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{March 11, 2013}   {Review} The Daring Young Man by Jane George (Mumbo Jumbo Circus #2)

16081720From Goodreads: Sixteen year-old Dante Delgado is staring down the barrel of a gangbanger’s gun when he’s surprised by the arrival of a clown on a unicycle.

Dante hates clowns. He hates everything to do with the circus. He once dreamed of being one of the few trapecistas able to do a quadruple somersault in the air. Then a tragic accident took his parents, their circus, and his ability to fly. But when faced with the choice between the circus or a bullet, he jumps on the clown’s shoulders and rides off to an even more mysterious adventure involving Dia de los Muertos, two dangerous girls, and the nemesis of the tiny, magical Mumbo Jumbo Circus, the evil Las Vegas spectacular, Cirque Patron.

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This was a very fun read.  What I liked about it is that, though the second book in a series, it can stand alone.  We have a brand new protagonist in this story, Dante, and while our old cast of characters are back, too, readers don’t need to know all of their background in order to understand the plot of this story, which is great.  I love sequels that I can seamlessly melt into, where I don’t have to try to remember what happened in previous books because, let’s face it, I read too many to remember them all.  So, a sequel that continues the fun, but doesn’t tax my memory is a wonderful thing.

I’d say that this is a novel that will appeal to most MG readers as the reading level isn’t too difficult.  The plotline itself is a bit straightforward, with heavy foreshadowing that foretells much about certain character’s loyalties, but it’s still a fun, easy read.  However, the amount of repetitive swearing in Spanish (one word) and the references to sex make it a book I wouldn’t actually give to an MG reader.  Instead, I’d peg it for maybe a 15-16-year-old YA reader, even though the reading level might be a bit below that age group.  But I’m pretty sure they would get a kick out of it, regardless of age, because, well, I did, and I’m not even close to a teenager in years anymore…

This novel is full of great themes that touch on loyalty, family relations, love, selflessness, and even selfishness.  Dante, a lone teen abandoned by his brother, struggles to find his place in the world.  With the death of his parents, an accident that left him crippled, and his loss of his dream, he sees no up in life.  Even when he finds the circus, his own wants and needs cause him to trust the wrong people and push away those that would help him if he only gave them the chance, and while a lot of his decisions really irked me, his emotions make him very real.  I can’t imagine being in his situation, and if I had the chance to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing, well… I might make some of the same decisions Dante does.  It’s easy for me to judge him from the comfort of my living room, but we never know how we’ll react in certain situations, and I love that this novel makes me stop and think about that.  I also love the magic that George entwines with both this novel, and the prequel, Mumbo Jumbo Circus, as it gives that extra bit of oomph that adds to the fun of the circus in and of itself.  Try it and see.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received a a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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