Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.”
I received a copy of this book from Entangled Teen. All opinions expressed are my own.
For the most part, everything just felt very goodish in this book. I liked the characters but they weren’t great. I liked the plot but it wasn’t the best ever. That kind of thing. However, I still read it in one sitting which definitely tells you something is interesting!
1. The characters. I did like most of the characters. They all were very unique although some of them blended together for me. I felt like their presence could have been a little stronger and a little more potent. However, I do have favorites! Sidney, Gin, Marcel, and Benjamin were all such gems and they’re definitely the characters I’ll be remembering. Especially Sidney. He is the Boy in the Box that lures Emma and I found his mind so fascinating! We learn a lot about him after the 3/4 mark and it blew me away. Still, when I think about the characters as a whole, everybody just felt a bit blurry and a little vague. Particularly with the antagonists who weren’t really given too much motive besides they just liked being evil (and, being a Slytherin that irked me a bit).
“The smile I’d seen a glimpse of earlier grows, no longer a shooting star but now dawn creeping over the edge of the horizon.”
2. The plot. As I said in the intro, I read this all in one sitting and the plot really did move along. I found the overall plot to be your average, run of the mill plot without too many twists but that didn’t keep me from enjoying it (honestly, The Hero’s Journey pops up everywhere but why fix it if it ain’t broke?). The charm and the curse linkage was really interesting and tied up beautifully and it was my favorite part of the plot. Again, though, it felt slightly vague and there are several areas (the ending, the beginning of Emma’s journey, etc) where there needed more fleshing out. However, I will say that overall, it’s very interesting with a strong sense of place and is the shining star of this book.
“‘When you’re never in the same place for more than a week, you need a constant. Something that doesn’t change, ever.'”
3. The idea. This was really cool, actually. I haven’t read that many books about circuses and I really liked the idea; like a mix between a circus and a sleeping beauty retelling. If you’ve been around my blog before, you’ll know I’m a retelling fanatic, even if I don’t get to read them all the time. Anything that is even remotely related to a retelling, I’m in!
“The golden bulbs give off a soft heat, as does Duncan’s nearby body. I want to lean into both but manage to restrain myself when I realize how much of a creeper that would make me”
4. The romance. Surprisingly, I actually loved the romance. It’s a really nice slow-burn romance with very real emotions (although ‘love’ came a little soon). It takes basically the entire book to develop and as you may ascertain, it plays a key part in the whole ‘curse’ thing and the plot as a whole so at the end, it was really interesting to go back and see where all the clues were dropped.
Beautifully thought out general idea and slow-burn romance with a slight vagueness around some of the characters and a few plot gaps I wish were filled.