Hi friends! I am super excited to share my thoughts on a book that’s honestly been one of my most anticipated of the year*. So let’s do this!
*seriously. i don’t even want to count how many posts it’s been in because i got CARRIED AWAY
A huge thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost.
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told.
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide.
I am going to attempt to be as coherent as possible*. This book is Ownvoices for the Filipino rep, and was described as Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera, and a lot of people have compared this to Caraval. I could totally see Moulin Rouge parallels with the chandelier, and the drama of the characters. And there was this sense of unreliability that really reminds me of the atmosphere of Caraval.
*i’m going to be totally transparent and admit that i started this post with “SHIP SHIP SHIP”. yeah.
Kallia is an interesting case. She both exasperated and impressed me. I loved how strong she was, and how she pushed for female magicians to have more opportunities. But she also annoyed me a little? She didn’t entirely think things through. Which I mean same but it’s still a bit obnoxious.
Jack confuses me. He’s a super powerful magician and his character is extremely fascinating. But do I like him???? I DON’T KNOW. I can’t tell if he’s evil or good or just morally grey. I’m excited to see what happens with him in the sequel!
Demarco is another case. I really enjoyed the mysteriousness of his background, and the intracacies of his character. I actually grew to love him more as time passed.
Aaros is MY FAVORITE CHARACTER WHOOP WHOOP. He’s absolutely hilarious, and geuinely the bestest* friend Kallia could ever wish for. He has my whole heart and soul.
*this isn’t a word but we’re rolling with it
I loved the atmosphere, and all the greenhouse scenes specifically! We have a city in the middle of the woods, and magical performances. There’s empty estates and renovated ballrooms. Janella Angeles is a fantastic writer, for I could truly see the story come to life before my eyes. Her descriptions of magic were jaw-droppingly creative. I loved it!
“Music had a way of raising flames from the shadows, and Kallia breathed in the smoke, following it.”
also that ending…???????
I WAS SCREAMING. I NEED THE SEQUEL RIGHT THIS INSTANT. Cliffhanger endings are generally brutal…but this one is killer. While I felt parts of the book felt slow, I’m still shocked by the last 30 pages to be perfectly honest.
As for the romance, well, it’s honestly one of my new all-time favorites. The chemistry? The tension? The DYNAMIC??? Hello, we stan a good sorta enemies-to-lovers romance. I also really adored the talk of feminism and gender inequality in this book. It was handled excellently. I am so very excited to see what happens with the relationships in the next book!
Are you excited for this book?
Do you enjoy magical competitions?