Carnivals and circuses have fascinated me since I was young. Even today, I still am taken in by magical atmosphere — the way time stops and visitors are transported into an almost otherworldly realm. This wonderment is something I thought Neil Jordan captured immensely well in his latest novel, Carnivalesque. The setting held a great deal of intrigue and carried a mysterious air. This was especially brought out throughout the eyes of the main character, Andrew, who was a young boy.
Six of Crows was an intimidating book to go into. I had problems with Shadow and Bone, and liked the sequels in The Grisha trilogy even less. Needless to say, a spin-off series set in the same world didn’t appeal to me. Thing is, I already owned a copy of Six of Crows (bought it before even reading The Grisha), so I tried to downplay the hype in my mind and dove in. Buddy reading with Crini, Elaine and Sana was an added incentive. What came of it? I actually liked the book quite a lot!
Suspense is essential to propel a plot forward. It’s what fiction is made of as readers want to know, what happens next? An effective way to build suspense is to withhold information, make the reader guess, then reveal things later. That’s exactly what The Invisible Library sought to do. However, that for me, also was the downfall of the book. Too much information was withheld, to the point that there was little for me to hang on to. Instead of wanting to know what would happen next, I found myself asking what the point was.
The overlapping elements between The Girl at Midnight and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is uncanny. If you’ve read and loved DoSaB, you may be overjoyed that there’s another book out there with similar tropes. On the flip side, you may not like it at all because DoSaB was built with much more lyrical prose.