From Goodreads: R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
Some may say that what I’m about to tell you is a spoiler and that I’m ruining the big surprise, but I don’t think I am. I actually think potential readers need to know this information in order to choose their reading material carefully, as this novel is not going to be for everyone. The first thing any potential reader needs to know going in is that this is a LGBT novel. Now, if that’s not your type of story, because, let’s face it, it’s not for everyone and not everyone wants to read about it, then right here you know this book isn’t for you. Quite honestly, this book should have been marketed as LGBT for said reasons above, but also to stave off the bad reviews. Any person who doesn’t plan to read about the exploration of LGBT within this book is in for a rude awakening that will probably make them a bit mad. At least, it did me. I like to know what I’m about to read, and I didn’t see anything on Netgalley, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble that alerted me to the true content of this novel. Now, I would have read it anyway, but at least I would have known what I was getting into, and I wouldn’t have felt so misled. I have a feeling that the book wasn’t marketed as LGBT though, because it might give away the “big surprise” in the book, but to be quite honest, I figured that out by the time I was 15% into the novel, and I, personally, would have liked the warning instead.
Now, I will try to write the rest of this review without giving away the “big secret,” but it’ll be hard because the entire novel hinges on this one fact which could/will destroy our main characters if it is found out. So. Well, as I realized the big secret early on, I spent much of the novel in the know and was able to piece together a lot of things, which was very interesting. In all honesty, this is a very well written novel, but the secret itself isn’t really that well hidden, in my opinion, which makes me think we’re supposed to know the truth early on. But, should one not pick up on the heavy foreshadowing, I think the secret itself will be a bit of a shock, which is always great in novels. I kind of wish I hadn’t figured it out so early because then, I think, the information given to me would have been more intriguing and scandalous. As I didn’t miss it, though, the novel sort of unfolded in a “now you know the who, figure out the why” kind of way, if that makes any sense. Basically, I knew the truth and now the novel was giving me the background to piece together why certain things happened.
One aspect I really liked about this novel was that the point-of-views kept changing between Gene and Micah, and I loved having access to both perspectives as they morphed together to make one complete story. I think Lam did a great job bringing everything full circle, too, though it took a lot longer than I thought was necessary. There’s a lot of downtime in the novel, in my opinion, and I would have liked it to have been sped up, with a few things cut out here and there, and a few others clarified. I really would have liked to know more about the addition of the paranormal that crops up at the end, for instance. I certainly hadn’t seen that coming, and it was jarring and great, especially as everything begins to unravel as the truth comes out. I didn’t really understand what power Gene had, or why, and I would have liked more information concerning that and less information, say, about her inability to decide whether to share the truth with her two best friends. Needless to say, the end of the novel really pulled me in, and so I look forward to the next installment. Three and a half stars.
Angry Robot was extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to it’s release on February 5, 2013.