This week i’m going to be reviewing a book I read a while ago which I wish I never read at all.
Circus of the Unseen by Joanne Owen is a YA magical realism novel about Rosie, a girl who, after an accident at her grandmother’s house slips into another world where nothing is quite right and nobody is safe to trust. This story follows a cast of carnivalesque characters who all live out their lives in the sinister Circus without any hope of leaving. Yet this is all Rosie wants to do. In her quest to get home Rosie must find herself, discover who her grandmother really was and try to uncover the secrets of a Circus that has always remained unseen.
The premise of this book was so so promising and the world itself was actually quite beautiful. Owen believably crafts this dark and elusive elsewhere that is rich with a character and history. Going into this book I was sure I would love it: Who doesn’t love other worlds and sinister circus acts?
Sadly my hopes for this story were not met. I am not in the belief that any one book is truly terrible or ‘bad’ but the Circus of the Unseen possesses such an odd and poorly planned plot that at no point during my reading of it could I ever find myself fully immersed or fully addicted. It is a great shame that Owen’s writing of the plot was such a downfall because otherwise I think the unique ideas behind COTU and it’s gothic world could’ve made this book a winner. The writing did not live up to my expectations: the narrative was poorly paced and all of the characters felt flat. The worst of it was how unexplained Rosie’s situation seemed to be at all times. As a result of this I never found myself caring about what happened to them either way.
The whole story although unique in Rosie’s slipping into another world was just that – unique. Past it’s originality the book didn’t have the literary skill to make it anything more.
Sadly I would not recommend this book
I give it a 1 out of 5 stars.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.