fantasy | young adult
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
So the short story is: This was a disappointment. A big disappointment.
This is probably one of the most anticipated read for many, and I’ve seen so many people excited about getting an advanced copy and reading it. But I couldn’t finish the book. In case you’re wondering I DNFed at 56% and couldn’t bring myself to pick it up again. Every time I would read 15 pages at most before my eyelids began feeling like they weighted a ton! I would take a nap every time I tried to read this book, it was that boring to me.
At first I thought it was that my high expectations had ruined the reading experience for me. I had gotten a sneak peak to the reviews on Netgalley and they were SO. GOOD. Everyone is praising this book so much I can envision them doing a standing ovation.
So I’m just going to talk about why I didn’t like it. Maybe rant.
Let’s start with the characters. I know nothing about them. And there’s a bunch of them.
The main character Kallia was annoying and rude. I liked her at the beginning when she stood against Jack and escaped to join the competition because she wanted to make it on her own. Loved that for her. And I understand she is dealing with a whole ass group of men looking down at her because she is a woman but she is so disrespectful that it borders on unnecessary. There was also the thing with Daron, they had no chemistry and I don’t know the logic behind that weird attraction.
Daron has a mysterious backstory that was sort of interesting but after knowing little more than NOTHING in the first half of the book I lost interest. The only character I sort of liked was Kallia’s assistant but I don’t even remember his name. He was nice and looked after Kallia even if she kept him out of his secrets. But there’s also not much revealed about him on the first half besides that he is a thief. There are a group of girls that are part of the circus troupe that befriend Kallia and they seemed cool but they also serve to push Kallia’s shows, which is unnecesary.
Why? Because there is no competition. By the second night of it the only show left is Kallia’s. The other magicians are all gone. The other magicians didn’t leave a mark on me, they barely had names. I think they didn’t really have more than one direct interaction with Kallia, and that was when they all made it obvious they are misogynistic assholes. After that? They went poof. Not to be seen again by me. I expected to be a rivalry between them, at least more than one real verbal argument or something that made at least one of them more memorable.
Now let’s talk plot. Or the lack of it.
I just don’t know where the book was going? Like it starts with the competition, there is something weird about the city, and sure the magicians are disappearing for some reason. But WHERE. IS. IT. GOING? I expect books with mysterious settings to make me wonder what the hell is going on, make theories, suspect characters. Yet I got nothing here. There is something going on about mirrors with Kallia and Daron but there’s no clarity about what that is about and at this point I don’t even care anymore because you can’t give me crumbs when you’ve got no bread to give.
The pace was so slow the half of the book I read took me about a fucking month because I couldn’t stand it. Add to that the fact that NOTHING HAPPENS in the first half of the book. And from another review I found on Goodreads the second half doesn’t change much.
You can’t imagine my relief when I finally decided to DNF this book because the idea of opening the book made me groan in frustration.
Is this a book I can recommend to other people? No, because I didn’t finish it. You can still read it and you might enjoy it, I just wanted to rant a little because this was such a huge disappointment for me I feel sad.