The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.
Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively -- but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially -- but none of the scruples.
To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, The Electrical Menagerie's bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians -- but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there's more at stake in this contest than the prize.
Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide... and it's the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.
Oh my goodness. This book is amazing.
First off, can I just say this is one book that’s being marketed accurately? It’s described as The Greatest Showman as fantasy, and that is EXACTLY what it is. It has enough Greatest Showman vibes while also being its own unique story.
Second, LOOK AT THAT AWESOME COVER.
Next up--the characters. The dynamic between Carthage and Huxley is INCREDIBLE. Both of their characters are so interesting, in personalities, in reactions, their viewpoints (at one point, we got to see them both describe the same person and it was so neat to see the different way they saw things), and in backstories. Then when the two of them clash and work together, I just sit back and watch the show. Perfect.
All her side characters had their own personalities and motivations and were almost as interesting as Carthage and Huxley. (But not quite, which is exactly the job of a side character.)
The mystery plot is intriguing—I was kept guessing right up until the perfect moment when my stomach sank and I was like “oh no, Huxley don’t take the bait . . .”'
Speaking of intriguing, the worldbuilding! It’s a different kind of fantasy world and the little details sprinkled throughout the story helped me understand it perfectly and feel like I was really there. (Without being overwhelmed by all the new information or annoyed that it interrupted the story.)
The climax was AMAZING. I could not quit reading it. I actually had trouble getting stopped reading throughout the whole book.
The book is very clean. While it does include some material that you may not want to hand young kids (a murder, attempted murders and kidnappings, drinking), for tweens on up, this seems like it would be a really good family read.
The only imaginable negative is that book two hasn’t released yet and I can’t find a release date anywhere. :)
I have a feeling this will definitely be making my Top Ten for 2022. As soon as I finished reading it, I turned around and read it again, it was that good. Highly recommended for fantasy fans, Greatest Showman fans, and any fans in between! (If you read it, leave a comment below and please let me know! I’d love to discuss it with someone.)
(And maybe if enough of us ask, we’ll be able to find out about book two. :) )
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!