Showtime (Marvelle Circus, #1)

Showtime (Marvelle Circus, #1) - Chloe Kayne I wanted to like this book more than I did, because it showed potential. Alas, it just didn't do it for me in the end.

The author took care of writing vivid descriptions, and those really pull you in, giving a fairly good view of what the circus looked like, the routines its performers went through, and so on. However, there were moments when they interferred with the narrative, slowing it down and making things confusing. I also spotted several misuses of words, which was jarring.

More importantly, while you can tell the author is facinated with her subject and wants us to share this interest, the historical period wasn't the best choice here. The action takes place mostly in 1918, yet no mention is made of World War I, nor of the impact it was bound to have on circuses (on how many people could afford to attend performances, for instance). The 1900s-early 1910s would've been a more logical choice, at least to me. If you don't care the least bit about historical accuracy, it may not be such a problem, but I couldn't get past this.

There were a lot of characters—something normal in a circus—and it helped me imagine how life went on there on a daily basis, with everybody's routines and personal drama; on the other hand, some of them were perhaps given too much spotlight for too little "return on investment" (the story wouldn't have changed one bit if they had been left out). Also, I think the "Disappearing Man", and the trick behind his show, should've been introduced sooner. The way things went, I felt it odd that everybody talked about the one "dangerous" guy, yet never mentioned the other: they're all working in the circus, shouldn't they have known about this?

As for the plot, there were several interesting leads, yet overall it tended to be confusing, with some subplots left dangling in the way (Ethan's and Jodelle's never got a proper conclusion); so when some more important things happened, they made me think "oh, yes, true, there was that." It was hard to picture a clear antagonist, and the one who appeared as the most obvious often behaved, well, too stupidly to leave an impression.

Overall, I'd say this book is worth a pick for its atmosphere and if you like rich descriptions; unfortunately, those weren't enough for me to go past what I didn't like in it.