See how one of my most highly anticipated books fared when I actually read it.
A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.
I wanted to love this one, I really did. An ace character in a fantasy book? Sign me up. But unfortunately, it just fell flat to me. I’m not sure why, either. I just didn’t connect as strongly as I thought I would. Halfway through, I found myself wanting to skip to the end to just see who the killer was and get it over with.
I loved the unique setting. The band of characters was absolutely unique and I’d never read anything like them. The circus brought an interesting element to it.
However, the beginning of the novel had me completely overwhelmed. I had to keep flipping back to the passage to see who was who again. Hawk was obvious, the bird lady, but the rest took about 1/3 of the novel to really know who was who. It’s the reason it took me so long to finish this one. I picked it up a few weeks ago and immediately decided I didn’t have enough brain power right now to sort through the characters.
I never saw the twist coming and it did feel like a satisfactory ending. I don’t know what my problem with this book was, I just didn’t love it.
Spoilers below the cut
I’m not sure how I feel about Luke, the ace (which I would consider demi) character being called a freak. I get that a person that never dies and accepts money to try and kill him would be considered a freak I just don’t like that word considering how much aces hear themselves being called that. Otherwise, I liked the ace rep well enough.