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The Electrical Venus

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Can this shocking new feeling be love, or is it electrickery?

In a lowly side-show fair in eighteenth-century England, teenager Mim is struggling to find her worth as an act. Not white, but not black enough to be truly exotic, her pet parrot who speaks four languages is a bigger draw than her. But Alex, the one-armed boxer boy, sees her differently. And she, too, feels newl
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 19th 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  78 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

The Electrical Venus is an unusual, mystical tale told by the performers of a travelling circus in 18th century England, run by husband and wife team, The Graingers.

Amongst the many performers, we meet exotic Mim with her skin the colour of coffee and her beautiful face. She is well educated, courtesy of one of the performers who has now left. She has big ambitions in life, plus she also has a pet parrot called George too.

There is also Alex, a
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mim works in a side show fair as the sort-of exotic attraction with a parrot that speaks four languages. Alex is the shy one armed boxer of the fair, who grew up with Mim, and struggles with his growing feelings for his friend. Told from both points of view, we get to see romance blossom despite facing adversity and life on the road as the mysterious Mr Fox arrives with his ‘electrickery’ which will thrust Mim into the spotlight.

Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
Told in duel POVs, The Electrical Venus is a standalone YA novel, set in the heart of Georgian England and following the lives of Mim and Alex. Both of them work at a fair, Mim with a multilingual parrot and Alex being a boxer with only one arm. When the mysterious Mr Fox arrives, Mim soon finds herself having a new role as 'The Electrical Venus' and every evening for just a penny, men can come along and kiss her, the kiss itself feeling like a electric shock.

What let the novel down for me was t
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Electrical Venus tells the story of Mim, a half-caste 'girl-exotic', and Alex 'the one-armed boy'. Both have been raised by the Graingers as part of their travelling circus, earning their keep on stage. Funds are becoming tight and Mim, believing herself at the bottom of the pecking order - her act with George, the outspoken and untameable parrot, is wearing thin - fears being thrown out onto the streets. She and Alex begin to hatch a plan to become useful again, growing closer than ever as ...more
Isobel Ramsden
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book about a travelling fair in 18th century England. It's funny, clever and full of colourful 18th-century slang. There are three narrators - two are performers in the fair (Alex the one-armed boxer and 'Electrical Venus' Mim) and one is an omniscient narrator. This feature alone was interesting as I don't think I've read many books with both an omniscient narrator and different first person narrators. Mim and Alex both have acts within the fair - Mim with her parrot, George, and A ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! A wonderful set of characters and a great plot. I felt the main character was a well rounded, head strong female lead. The story itself is not something I have come across in my reading before, so it was a refreshingly new idea for me. My main issue with this was that I loved the characters so much I would have loved to have more of a back story for them all and how they banded together, especially Abel and Joe. Definitely think it would have helped make the character ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Mim and Alex are part of a travelling carnival show run by Mr Grainger and his wife. Both have been travelling since they were young and as they got older their friendship seems like it could grow to more as they start to notice each other as something more. Then Mr Fox arrives with his Electrickery, philosophy and his inventions and Mim is raised to top billing, leaving Alex behind.
It took me a while to get into this book, it was a bit slow throughout but the prologue adds some suspense which
Mia Lindley
My first impression of this book is that it is a romance and that it is about a girl who struggles to show her feelings (love) to a boy called Fox who doesn't really notice her. Therefore this book could be relatable to so many people and maybe even give them some tips ;)
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  This review is spoiler-free.

The Electrical Venus jumped out at me because it is historical young adult fiction -- something I don’t think you see very often. On top of that, the book is set in Georgian England, which is even more of a rarity in YA.  Although I didn’t know much about it, I decided to give it a shot.

To be perfectly honest, this book was just not for me.  The writing style, the characters
aris ☆
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this! It's about a biracial "exotic" girl called Mim, and about Alex, who's a one-armed acrobat. The story's set in eighteenth century England, and in a circus (similar to Caraval, but also way way different) - I'm a sucker for a good steampunk novel, so of course I had to read it. 

The layout of the book was so beautiful! The chapter images, changing perspectives, switches between first and third person - they were all so intriguing? I especially loved the little illustr
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Electrical Venus is about a girl called Mim, a boy called Alex and other members of a travelling performing troop. It is about fame and the lack of it, the treatment of women, race, love and knowledge. I enjoyed this book, however I found it was quite rushed and very predictable. Everything happened exactly as I expected it too!

The story is told from two different perspectives; Mims and Alex’s and then sometimes there is a narrative chapter. I did like this change of perspective, however I’m
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
For my full and lengthier review please check out my blog here:

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

I truly adored this book in every aspect possible. The story was beautifully written and was so well representative of the characters. This was such a joy to read and I honestly could not put it down. Make sure you pre-order yourselves a copy or get it in-store when it's available.

The Plot:
This st
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a charmingly quirky tale of travelling sideshow people and their efforts to entertain the general populace and, most importantly, get coin. With illustrations of handbills that promise the most exotic of treats we get to meet the main players in the novel:

The One Arm'd Boy - Alex suffered a near fatal accident in early childhood and now has only one arm. Raised by the Graingers he has been taught to juggle and perform acrobatic feats for the pleasure of the public.

The Dwaff - Abel is sh
Gemma McGee
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it

The Electrical Venus is the new historical romance from talent writer, actor and novelist Julie Mayhew.

In eighteen-century England Mims is a mixed raced teenager trying to find her place in a traveling group of 'performers'. She is neither black nor white in eighteen century England she is seen as exotic, but that is not enough to be an act, her pet parrot that speaks 4 languages is more interesting than see is.
The only person that truly see any worth in Mims is Alex, the one-armed boxer who ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very sweet book and a pretty quick read. 'The Electrical Venus' definitely lends itself to being more of a romance than any other genre (not always my favourite). But it has the added attraction of being set in a travelling circus in the eighteenth-century, which is setting I find absolutely fascinating. It revolves around our two main characters Mim and Alex, who both have acts in the travelling circus, told from both of
Katy Noyes
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful historical detail, a 'Showman'-esque setting that will pique interest.

3.5 stars.

A travelling fair in Georgian England. Mim is the lowest of the low, a mixed race adolescent, not even an act, merely a dogsbody. We can see that she and the one-armed Alex, a boxer, have feelings for each other, but the pair only allow their thoughts to be known to their confidantest - the animals they regularly converse with.

When a wealthy new benefactor attempts to lift Mim up and place her centre stage
Rebecca Veight
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mim, who is being presented as the girl-exotic (she is half black in 18th century England) in the the traveling show she is part of, is struggling with her parrot act. Until she gets the chance to take part in a new act.

Mim has a wonderfully self aware & humorous way of expressing herself. Alex shows how sweet & endearing of a human being he is through his POV. Smile-worthy are the convos and who they have them with in their respective POVs. Also smile-worthy are the thoughts of new, unexpected
Laura Newsholme
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an unexpectedly delightful book. It tells the story of Mim, a young mixed race girl living as part of a show troop which includes a one-armed boy, a gentle giant with no legs and a dwarf in 18th century England. The narrative is split between Mim and Alex and each character tells the story by talking to an animal - in Mim's case, George the parrot and for Alex, it is the mathematical pig. This took a bit of getting used to, but it is a fascinating way for the plot to unfold it and really al ...more
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Actual rating 3.5

I'm not quite sure what to say about this one. I liked it but it was nothing particulary amazing and unfortunately it wasn't quite as good for me as the blurb suggests.

I really like Mim, she's a well developed, interesting character and I also enjoyed Alex. They have both had their struggles through life but manage to make the best of them. I loved their relationship and think the romance element of the bo
Holly ✨
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
** 2.5 stars **

I thought I was going to really enjoy this book and unfortunately ended up being disappointed.
This story follows mixed race Mim who is treated like an animal in her oppressive society, but is chosen by Dr Fox to be ‘the electrical venus’ and gains the headline act in their travelling show but it isn’t all she expected it to be. As well as one armed Alex who struggles with his identity and achieving more than he is expected to be.
Although I enjoyed their relationship to begin wi
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
I’m not always the biggest fan of historical fiction, however reading the synopsis really pulled me into the story and I am glad I requested this book. A coming of age story for Mim, a teenager who is trying to figure out who she is, The Electrical Venus is a gorgeous read.

The characters throughout this book are really well developed, particularly Mim as she develops into the title character, but also Alex too as the book goes on, leading to a really nice finale. If this book is anything, it’s
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book that got better near to the end. Not that it wasn't good at the beginning, but having seen the characters grow and learn from their mistakes throughout the book it does make the ending more enjoyable.
The book has three perspectives, one a narrator, and the other two the characters Mim and Alex - these two characters perspectives are written as if they are diary entries, but on account of them both being circus performers instead of writing their diary entries down, they speak to
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully quirky drama and love story, embellished with advertising "broadsides" describing the various turns performed by the characters, as well as illustrations for each chapter heading.
The picture drawn of the travelling life in Georgian England was vivid and earthy and the character and development of the heroine was believable and readily engaged my sympathies. The language used felt suitable for the period and soon settled down to something very readable after a slightly chal
Louise Parker
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I first read the first impression of this book, I was skeptical as to whether or not I'd like it, but I was willing to give it a go. It didn't really seem to fit in any of the genres that I like, but it sounded like it could be fun. Well, this book was lovely. I read it from the minute I got it and literally couldn't put it down. It wasn't what I was expecting... It was so much better! Raw, honest, raising issues about race by looking back at the past and pointing out how, in so many ways, ...more
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Hmm. An intriguing concept that just didn't work for me. I think it was the tone which put me off, and then switching between narrative viewpoints meant you could never get used to the tone.

Another reviewer described it as 'mystical'. Not at all. It's not mysterious and magically ambiguous. The acts are done through skill, trickery and science. It's a very earthy book.

Who would I reccomend it to? Perhaps age 13+. Though not to teachers, it's a bit bawdy and sweary. But the sentimental ideas abou
Lauren Noding
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I just finished reading this sweet YA novel and I have to say, it was pretty emotional. I was sent this book by Hot Key Books and I am so glad. But where to begin. So, ‘The Electrical Venus’ by Julie Mayhew is a YA novel, I wouldn’t consider it fantasy but it definitely has fantastical elements I think a fantasy lover would like.

To read the rest of the review, please visit:


Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully empowering read

I'll admit to being drawn to this book by its cover and it certainly lived up to my initial high judgement.
I love how the characters learn how to own and love themselves, perceived flaws and all.

Mim is a wonderful example of female empowerment and I was pleased that Alex was given the freedom to enjoy sexual freedom without judgement.
Julie Mayhew manages to create an evocative setting without blasting us with reams of descriptive passages to wade through. In fact I
Janay Brazier
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me a little while to get into this book but about halfway in I was pretty invested in the storyline. I love that my favourite character is a parrot! The last 60 pages were probably the most gripping, and I’d say this is maybe more of a 3.5, but it just wasn’t my favourite. I enjoyed the writing style though and all of the extra additions such as the articles, posters and drawings. It was pretty short but it was just the right length.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a DNF from me after reading 67%. I couldn't get into the flow of the book. I liked the characters and I was gripped at the start but I always felt like an observer of the story, not taking part in it. Also two DNF's in a row... I might be in a reading slump :( I have read other Julie Mayhew books and loved them!
Laura Noakes
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-reads
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