finished it. But I don’t know anyone else who has read it yet so it’s been torture holding it in. It’s very unique and very beautiful and very important. Please, please give this book a try, I want you to experience the beauty inside as well. I would give this one 4.5 stars, but since I don’t do half ratings I settled on 4 stars.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.