I think it’s a commonly agreed-upon opinion in the bookish community that when it comes to settings and worlds in books, the circus is a magical world that makes all readers drool. And I’m no exception. For me, circuses area place full of mystique and magic, a place where secrets lurk and anything is possible. I think my favourite part is how circuses can be a place where children have fun, and play games, the atmosphere is light and bright but on the same hand, they can also be dark and mysterious, full of secrets.
Let’s start at the beginning. My love for circuses started with Enid Blyton with Galliano’s Circus series. I had to go google this series because my memory is terrible. But I do remember the wonderful stories of caravans and animals, especially Lucky the dog who could spell and Lotta the girl who was a wonder with the horses. As a kid, I dreamt about living in a circus.
In fact, I remember visiting a circus as well. It was an enjoyable experience but the circus did not live up to my levels of fantasy and imagination and I chose to push away the reality of circuses and live in the fantasy of the ones I read about. I’m also aware that for a person who claims to love books set in circuses, I haven’t really read as many circus books… I know, it’s terrible.
The next book I’m going to talk about is a very famous one, especially when it comes to books set in circuses. It’s none other than The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I took my time with that book because it’s a beauty and also it’s quite big and develops slowly. But I absolutely loved every bit of the magic and the characters and all of the slow burn. If you ever need to appreciate circuses you should just go read The Night Circus.
And after that, I read Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody and oh my god what a ride! Yet another circus and even better characters? Sorina can make illusions that other people can touch, see and smell so she has basically made up a whole freaking family for herself. But then they all start dying and she must figure out who the murderer is. Isn’t this plot so intriguing? It was every bit magical and mysterious that I imagined it to be. I know that I keep using the same set of adjectives but I can’t help it. I guess you all will just have to go read these books to get a sense of my feelings 😉
But other than that, I haven’t been good at keeping up with books set in circuses or reading them. But this year I’m amending that by trying to keep track of a few 2020 releases that are set in circuses.
Harley In The Sky
Release Date: 10th March
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.
After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival travelling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.
I’m on the street team for Harley In The Sky and even though I haven’t read it yet, I know this one is going to be as exciting as the other circus books!
The Circus Rose
Release Date: 16th June
Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.
In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.
First off, how colourful and extremely creative is that cover? I’m already in love with that fire flame that starts off as circus tents and ends up in the shape of a bear. Wow. The blurb also sounds exciting and I simply can’t wait to get my hands on The Circus Rose!
Where Dreams Descend
Release Date: 2nd June
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide.
I’m not entirely sure what this one is about? A group of magicians trying to do daring stuff and find a circus? Hmm, whatever it is I want it. Also, that cover looks so majestic! Even the title sounds beautiful – Where Dreams Descend. It’s giving me serious five-star read vibes.
What is your stance on books set in the circus setting?
Can you recommend me some upcoming or backlist circus books?
Are any of these books on your TBR or have you read them? If yes, what do you think about them?