Book Review: Sleight (AVRA-K Book 1) by Jennifer Sommersby

 
 
Geni's mother has always talked to ghosts and been haunted by a demon of some sort; when she dies, Geni finds that those things have now passed on to her, along with the responsibility to protect a magical book. The problem is, Geni doesn't know where her mother hid it, so, along with the help of her father figure and possibly a boy she's just met, she'll have to piece together the clues and find it.

Book Review: Sleight (AVRA-K Book 1) by Jennifer Sommersby | reading, books, book reviews, paranormal/urban fantasy, young adult, circus
Title: Sleight
Publisher:
Series:
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 424
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

*I received an ecopy of this book via Edelweiss. This has not influenced my review.*

I enjoyed this book. It was slow-paced without much action until the end, but it had a good mystery and some likeable characters.

I really liked the main character, Geni. She was intelligent, mature, and just imperfect enough to be realistic. Her first thoughts in regards to the magical, dangerous book was that she wanted nothing to do with it (which was smart). When she realized that wasn’t an option, she wanted to find it so she could destroy it, and she continued to handle things as best as she could. Even at the dinner party when Henry started flirting with her, she considered the possibility that he might’ve been sent by his father to find out more about her and what she knew, so she didn’t let her guard down. She made a decision near the end that didn’t quite make sense, but it wasn’t so bad as to ruin the book.

Henry was likeable too, in a sweet way. He’s the type of person I’d love to have around in real life because he was so kind.

As for the plot, as I said, it was kind of slow with not a whole lot happening for a while since Geni was trying to figure out the mystery. It was frustrating and didn’t really make sense that Geni’s mother would’ve kept Geni in the dark about everything the way she did though (one of those, if we’re being honest, seemingly forced plot things that had to happen in order for there to be a story). But that issue was offset some by the fact that Geni also thought it was the wrong move on her mother’s part and was equally frustrated. It was also offset some by the fact that Baby (a nickname, he’s basically her dad, though not by blood) told her everything he knew and was there to help her with all this. That’s something you don’t see often in YA books where the protagonist has to figure out some sort of mystery—the character actually getting information and help from an adult. I liked that Baby really did play such a big part in things and was always there to help and tell her what he knew.

Last but not least, there was the setting. I had hoped, when I saw the protag was an aerialist in a circus, there would be some actual circus stuff, especially about performing, but there wasn’t much, other than the elephants and the fact that they lived in trailers on the circus grounds. And I can’t see the next one having much circus either. That disappointment is on me though for having certain expectations. And I’ll admit the elephants were adorable (they were rescues, treated well, and I think they were eventually going to go to a sanctuary).

So overall, while this wasn’t as circus-y as I wanted it to be, it had mystery, a bit of romance, some supernatural abilities, and a main character who was easy to root for!

 
 

Book Blurb

Growing up in the Cinzio Traveling Players circus, Genevieve Flannery is accustomed to a life most teenagers could never imagine: daily workouts of extravagant acrobatics; an extended family of clowns; wild animals for pets; and her mother Delia, whose mind has always been tortured by visions—but whose love for Geni is unwavering. In a world of performers who mystify and amaze on a daily basis, even Delia’s ghostly visions never seemed all that strange . . . until the evening Geni and her mother are performing an aerial routine they’ve done hundreds of times before, and Delia falls to her death.

That night, everything changes.

Already reeling from the tragedy, the Cinzio Traveling Players have even more to adjust to when the circus falls under new ownership. Though the new benefactor seems incredibly generous, Geni suspects his motives are much darker. And when the owner’s son, Henry, starts taking an interest in her, is it actual attraction, or an attempt to get her to lower her guard so his father can secure what he’s really after?

Suddenly swept with the terrifying visions that plagued her mother, Geni’s no longer sure who she should trust or love. And, worst of all, she’s starting to question whether she can trust her own mind.

Sommersby blends teenage drama, sizzling romance, ancient lore, and dangerous magic, against the bewitching backdrop of the circus in this atmospheric, lushly-written tale.

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  1. Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

    The first thing I thought when I looked at the cover was yay a circus setting. I thought maybe the slow pace was because of world building so you surprised me by saying it was the mystery. I will be curious to see what you think of book two. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Nope, not too much world-building, but a lot of the book is the character trying to follow clues and figure out who to trust and figure things out and whatnot. Thanks!

  2. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I would definitely expect more of a circus story by looking at the cover, but I’m really happy to hear that this story has elephants that are well cared for. I always worry that stories about elephants are going to end tragically!

  3. Danya @ Fine Print

    Geni sounds cool, and I’m always drawn to a “magical book” story. That said, I’m not sure this one’s for me give it’s slow pacing. Too bad the circus setting didn’t quite pan out as well as you’d hoped, but I’m so happy to hear that the elephants were rescues and treated well! I was worried about that when you mentioned them. ?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I really liked her! I was bummed about that circus aspect though :-/ But yes, I figured people might be worried about the elephants, so I wanted to mention that!

  4. Daniela Ark

    asfgsgf the cover! I KNEW instantly you would love the setting before reading the review :) and then I read it :( there wasn’t much circus??? WTH? why do they do this to people??

    1. Kristen Burns

      Idk! I got excited when I saw she was a silks performer and everything! It’s like every circus book simply takes place at a circus but isn’t about a performer or doesn’t really involve much circus :-(

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This sounds kind of interesting. I like the fact the MC had a sensible response to a dangerous book – not wanting anything to do with it – and then reluctantly following through to destroy when she had no other choice. Very sensible and I like that. A slower pace might have bothered me a bit, especially if it than sped up towards the end but I suppose it depends on the writing because sometimes and ending can easily snowball. It sucks there wasn’t more circus stuff but maybe it didn’t fit too much with the story.

  6. Lola

    Geni sounds like a great main character with how she acts realistically. Henry sounds sweet. i like it when books have kind characters.

    That’s too bad the plot line about her mother keeping Geni in the dark didn’t make much sense and seemed to be there just so the plot could work. but I do like the sound of the mystery. And that sure is unusual to see in YA books that an adult figure helps them so closely.

    Too bad it wasn’t as circus-y as you had hoped, but it sounds like a decent read overall.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really liked Geni! And Henry was easy to like too.

      Yeah, I feel like a lot of books have those kinds of things though, things that have to be that way, or else there’s no plot. It was great, at least, that she had an adult father figure helping her.

      It was a decent read, I just personally was bummed about the lack of circus.

  7. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    I love when teens and adults work together. That’s one of the reasons I am appreciating The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater a lot right now. I don’t think this is one for me though. Although the characters do sound nice, it isn’t pulling me in so much from the sound of it. And then there is the slow pace and not too much world building either.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, it was great seeing a teen and adult work together for a change! I haven’t read Raven Cycle yet, but that’s good to know that it’s in that series too :-)