Published by Entangled Teen on February 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.
Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.
Who doesn’t love a book about a magical circus? A circus with both a charm and a curse? Sign me up!
What Fed My Addiction:
- The circus atmosphere. I don’t know what it is about a traveling circus or carnival, but I just love this setting. There’s already such a sense of awe and wonder there that it works really well for a fantastical story. Plus, they’re a little creepy (I think I always think back to Something Wicked This Way Comes), which works well for this story.
- Emmaline’s curse. The curse itself is, again, creepy in all the best ways. Emmaline is turned into something along the lines of a living puppet. She’s solid, her senses are dulled, and she’s suddenly living a sort of shadow life. There was a lot to play with here, and Questell does it well. You couldn’t help but feel sorry for Emmaline as she suffers the effects of the curse.
- Ben. Poor Ben has been trying to escape the circus life for a long time, but he can’t seem to break ties with the people there that he loves. His mother is overprotective of him (for a reason, but still) and he can’t really live his own life. I enjoyed the romance between Emmaline and Ben, though it did perhaps move a little quickly into true love territory.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Few plot holes? I had a hard time understanding why everyone seemed to act like Emmaline would be able to trick someone into taking her place almost immediately when the last person had been in her position had been there for years. And why did no one seem to know the specifics of the charm and the curse or be all that interested in them? It seemed odd to me. But the biggest lack in logic was that when things started to go wrong, people didn’t immediately figure out that it was tied to the curse—Emmaline and Ben, especially—I didn’t understand the doubt there.
- Bullying villains. The tumbling brothers were bullies for the sake of being bullies, it seemed. The book just needed a villain, maybe?
This book was utterly unique and it was definitely entertaining. I had enough hang-ups about the plot that I was close to cutting it down a half star, but I eventually settled on 4/5 Stars. A solid debut.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a bookseller (fair warning: book lovers who become booksellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.
Jaime Questell’s Top Ten Addictions
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