The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have conflicting feelings regarding this book. So conflicting that I changed my rating of it at least three times within the last several days, though it stayed well within the "I didn't HATE it, I just didn't like it" range. It was okay.
I finished reading it, and I read the second one, and now I'm actually reading the final book in the series, so you might think to yourself, "Well, you must have liked it!" Let's be clear: it was readable, although painful to get through at times. It is written in that style that is seldom done well: the first person present narrative. It was not done well. The main character is practically a blank slate throughout the book that you can project your own feelings of confusion at. She typically has little to add to the story, despite the fact that it's supposed to be all about her. It contained more than a few cliches, such as: main character has amnesia, main character running away from her past, characters being described as "perfect" or "sexy" with few additional details so you can imprint whatever you want on them, etc. Probably the most annoying part of the book is that you are attached to the narrator and the narrator knows little about what's going on. Hence, the reader is attached to a whiny, untalented, unremarkable girl somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21 who is as focused (if not more so) on having the hots for the magician as she is on the inexplicable murders happening within a circus where everyone is supposed to be immortal. Did I mention that Vivienne, our heroine, hardly emotes except to moon over her magician? I mean it. People are dying, she's being hit over the head with magic, she discovers that she and most others at the circus have magic powers, but whatever. It's just Tuesday.
"This book sounds TERRIBLE! Why would you say it's okay?"
It's like a pumpkin spice latte: good in theory, but a gastric disaster in execution. The concept is what drew me in to begin with. I was lured in by the promise of an impossible murder mystery in an immortal circus surrounded by fairies. Sadly, the execution was lacking. The best parts of this book were the backgrounds and background characters. The fairies, the magic, the settings were all fantastic. A.R. Kahler can actually give some decent descriptions about the circus, the fairies, and how the fairies are generally going to be dicks to all humans. They're dark, and I found that wonderful. I wanted the story to be more about them. And that is why I found this book to be only "okay" instead of dreadful or enjoyable. I obtained enough glimpses of the dark, deadly, dickish fairies to keep me engaged until the end of the book, though just barely.
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