Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that–illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.
I was honestly so excited to read this after receiving it in July’s FairyLoot box! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and it seemed like the perfect fantasy book! Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy it. I found it to be a very disappointing read and not as exciting as the synopsis promised it would be.
The start of the book was good because it introduced you to all the characters and set up the world they live in. I’ve seen a lot of people say the world building was done really well but I just found it all very confusing and hard to follow. From what I gathered they are a travelling carnival and set up in all these different places. In some places they are welcome there but others they aren’t. People don’t like them because they are “freaks” with very noticeable differences that set them apart from everyone else. The best example being the main character who doesn’t have eyes but can still see. All of her family are illusions created by her so they are also freaks because she created them to be like her. They are all different ages to represent a family and even though they are really strange, it was clear to see the love between them all. They are a very tight-knit family which I liked.
I did like the characters but I felt like I couldn’t really connect with any of them. The main character explains their talent or power and the role they play in the family. For example one of them is an uncle. That’s pretty much all I got on them. The author thought up some very imaginative characters, I’ll give her that. But she didn’t flesh them out enough for me and it felt like I couldn’t get to know them as much as I’d have liked to. I had a lot of issues with the main character which was why I couldn’t really enjoy this book. I really struggled to connect with her and I just found her to be extremely childish. She spent the majority the book sulking when she didn’t get her way. She complained that she wasn’t a child but she bloody acted like one a lot of the time. I felt like she and the rest of the characters didn’t really have a personality. They all just felt really flat and boring even though they had all these talents. I did feel sorry for the main character because she had to create her own family which is really sad. She can’t fit in because she has no eyes and she isn’t accepted for that so she has to create people who will accept her. That is really sad but at least she got to be happy with these illusions.
The plot wasn’t that great if I’m being honest. It started off really well with the murder of one of her family members. It completely destroys her and leaves her determined to find the killer. She starts investigating the murder and looking into possible suspects but then cue the romance! It felt like the plot completely fell away and the romance just completely took over the story. She is consumed with her feelings for this boy and finds herself constantly thinking about him. This really annoyed me because her family members are being murdered and she says she is so distraught by it but then she goes chasing after some stranger she just met? How does that even work? How has she even found time to develop feelings for someone when she is so consumed by her sadness? This just didn’t make sense to me and it made me lose interest in the story.
The ending wasn’t really that exciting for me. I wasn’t expecting it but because I’d lost interest in the book it didn’t really surprise me or stir any excitement in me. I was just reading it so I could finish it and move on to a better book. I think this is a standalone and that makes me happy because I don’t think I could read a second book. Overall this was a disappointing read for me but I have seen a lot of people enjoy it so maybe it was just me. It was easy to read and you could easily read it in one sitting. I read over 200 pages in one day so that must say a lot about this book despite me not enjoying it! If this is something you think you’d be interested in then please do not be put off by my review as a lot of other people have given it great reviews!