*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
First things first, this is the second book in a series, but it’s about different characters. I don’t think you need to read the first book in order to understand it, but you may be slightly confused about who certain characters are or what they’re talking about in reference to certain events or objects from the first book.
Now for my actual thoughts on the book… I really liked Girl on a Wire and was excited for another book in the Cirque American setting, but this ended up being one of those books that was good, had no big flaws, and had a nice story but lacked that extra oomph for me.
– The book had some really great feminism and LGBT messages. The book was basically about a female fighting for recognition in a male-dominated profession, and there were also mentions of positive body image, accepting people regardless of their sexual orientation/how they dress, and the ridiculous double standard that shames girls for having sex while it praises boys for it. And Moira herself was headstrong and went after what she wanted.
– Moira and Dez had a healthy relationship. Moira handled the relationship bumps maturely and talked to Dez instead of overreacting, and they were both supportive of and stood up for each other. They were also straightforward and communicated instead of playing games.
– Moira had a great relationship with her father. Yes, she lied to him, but I could understand why. And yes, he lied to her, but I could understand that too because he truly thought he was doing what was best. He was a good father, and they clearly cared about each other and had a strong, realistic bond.
– Reading about the magic (the illusions) was fun and interesting. I’ve always been a fan of magic acts.
– Though Moira had a lot of good traits, I didn’t like how reckless she was or how she was using real magic in her acts as it seemed a bit like cheating. And her decision to follow Dez and Brandon into the house party was just epically bad.
– This is being nitpicky since it wasn’t a big part of the story, but it seemed unrealistic that Dez used audience members in his knife throwing act. It doesn’t matter if someone has thrown perfectly 7000 times, the 7001st time could be the time he messes up, and it seems unethical to use people who aren’t trained professionals and don’t fully know the risks. And not only would it be dangerous, I doubt any business owner or insurance company would ever allow that.
– My real issue though was the whole secret magical society thing. It made the book feel more over-the-top than realistic. Yes, I realize the book was about magic, but it’s also what I would classify as magical realism, and the secret society just pushed it a little too far for me and took the focus away from the actual magic. It did up the stakes and will be a gripping and interesting aspect for many readers I’m sure, just not for me. I would’ve preferred the book be more like Girl on a Wire with more focus on the romance, the circus, and how the magic itself affected Moira.
As I said, even though it didn’t blow me away, this was not a bad book, and my issues were pretty subjective, not serious flaws. So if it does sound like something that interests you, I do recommend giving it a read!
Anyone who likes headstrong, determined, female YA characters, illusion/escape magic, and the magical realism genre.