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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Circus Summer by Kailin Gow for Supagurl Tours

Title: Circus Summer
Series: Circus of Curiosities Book One
Author: Kailin Gow
Published: July 2012 theEdgebooks
Format: Raw Print provided by author for tour review

Every season, the Circus of Curiosities visits the city, bringing with it the most fantastic circus acts that are beautiful, majestic, and death-defying. Every season performers for these acts are chosen from the young men and women in each town, trained, and sent to perform in a televised performance, performed literally to the death. Two performers from Sea Cliff, a beach town at the outskirts of the major city find themselves chosen to be in this Summer's Circus Act. Both must win at any cost, but could they ignore their budding feelings for each other?

This was a book unlike any other I’ve ever read.  The subject matter, the relationships, the whole aura of it rocked me.  I loved every minute.  And on top of that, I received a raw print copy for review, which I’d never even seen a raw book before so I was totally stoked by that!

This is a sort of dystopian, post-apocalyptic story centering mainly around a teenage girl named Leela.  Leela works in a restaurant and goes to school.  But she also takes care of her ailing mother and her young brother.  Her father is out of the picture, and her older brother has been drafted into the war.  To say this girl has some stresses in her life is putting it lightly.  Because life in Sea Cliff is definitely anything but easy.

War has torn the country apart.  People will do any little thing they can to supplement their income.  The modern conveniences we have now are gone; TV, movies, radio, cars… refrigeration.  The wealthiest have some of the conveniences, but otherwise people are pretty much set backwards in time.  The only complaint I have about this book is that the war is not really explained.  We aren’t told how or when or why.  But I am hopeful this will be addressed in future books in the series.

The Invaders experiment in genetic labs and many of those creatures now exist outside the labs.  Mutated versions of terrifying animals are out and about; they are on land and in the water and they are a constant danger.  Not much is told about the Invaders, but what we do learn is teetering on the sci-fi side of things, which I thought was a really interesting twist to the whole post-apocalyptic aspect.

Then the circus comes to town.  But this isn’t any circus.  It is the Circus of Curiosities, and Dr Dex is the ringmaster.  The circus travels around and incorporates volunteers from each town to train and be a part of the show.  They learn things like walking the tight rope and knife throwing, among more dangerous acts.  The circus itself was an entire character, in my opinion.  It was dark, mysterious and a bit dangerous.  Much like a car accident, you couldn’t help but watch.  I was just as enthralled as the audience in the story, I couldn’t even blink for fear of missing something.

Desperation will drive a person to do crazy things.  Some people turn to addiction, some go to war, some love anyone with a heartbeat.  And in Sea Cliff, some join the Circus of Curiosities.  Leela is one of them, along with the boy she has had a crush on for nearly her entire life – Zachary.  Her best friend, Thomas, tries to talk her out of volunteering, but he fails.  Leela sees this as an opportunity to get more money to get her mother the medical care that she needs to possibly survive.  She sees it as the only choice.

                “…maybe that’s when I realized it.  That this would be the rest of my life.  That this would be as good as things got for the rest of my life.” – Leela, thinking about why she would join the circus.

Leela gets herself unintentionally involved in a love triangle between her, Thomas, and Zachary.  I was fascinated how these three teens interacted with eachother.  On one hand you have Thomas and Leela who are as close as can be.  He harbors romantic feelings for her, but of course, she wants Zachary.  But he is a good friend and he wants Leela’s happiness before his own.  I really loved when Thomas came into a scene. His heart is huge, and the care he shows for Leela and her family is more than a bit endearing.  But then Zachary was also fascinating.  There is much more to him than meets the eye, and when he begins to admit that he has feelings for Leela the sparks fly. 

But the circus is dangerous.  People die.  They actually die.  But these are the lengths that people will go to, to try to survive.  Dr Dex is another very interesting character.  He is a man of many faces, and the more you learn about him, the more you can understand why the circus is the way that it is.  I picture him as being very extravagant.  He is just as mysterious as anything else in this story, and it was a bit like watching a disco ball.  Whenever he was around, he shined, and you were mesmerized.

All in all, I really loved this story.  I can’t wait to read book 2.  This story had horror, mystery, budding romance and a love triangle.  It was dark and edgy, and a bit out there.  Like I said earlier, it was totally different than anything I’ve ever read. The writing is terrific and the storyline was easy to follow.  Even though I, obviously, have never lived in a post-apocalyptic era, this was very easy to picture yourself there.  I definitely recommend this book!

There is a $100 Amazon Gift Card giveaway/contest!! It is found within the pages of Kindle editions of Circus Summer!!

The blog that generates the most buzz or sales of Circus Summer (by having whoever buy Circus Summer email their receipt to info(at) theEDGEbooks(dot)com) with a comment in the body that says who and which blog they heard about the book from, the host with the most buzz wins a $75 Amazon Gift Card.  So please, support Fictional Candy, in this contest and buy your copy!  And tell Kailin that Liz @ Fictional Candy sent you!

Kailin Gow is the author of over 100 books, with the majority of them for young adults. Her most popular series are:  The Frost Series, PULSE Series, Desire Series, Wicked Woods, Steampunk Scarlett Novels, and more.  A full-time author, she is also a producer, having worked in radio, television, and film.  She grew up in Southern California, lived in Texas and England, and had traveled extensively around the world.

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