That being said, I did finish a few good books since I last posted.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Night Circus is a beautiful example of a world-driven story. The world, though magic, is vibrant, deep, and complex. It is easy to get lost in the stark black-and-white tents, the performances, the smell of popcorn, the cool lighting. It is also a long game and a romance, but those come second to the wonder and exploration of the world.
I'm not suggesting that I want it to be this way. I had hoped for more between the main characters, Marco and Celia. They lead very separate lives throughout the entirety of the book, and while this was by design, I wanted to see more interaction. My favorite scenes were of their brief encounters. But the book focuses primarily on the construction and function of the circus itself, even placing one of the primary viewpoints with a young boy named Bailey who becomes embroiled in their world.
The timeline skips around a lot, which adds to the surrealism but can make it hard to follow unless you have a pen and paper or an amazing ability to remember dates. At one point I thought a scene with Bailey and a scene in the circus were happening simultaneously, only to later be confused when I discovered they were a year apart mid-scene. It pulled me out of the story and I had to go back and track dates to make sure. This could be made easier to follow with a "one year earlier" type of note but all that's listed are generally arbitrary dates.
I was also a bit disappointed with the ending. It was good, but not great. I feel like there were some wasted opportunities there, especially with the development of seemingly small roles which suddenly became large. As a world, though, The Night Circus is amazing. It is intricate, delicate, and beautiful. The people and places feel real. The magic is visceral, the world tangible. The writing is fluid. It was so easy to forget myself and live in the book.
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was pure, lighthearted fun. Aside from Jasmine's distinctive, quirky voice and the footnote commentary, there are silly scenes dealing with underwear, crushes, and pretending to be celebrities. It is part teen romance, part mystery thriller. I laughed out loud at the sheer silliness of certain situations, just along for the ride. It was crazy, yet predictable. I had everything figured out before the end, excepting the identity of Alex (that's my superpower).
This is not to say that the characters weren't believable. Jas deals with many of the same concerns over body image and boys and talents that most teenage girls do. She says everyone has a superpower but her. (She has one, and it's staring us right in the face, but she can't see it. Sound familiar?) She has a love/hate relationship with her dad. She doesn't know how to relate to kids.
The only thing that really bothered me about this book was that by reading the back and excerpts, I got the impression there would be more... I dunno, Cats. The book is called Bad Kitty, after all. And it promises cat mayhem with the introduction of Mad Joe at the beginning. But it doesn't deliver on that promise.
Overall, awesome book. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes quirky, fast-paced writing and mystery stories.
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