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Cirque Berserk

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  116 reviews
The summer of 1989 brought terror to the town of Shadows Creek, Florida in the form of a massacre at the local carnival, Cirque Berserk. One fateful night, a group of teens killed a dozen people then disappeared into thin air. No one knows why they did it, where they went, or even how many of them there were, but legend has it they still roam the abandoned carnival, lookin ...more
Kindle Edition, Rewind-or-Die #4, 111 pages
Published February 20th 2020 by Unnerving (first published February 12th 2020)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Book 4 of the Rewind or Die series, by Jessica Guess.

hmmm how to describe this... it was definitely retro (the whole point of the series, so that's a success), super bloody (carnival massacres? YES please), w/ some fun twists. would def recommend if you're an 80's slasher fan :)
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Really fun, 80's inspired supernatural slasher romp about stupid teens being slayed in a haunted, abandoned playground.

Would have pushed this up to 4 stars if it wasn't for a huge plot hole I couldn't overlook - and can't describe without spoilers.

And, from a personal point of view:
Can somebody please explain to me - other than the obvious 'teenagers are stupid' argument - why it will be thrilling to visit a 'haunted' place if you don't believe in ghosts? Does it really make you feel like a big
Sadie Hartmann
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 1989, a small town called Shadows Creek, FL experienced a horror like no other when a group of teenagers went on a killing spree at a local carnival, then disappeared. Fast forward to 2019, teens still talk about the Cirque Berserk massacre. Looking for adventure one night, some high school friends rent a bus and find themselves making a trip to the legendary, abandoned carnival to explore. A gas station attendant warns them that the place is dangerous and people die there-but this seems to o ...more
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
4 1/2 Stars

Cirque Berserk starts right off with murderous mayhem and doesn’t come up for breath until the story ends. If you want a fun slasher set to an 80’s soundtrack you need this book in your life.

This story takes place in two timelines. The modern-day timeline features a group of high school kids looking for a night of excitement. They decide to visit Cirque Berserk, an abandoned amusement park that has a reputation for death! Even a dire warning from a local convenience store employee abo
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
A Haunted POV

Story – 4.0 Stars

“Cirque Berserk” by Jessica Guess takes the hackneyed plot line where teenagers break into the haunted carnival, yadda, yadda, yadda, and turns it on its head by changing the focus of the story. The plot also shifts back and forth time wise, but it’s done well and not bothersome.

I enjoyed the story quite a lot as it kept surprising me by going where I didn’t expect it to. There’s also a bit of romancing the dead between the carnival's permanent “guests”.

Michael Hicks
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bought, horror
My review of CIRQUE BERSERK can be found at High Fever Books.

Cirque Berserk, the fourth entry in Unnerving’s series of Rewind or Die novellas, is a slasher fan’s dream come to true. It’s fun, compulsively readable, and Jessica Guess tosses in one hell of a game-changer that turns this horror book head over heels.

A group of teens aren’t ready for their Senior Night festivities to end and want to keep the party going when one suggests heading to the highly Instagrammable and deserted carnival. Cir
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
"You know, I told you we'd end up like a horror movie."

Cirque Berserk is a very fun slasher, and it's exactly what I was hoping for. The storylines move between the 80s and present time, and it was cool to see how everything panned out. This book is gory and entertaining, but I wish it would have had a few more rounds of editing - it was a little distracting at times. I had a lot of fun reading Cirque Berserk & I can't wait to see what Jessica Guess does next!

CW - domestic abuse, sexual harassme
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-books, owned, lohf
Cirque Berserk is the first piece of work I have read by Jessica Guess, and it will 100% without a doubt not be the last! I had a great time from the first page through the end... and I still want more! Cirque Berserk is just my kind of book: slasher horror! I will always love the slasher sub-genre. But this is not your average or cookie-cutter slasher. Guess creates her own new formula and she executes it perfectly.

Full of twists and revamped/modernized tropes, Guess delivers quite the scary s
Dale Robertson
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a middle of the road read for me. I went into this expecting a creepy carnival environment but came out underwhelmed. Maybe that's my own fault for expecting something different than it actually was.

The writing didnt give me much feeling of dread or creepiness in terms of the carnival atmosphere. The book turned out to be more a teenage romance storyline, with a supernatural element thrown in. Yes, there's plenty of gore and horrific death but alot of that happens early on. Then the ba
Tracy Robinson
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come!
Sara Tantlinger
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very gory and entertaining time! Had a lot of fun reading this one, and I look forward to what Jessica Guess does next!
Suz Jay
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
When a trip to an amusement park fails to provide the thrills they’d hoped, a group of teens visit Cirque Berserk, an abandoned carnival where horrific spree murders occurred in the late nineties. The carnival is said to be haunted by the murderers and may still be claiming victims, yet the lure of taking Instagram-worthy photos beats the teens’lingering fears, at least it does until the bodies start piling up.

The story toggles between 1999 and 2019 providing a fun mix of pop culture and music,
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it

A group of teens decide to take their grad night celebration a step further than everyone else by visiting an abandoned and supposedly haunted circus.
It turns out not to be as abandoned as they expected and once you go inside, there's only one way out.

Personal Opinion

A fun and short carnival story with a side of murder and blood sacrifices. It definitely had strong 80's vibes and popular song mentions in the flashbacks throughout the story.
There were quite a few errors with some word
Audra (ouija.reads)
This bloody little novella seems ripped right out of the golden era of slashers—and I loved it!

I had so much fun reading this novella!It takes everything that's great about those late night movies that Elvira used to profile and puts it into a fun, quick, and campy story. It gave me all the things that I want from a slasher: teens who think they are invincible (spoiler alert: they're not), interesting gore effects and death scenes, an excellent setting (does it get any better than a decrepit car
Sonora Taylor
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. A bloody blast.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cirque Berserk can be summed up in a single word: fun. This is both a return to classic slasher set up, with updates for the time period, and a unique take on the genre. The set up was perfect, the characters just developed enough, and the choices taking the reader down all the best paths. Rochelle is my new favorite character in a slasher, and I had a great time with the musical references, and the setting of the abandoned carnival. A fast, enjoyable read.
Cassandra Knudsen
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book had me laughing out loud the whole way through. Much like the ghosts trapped in the park (And their victims), I couldn’t seem to get away - I read it in one sitting! It’s a roller coaster fast read that will leave you craving more from author Jessica Guess. The characters are interesting and distinct. The deaths are wild and unique. It’s everything you could want from a paranormal slasher book and more. I can’t recommend this book enough!!!
Heather Horror Hellion
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I needed this.

This book is like your favorite slasher movie meets paper. It has love, it has violence, and it has a kick butt POC main character.

The writing was excellent, the characters all had well written back stories.

I don't want to give too much away. I just need you to know this book is incredible and you should give it a try.
Joshua Marsella
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a brilliant take on the slasher sub genre. I’ll be honest, I’m not normally a big fan of slashers. They generally follow the same patterns and tropes that tend to get repetitive after you read a couple of them. This was not that! The premise is unlike anything I’ve read before, jumping back and forth through time to tell almost two different stories that were directly connected. I loved the diverse cast of characters, the killers and their victims, and the dashes of humor sprinkled in w ...more
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cirque Berserk is a horror novella set in a haunted carnival. How can you say no to that? This is another fun entry in the Rewind or Die series. It has some central twists and turns, so I will have to use the spoiler tag rather generously. Please trust this book is worth the time.

Cirque Berserk has a familiar start: a group of teens looking for fun. Sam, your typical final girl, convinces the other teens that their senior night demands a truly special experience. Sherry suggests the abandoned Ci
The Library Ladies
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
(originally reviewed at )

Thanks to Jessica Guess for sending me an eARC of this novella!

If there are two things you should know about me and my pop culture affinities, I love slasher movies, and I love the 1980s (in terms of the art and music scene, NOT the political one). And if you give me slasher movies from the 1980s, I’m golden. When Jessica Guess contacted me asking if I would be willing to read her new novella “Cirque Berserk”, the description alone sucked me in. A
Alex (The Bookubus)
Nov 25, 2020 rated it liked it
A group of students visit an abandoned amusement park known for a mass murder that took place there thirty years prior.

This is definitely the kind of story where you need to switch your brain off and just go along for the ride. If you stop to ask questions it won't be nearly as fun. And unfortunately I had questions! There were quite a few things that didn't make any sense and they kept taking me out of the story. The frequent change of character perspective and time change was a bit confusing a
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of Cirque Berserk in exchange for an honest review.

This review was originally shared on Dead Head Reviews.

When Jessica Guess contacted me to offer an ARC of Cirque Berserk, she told me that due to the subject matter (slasher! 80’s-esque! carnival!), she believed that I would absolutely enjoy this novella. Reader, she was right. I’m confident with saying that I’m completely obsessed with this entry in the Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series.

Kim Napolitano
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cirque Berserk is an abandoned carnival, out in the middle of no where, you can smell the Florida murk..and it was the scene of a bloody slaughter and the place was closed down and abandoned, or is it? Jump forward in time and a group of bored teens decide to investigate the old murder scene for themselves even though they were warned every step of the way not to go there, it’s haunted and people have vanished. Stupid kids...

Brings back memories of the classic 80’s horror slasher films. This nov
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cirque Berserk is a seriously fun read! This could have been a fairly predictable, 80s-inspired slasher, but instead Guess has taken an old idea and made it new again.

The twists are surprising, the setting is perfect (who doesn't love carnival horror?!) and the kills are delightfully gruesome. I read nearly the entire book in one sitting. The plot never slows down for unnecessary exposition, while still providing a satisfying enough motive and explanation for what's going on. This book is action
Valerie - Cats Luv Coffee
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
There's something about abandoned places that are inherently eerie; Amusement parks are one of those places. Maybe it's that our own experiences of those places tell us that they should be filled with boisterous voices and screams of excitement and happiness. Cirque Berserk speeds us away to a carnival that has remained empty since 1989. Those are screams you hear but they are not shouts of enjoyment!

Read more at Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews
Red Lagoe
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jessica Guess hit the nail on the head when she wrote this book for the Rewind or Die series by Unnerving. We get thrown into a classic slasher story from the get-go when a group of young co-eds decide to check out the abandoned haunted amusement park at night. The book is laced with plenty of 80s pop culture nostalgia and bloody slasher awesomeness.
Guess ditched the overdone horror tropes and stabbed at the story with some surprising turns of events that made this a refreshing read.
A fun roller
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“I’m sorry I’m not as excited as you are to be a horror movie trope. My least favourite horror trope, in fact: dumb teens go somewhere they shouldn’t.” - Rochelle, Cirque Berserk

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

There’s been a lot of conversation lately that has stemmed from Matt Ruff’s book Lovecraft Country and the HBO series. How do you deal with the legacy of racist white horror and sci-fi authors when their work
Cody Daigle-Orians
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
On the tail end of an uneventful senior trip, a group of friends are looking for one last adventure. They find it in Cirque Berserk, a shut-down carnival that was the site of a grisly murder spree some thirty years before. The culprits — a group of teens themselves — were never found, and some say they’re still haunting the carnival grounds today.

But that’s just urban legend, and the gang, led by friends Rochelle and Sam, aren’t scared by ghost stories. They break into Cirque Berserk, where (of
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Play Book Tag: Cirque Beserk by Jessica Guess / 4 stars 1 7 Jun 16, 2020 09:26AM  

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Jessica Guess is a writer and English teacher who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She earned her Creative Writing MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2018 and is the founder of the website Black Girl’s Guide to Horror where she examines horror movies in terms of quality and intersectionality. Her creative work has been featured in Luna Station Quarterly and Mused BellaOnline Liter ...more

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