Title: By a Charm and a Curse
Author: Jaime Questell
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
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.
“You won’t age, but you won’t live, either. Every day you’ll need to be in that booth, waiting to trap the next sucker. And the longer it takes for you to charm some boy or girl into taking your place, the more stunted and dark your heart becomes.”
First of all let me start by saying I was beyond excited to read this book, because when I read it was going to take place in a carnival I immediately added to my TBR, so I can’t thank the publisher enough for giving me an advance copy of this novel. And though I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, it helped me a lot with my reading slump.
I loved that the book took place in a circus/carnival, because those stories usually tend to be quite atmospheric and whimsical, and though I didn’t get that vibe from this one, I got to see a bit more of the people who worked there and their different jobs. It was a bit more focused on the curse and our protagonist trying to get rid of it than in the circus itself, and though I got it, I sometimes wanted to get that whimsical vibe the circuses and carnivals usually have.
“I want to choose a place and for once in my life put down roots. Let them sprawl and grow until I know where I belong.”
The characters were okay as well. I didn’t hate them, but it took me a while to like them, mostly because I didn’t really connect with them until half of the book. The relationship was quite insta love-ish, but that was stated in the synopsis of the book, so I’d already went into it knowing it was going to be a bit fast. But I have to say I liked the dynamics between our main character and her love interest, and how that relationship developed throughout the book.
There wasn’t an actual villain in the story, which til today I’m not completely sure if I liked or not. You know how much I love my villains, so knowing that there was a curse in this carnival that affected all the people working there, I expected an amazing villain, and I didn’t really get one, even though I knew where the curse started from and why.
“The carnival thrives when you thrive. It suffers when ou suffer. We need you and you needs us, and there is nothing that will change that fact.”
The main problem I had and what turn me off a bit was the pacing of the novel. Yes, I admit it was incredibly fast and took me almost nothing to finish, but I feel the whole story would have been so much better if the book was slower and more descriptive. Everything that happened was quite rushed, and it left a sad taste in my mouth, because there were some times where I would have loved to know more about certain things, and all the events happened so fast you didn’t have much time to relish the story.
Another thing that I’m still not positive if I enjoyed it or not was the ending. I mean, I liked how the story ended and everything, but I felt like while I was reading the book I was waiting for a grand finale with all that anticipation that the ending was a bit flat and didn’t blew my mind as I expected it was going to do.
So yeah, overall I have to say it was a very quick and light read and I enjoyed some parts of the book, but I had some issues with the pacing and the ending.
I recieved an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
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