Fantasy meets Circus

The Winter Freak Show by Daniel Parsons

51xUMyts-VL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_Synopsis:  A boy in Victorian England escapes his life in a workhouse, nearly dying of cold on London’s streets before begin rescued by a traveling circus.  The circus is more than it first appears and the Ringmaster is hiding some pretty fantastic secrets.  It begins as a story about a boy rescued from a  miserable existence who is introduced into a world of wonder and quickly morphs into a murder mystery with the protagonist running out of time to save the world from life-altering consequences.

I am typically not excited about books that have to do with the circus.  I know there is a whole group of people obsessed with freak shows and exploring circus dynamics.  That’s not me.  That being said, I really enjoyed this book.  It’s short, more of a novelette size but perfect for an afternoon of light reading.  It’s definitely an unusual read but perfect for someone who wants a break from the regular.

Things I loved about this book:

The length.  The story didn’t try to be longer than it needed to be and yet was able to take me to another world, let me taste the fruit it had to offer and then drop me back off to reality satisfied with the time I spent with it.

The pacing.  The story had a lot of ground to cover in its’ 102 pages and wasted no time in moving through the story.  At no point did it feel rushed.

It was unique.  There are a lot of times when you’re reading a book, especially indie fantasy books, where you start to wonder if you’ve read it before.  Because most authors are stuck re-using the same tropes and plots as well-known authors.  This book definitely doesn’t do that, the idea is unique and fresh.

Final thoughts:

Although I loved the book and gladly give it four stars, there were a couple things I had issues with.  Around the middle of the book, I began questioning the protagonists actions along with the actions of some of the other characters; Melvin and Nicko.  Their choices didn’t make sense to me and caused me to lose interest.  However, as I read I was pulled back in and completed the book feeling good about my choice in reading it.  It is a strong four star book and I would be open to reading more books by the author.  For someone who enjoys fantasy books that break new ground, it’s worth picking up.

Lingering questions:

How did Nicko not see that all the characters dying were from his naughty list?  What was the need of holding the Freak Show when there was Christmas?  How did Toby get fireworks and how did the elves know to come? Why did the police continue prosecuting Nicko when the abductions and murders continued after his arrest?




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Website Revamp

Over the past two weeks, I have been revamping the website and changing the focus of my writing.  I appreciate everyone who has been a committed reader over these seven years.  The dialogues, discussions and arguments we have had over my posts has colored my life in unimaginable ways.  However, over the past two years I have lost the interest I once had in commenting on American politics.  This has been the single reason that some of you have noticed my posts becoming more and more infrequent.

So I decided to re-orient my blog toward other interests.  I have a passion for the emerging indie fantasy genre created by ebooks.  Anyone who has waded into indie books can agree, there are some amazing finds but it takes intense searching.  Going forward I will be posting weekly reviews of ebooks that I believe have reached a level of merit that deserves being broadcast.  They will be able to be read here and mini-reviews will be available on twitter.

You’ll notice the old domain name still links here and will until it expires.  However, past posts have been taken offline, and with them the discussions.  I understand that through these actions I will lose a large portion of my readership.  Though I hope some of you will choose to stay and and provide input on the new topic.


Published in: on February 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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