Saturday, November 22, 2014

Circus of the Unseen by Joanne Owen...

Title- Circus of the Unseen.
Author- Joanne Owen.
Publish date- November, 2014.
Publisher- Hot Key Books.
RRP- $16.95 (AUD)


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Rosie loved her grandmother, and when she dies- when Rosie was with her only moments before- Rosis doesn't know how to process it and move on, especially when everyone else around her seems to just want to forget the woman her grandmother was. And then Rosie has an accident, and finds herself in the circus, a place that her grandmother might have known about...

Image Credit: Hot Key Books.
Thank you to Hot Key Books for this review copy!

What I thought:
Circus of the Unseen did pose a few different questions and feelings with me. I'll review in a dot-point style to accommodate for that.

  • Expectations/Ideas
Prior to requesting a review copy of this I read the synopsis. Possibly even twice, which I often do, and then upon it's arrival I read the back cover. I start reading 5 days later and have very little idea of what the content is about. And from what I did "remember", the story surprised me! I certainly anticipated some creepy, sinister feelings and characters, but I didn't actually get that. When Rosie gets to the circus she not only takes a strangely long time to put some really quite obvious pieces together, but is welcomed. Nicely. Sure it's scary for her, and she doesn't know how to feel about the strange people, the place she's turned up in, but they are magnificent. They are not cruel or, apart from one instance that's really rather slight, mean to her- she is treated fairly, because this is strange for them, too, and my favourite character? Mother Matushka. I thought she was well defined, wise, and she worked out the way things were and how to respond to the unpredictable things quickly. She wasn't frightening or evil, like I had started to believe. She was grand.

  • The grandmother mystery.
It played out very differently to how I thought it would before beginning, but I wouldn't say, once I got into the rhythm of it, it was full of revelations about the person she was and secrets she's been keeping, exactly. The only revelation was something I was sure would happen that didn't. Most things played out how I anticipated, though that didn't affect hugely on my enjoyment- what affected me more was that Rosie's time with the circus felt like it was full of stalling. Once she gets there, she wants to get away, and everything leads up to the time when Rosie'll have a chance, so though the circus was eighty perfect of the novel, it felt like a big filler, which was a bit difficult to enjoy.

  • Rosie's age!
I don't believe it's ever broached, and I don't thikn it's ever particularly important, but I imagine her to be about sixteen, yet she often acted or thought in a way that was younger, with the occasionally older thought, understanding, dotted in there too, and that made things a bit confusing and frustrating for me.

  • The design.
It's a mic of like a dislike. I love book design- typography, chapter headings, illustration- and here it was a big mix of good and not so good (though not bad). I loved the cover- the babushka and dark colours- before  saw it in the flesh, but like it a lot less upon inspecting a physical copy; I don't feel like it's especially finishd, like there are still elements waiting to be refined, and while I did really enjoy the chapter headings, one just doesn't fit (an envelope with a heart on it) and I couldn't make sense of why it was done like that. I love that the cover is paper in texture- not gloss or matt. It really suits the book.

  • The fairytale.
It's told between parts and is really interesting. I didn't like it finalised as it was and felt an open ending for that would've worked a little better, but apart from that it was marvellously neat.

  • The wonder, the circus.
It was captivating. The scenes inside the big top, the characters showing their talents and the things the circus allows them to become was entirely captivating, and I followed it with, I'm sure, far more awe than Rosie.

Rating: More than Hmm, less than Excellent.
An enjoyable, memorable read, but one that raced too fast for it's end, I felt, and left the majoirty of the story feeling a bit too filler-esq.

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