Anagha's Reviews > Circus Summer

Circus Summer by Kailin Gow
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: posted
Recommended for: Dystopian readers
Read from July 01 to 05, 2012 — I own a copy

An intriguing beginning to a brand new dystopian series.

In a dystopian society where the people live in constant fear of the Invaders (who are said to destroy everything in sight), the Circus of Curiosities, which comes to town only every few decades, is the only entertainment available to the people of United. Yet no one knows what goes on inside the tents of the who signed up to perform are dying and a rebellion is rising from the townspeople, with unexpected allies.

I didn't find this story unique at all. The main plot was taken from Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and everything else seemed to be a choppy version of Hunger Games. Imagine: a fiercely determined girl protagonist torn between two guys - the one she's known all her life and stays to take care of her family vs. the hot guy she meets at the games - and hoping to not fall for the latter because she must fight him to the death in entertainment the audience watches with zeal. Katniss becomes Leela, Gale is Thomas, Peeta is Zachary and Panem is United. Nothing we haven't already seen. Even the ending felt like it was modeled after Hunger Games (oops, I just gave it away, didn't I?) The only difference was unlike HG's characters, I felt very little emotional connection to these characters. Oh sure, I was rooting for Leela and Zachary, but when one of the tributes/circus performers dies, I should feel something, anything! There was no Rue.

On top of that, the setup and background of the world was not really explained much (I'm sure the author decided to leave it to later books, but there should be a little more world-building from the beginning. You learn more about the evil government along with Leela, but she doesn't really know much either, which is sort of disappointing. The author promises that everything will be explained once they reach the "Center". I certainly hope so.

After all I've said about the lack of originality in Circus Summer, it is a fairly intriguing tale anyway. Once I started reading it, I had to finish and find out what happened. It was an interesting and quick read and I hope I can read the sequel whenever it comes out, but I am in no rush. I don't feel emotionally connected enough with Leela and her friends to agonize over a Book 2.

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