Review by Kristal
Book Blurb: Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.
But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.
Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.
Here’s what I thought:
OMG! I loved this book! There, I said it. I couldn’t contain myself. I’ve been bursting ever since I read it.
There are so many facets of the story that I hardly know where to begin.
There’s action, adventure, a little bit of a caper, more deals with a devil, a delicious M/M romance, and a HEA. Nothing is wasted in the writing, and the author’s voice is mesmerizing.
Because it’s written entirely in Gilbert’s point of view, the reader has a front row seat to the CIRCUS. We (the readers) live, breathe, see, hear, taste, fear, and love as Gilbert does and it’s a thrilling adventure.
Trying to avoid getting beat to death, Gilbert inadvertently makes an unbreakable deal with a devil that binds him to a traveling band of misfits and “freaks.” Of course, I loved them instantly because they are quirky, loyal, and irreverently unique.
There are several plots that are woven so tightly to remove one would unravel the entire story.
There’s a steampunk feel to the setting, and a slight creepiness when Gilbert first encounters the “freaks.” However, as Gilbert becomes more comfortable with the circus performers, so does the reader. Gilbert, in his own mind, isn’t a freak and so the reader is comfortable slipping into his skin and experiencing this strange world through his eyes and as he forges connections to his “new family” so do we. Gilbert’s perception of them isn’t all that changes. He does too, evolving from a self-centered schemer to a man who takes responsibility for his actions, steps up to lead when he needs to, and willing puts himself into harm’s way to protect those he loves.
By the end of the story, we no longer see THE CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED as freaks and outcasts, but as a persevering tribe who have earned their rightful place in the world.
Bravo, Ms. Grey.
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, M/M Romance
Length: 322 pages / 2745 KB
Book Format: paperback & eBook
Publisher & Imprint: RIPTIDE Publishing
Blush Quotient: RED
SG rating: 5
Author Scoop: For more information on the author, visit http://www.corneliagrey.com/
This book was provided by Net Galley for an honest review. No other compensation was offered or received.