Ahoy there me mateys! This be the tenth book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. The story of reading this book can trace its roots back to me 2016 trip to Maine wherein I got 17 books for 20 bucks. This be one of them. I had never heard of it and picked it up based on the title and fun cover. This was before I understood the hype. When 2019 came around and I still hadn’t read it, I added it to the 19 in 2019 list.
While this wasn’t quite a five star read for me, I do understand the joy that this book brings. The writing style was extremely evocative and I adored the circus. Seriously I want to go there and find me favourite act. I really enjoyed how the circus functioned in terms of how it appeared, the colour scheme, and its operating hours. The circus itself just felt so atmospheric.
As for characters, I absolutely loved Friedrick Stefan Thiessen, the clock maker. He was the highlight on the book for me. Isobel is a close second followed by the twins. While I liked Marco and Celia individually, the flaw in this story was their romance. I kinda hated it. Plus Marco’s treatment of Isobel was kinda crappy.
In terms of the magic itself, it was a bit confusing. I get that there be two types of magic but really both types seemed to have no real rules overall. And the constraints of the contest made no real sense either. Basically I wanted a more substantial understanding of how the circus worked in terms of the duel. And again the romance and resolution of the contest wasn’t the best. The plot was sometimes a bit haphazard. And I didn’t like the second person perspective chapters at all.
I did like the circus so much that while writing this post I went looking for information online to remind me of the specific acts in the circus and to see some artists’ takes. I found a very interesting Night Circus fandom wiki and several fun threads on Goodreads. Also there was this: “FBG* refers to the interactive Failbetter Game.” Me First Mate found the promotion page on the Failbetter Games website. Apparently the game is preserved on StoryNexus.
I am very much looking forward to the starless sea (sea yarn!) and certainly won’t wait three years to read it. Arrrr!
Side note: Out of those 17 books, I have only read 4 1/2 of them! Problems of a bookwyrm.
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
Selena and Julie are sisters. As children they were closest companions, but as they grow towards maturity, a rift develops between them.
There are greater rifts, however. Julie goes missing at the age of seventeen. It will be twenty years before Selena sees her again. When Julie reappears, she tells Selena an incredible story about how she has spent time on another planet. Selena has an impossible choice to make: does she dismiss her sister as a damaged person, the victim of delusions, or believe her, and risk her own sanity in the process? Is Julie really who she says she is, and if she isn’t, what does she have to gain by claiming her sister’s identity?
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