*I received an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
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.
Before I get started, this is my first circus book, yes I have Caraval and The Night Circus on my TBR pile, but I haven’t read them yet so this will have no tie-ins, no references to those, just my view of this and this alone.
By A Charm is told from dual POV’s which I felt helped tell the story, and to also get a feel for what the characters are thinking and going through during the story.
I enjoyed the actual story, getting to see the goings on of actual circus life and what it’s like for the people that live and travel with the circus. I don’t know if I could ever do it myself, the always packing up and moving, but at the same time you get to travel and see the country.
The story itself was enjoyable, finding out about the curse and the charm, how they are tied together, how the effect everyone that’s part of the circus, what can happen if the charm is weakened and the curse is strengthened. Finding out about the history was really interesting also, granted you don’t find out the back story until almost the end of the book.
I found a number of the side character amazing, and I’d love to have them as my friends. It never felt like a dull moment when they were around. It was nice to see almost everyone come together as a large extended family.
I did have a couple of issues with the book.
The trio of brothers, they were bullies. They seem to think that they owned the circus and could throw their weight around and face no consequences what so ever. The way they treated Emma, I didn’t care for either.
Emma was thinking that she could pass the curse over in a day or two, when she was told that it can take years to find that right person before passing it on. I mean I get that she wants to get rid of it, but there seems to be a set of unwritten rules that need to be met just to find the right person.
The ending and finding out how break the curse. It just felt too rushed to me. Even if there was an additional chapter or two added to pace it a bit better, I think it would have gone better.
I’m glad I was able to get the opportunity to read this. It looks to be a stand alone, so there is a plus that it’s not another series to get pulled into.
I look forward to seeing what Jamie has for us in future books
About Jaime Questell:
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 book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers 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.
Author Website: jaimequestell.com
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