My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read really slowly, so for me to have finished a novel in under a month is remarkable. It's been a long time since I found myself carrying a book around, reading it on the bus and at the movie theater, even staying in bed late in the morning to read.
So why not give it 5 stars? It's a lovely book, full of imagination and lushly described. The characters, however... Celia's dad doesn't know she exists until she shows up in his dressing room, where he proceeds to torture her and turn her into a weapon against Alexander, who then picks up an orphan boy to be his own surrogate in a duel that will take place in a circus over the course of decades.
It's meant to be a love story between the dueling "magicians", but the strongest emotion in the book for me was the dislike the adults have for their "children." I expected that to be addressed at some point, especially after all the talk of binding Merlin in a tree and after the "parents" are bound to the circus in the end. Unfortunately, nothing comes of that.
An additional problem, for me, was too much focus on the younger characters. I never saw the appeal of the circus-besotted farm boy whose point of view spans the book. He has no imagination of his own and ends up responsible for overseeing the artistry and imagination of others.
I really wanted to love this book, but too much seemed to be missing. I look forward to her next, though.
Causes Loren Rhoads Supports