C.G. Drews's Reviews > By a Charm and a Curse

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, magical-fantasy, read-2018, young-adult, paranormal

I totally love magical circus settings so this just scored AAAAALL the points for me right there! Plus this centres around a kiss and a curse and magic. Oh yes please and thank you.

I also have no idea why I like circus books so much considering (a) I've never been to one, and (b) my mother told me a story of when she was a little girl going to one and someone fell and nearly died, soooooooo. Cait, why fore art thou so interested. But it is what it is. Here I am. I will wear a festively fabulous hat and a pocket watch and show up for all the magical circus books.

+ So the setting was definitely the highlight!
I love how we really got to sEE the circus and the acts in action too and it had a big variety of things going on. It's set in a modern world, so to visitors it's just a death-defying circus with lots of glamour and fantastic impossible acts. BUT. Behind-the-scenes we know a curse is keeping everyone protected, at the cost of one person suffering for it. But I basically loved the lights and popcorn and sneaking out to look at the stars and epic flips and ferris wheels. So beauty. Much aesthetic.

+ It's also dual narrated by Benjamin and Emma.
Only problem is I literally stared off into space for 9 minutes trying to remember both their names because they're so bland. But excuse me. So I loved this because Ben gives us an "insider view" while Emma is the "newbie trapped in this whirlwind of magic and curses". Also Ben is a total hufflepuff and builds and paints and jUST FEELS THINGS. And Emma isn't very dynamic, but neither is a waffle and we still enjoy those. I mostly just wish she'd fought a bit more at her "capture" but she was a little too chill about it. (Could be something to do with the curse on her but MINOR DETAIL.)

+ The secondary characters were SO great.
I loved them so so much and they were all so different and really stood off the page! Sidney was an ass, but somehow endearing. And the psychic twins, Pia and Duncan were hilariously wonderful (I do think Duncan was an extremely stereotyped gay rep and I'm disappointed that he was the ONLY queer in this whole circus). Whisky and Gin were hilarious and loving and yelling sisters. AND YEAH! It was a circus full of really nice people?! Mostly. But I love how they hated having to kidnap someone for the curse buuuuut they still did it. Trot out the morally grey.

+ I only have a few quibbles.
They include:
• the time they tooootally screwed up dealing with a wound (view spoiler)
• the villainous tumbler brothers...who were villainous for no good reason except to be bullies in the background making waves. I just...it was so flat and bland compared to the rest of the intoxicatingly gorgeous book!?
• The fact that the romance was...so...fast. Not instalove! But they still went from 3 to 900 really fast, my man, my man, how tho you are so young.
• I did like it a LOT (i mean, duh, read this review) but I also don't feel like it'll stay with me forever, if that makes sense? Good but not life-changingly memorable.

+ But it gave me feels?!?
I DID NOT COME IN EXPECTING TO CARE ABOUT IT SO MUCH AND I GOT HURT. HOW DARE.


Basically this is an excellent book of magical circuses, intoxicating backstory darkness, and stakes that fly quite high. There are human puppets and dangerous accidents and deep sadness and broken cars. I'm SUCH a fan of the detail of the circus and the complicated backstory twists. I think the moral of the story is probably don't trust anyone and the first food you crave whilst cursed is almost alway cereal. These are so relatable.
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Reading Progress

July 27, 2016 – Shelved
July 27, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 2, 2018 – Started Reading
February 2, 2018 –
40.0% "This book is good! BUT I'M SO TIRED MY EYES KEEP CLOSING I WANT A REFUND ON MY OWN EYEBALLS."
February 3, 2018 – Shelved as: 4-star
February 3, 2018 – Shelved as: magical-fantasy
February 3, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
February 3, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 3, 2018 – Shelved as: paranormal
February 3, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Hailey (new) - added it

Hailey Hudson I searched for this title on my library website and HP Prisoner of Azkaban came up??? So um. I really want to read this though.


C.G. Drews @Hailey: It's not quite out yet so I'm sure your library just hasn't bought it! You could put in a request for them to purchase though? (IT'S SO GOOD.)


message 3: by Charvi (new) - added it

Charvi Is this book like the Night Circus? And are the writing styles similar?


C.G. Drews @Charvi: I don't know...I haven't read the Night Circus.


message 5: by Charvi (new) - added it

Charvi Oh, sorry I thought you had :)
Regardless if your tbr doesn't kil you do add it, it's simply magical ♡


C.G. Drews @Charvi: Definitely on my TBR for one day haha! I love circus settings.


message 7: by Grace (new) - added it

Grace Have you read the night circus? I think you’d love it


C.G. Drews @Grace: I haven't yet but I do really want to!


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