Cover Image: Blood Circus

Blood Circus

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Member Reviews

A post apocalyptic world divided between the humans who ravaged the planet and an almost alien species who are painted as savage enemies. Obviously we’re meant to view the Klujn as indigenous peoples, caretakers of the planet, but we get lots of magic mixed in with their existence. That’s fine, except so much emphasis is put on the “scientific “ aspects of reality that the dichotomy rings false. 

I found myself struggling to read the book and I’m not sure exactly why. It began as a screenplay, then was developed into a short story and later a novel. And it definitely reads like something that should have been about 100 pages-am allegorical tale about climate destruction and xenophobia. The filler just slows it down. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my free copy. These opinions are my own.
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Hearing the premise of Blood Circus, a barbaric “Hunger Games” reminiscent fight to the death in a circus setting, I thought I would love this book. However, the writing style and character writing never allowed me to fully immerse myself in the story. I found Blood Circus to feel quite generic, and its characters very flat and uninteresting. Though I’m sure someone will enjoy this book, personally, I found the writing style quite bland, and couldn’t get past that.
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I was drawn to this book by its cover and title.  I'm a huge circus setting fan.  I also appearantly didn't read the synopsis because I thought this was an adult horror.  I only got 15% into this and had to dnf it.  This just was not what I was expecting or wanting, which is no fault of the author.  I wasn't really drawn into the story and the climate dystopian really felt preachy to me.
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Perfectly marketed as a mix between The Hunger Games & Children of Bone & Blood, this dark & twisty with a spin of climate fiction was exactly the dark and twisty that I needed in my life. I found it extremely fast paced & really enjoyed how the story played out. Some may have viewed this as "overdone" but also, if you requested and read the book after reading the synopsis,  you are getting exactly what you were promised. 

I really enjoyed the climate fiction and dystopian elements of the story. Within the human society and leadership, i  found a lot of parallels between Grouse & his DSO with Hitler and his SS. Very much about control and ignorance. I'm really hoping there will be a sequel to this one because I want to see what happens with Ava & Diablo!
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Browsing @NetGalley, I knew I had to read Blood Circus the moment I came across it. The blurb immediately drew me in and I'm so glad I was approved for this #ARC 

Blood Circus is set in the future, after #climatechange has made the world almost inhabitable. That is, until humans discover Klujns and find out their claws return nutrients to the soil and their meat is full of protein. Since the hunting of Klujns began, one Klujn stand annually kidnaps young humans and forces them to participate in the Blood Circus (which isn't actually a circus, but more a competition to the death). 

Blood Circus is a mix of climate change education and The Hunger Games. The book does seem to lean away from medicine a bit, which I don't necessarily love, but it also stresses the importance of clean food and respecting nature. 

Some reviews say this book in unoriginal, and while this may be the case in some aspects (again, the Hunger Game vibes), the aspects that center around climate change are new to me in a #fantasyread. Plus one part of the story, I literally reached over and grabbed Derek when I was reading it because I was so shocked. 

I really enjoyed Blood Circus and gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Thank you #NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I don't know what to say except that this book had so much promise.

The premise really excited me - returning to my dystopian roots with a 'travelling circus' and comparisons to The Hunger Games? It was like a dream come true.

But no matter how much I wanted to like the unique parts of this book, I just couldn't shake how similar it was to the Hunger Games. The entire time I was reading Blood Circus all I could think of was The Hunger Games. That's why I think there was so much potential: the hook was there, but it almost seemed to be a direct copy of the most popular dystopian novel of the 21st century. It was so disappointing because I could see so clearly how good this book could have been, but I think the author leaned a little too heavily on taking inspiration from The Hunger Games.

Almost-plagiarism aside, I also had an issue with the main character, Ava. The entire first 1/2 of the book is just her lamenting how different she is, while she's happy about her weird wolf connection? I was just like "pick a side, hon".

Not to mention that the title is a total dig for readers. There is literally nothing circus-y about this book, so don't let that trick you into thinking it'll have Caraval or Night Circus vibes. The only thing that could be remotely considered circus-like is the way the Klujns literally watched them fight for their lives. Anyway...

The token representation had me literally throwing my expensive kindle across the room without any regrets. I couldn't believe my own eyes when the author introduced a trans character for their only purpose to BE THE TOKEN TRANS CHARACTER. I was so furious that I literally couldn't even do anything and I just had to throw the book away. I get that the author's trying to be 'inclusive' and whatever but I don't agree with creating token trans characters with no personality and purpose other than that they are trans.

And then there's the fact that humans hunt down these Klujns... who look just like them?? Cannibalism? Who's she?

The final thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the fact that this book was just an entire society-villainising, climate-change-blaming attempt at being relevant. I want to save the planet, I know that society is the problem, but the author basically pointed the finger at all of society as one massive evil and implied that they didn't deserve any of the blame. It was very "I wrote a book about how society is responsible for climate change so everyone else except me is to blame" kind of vibes.

Anyway, apologies for the long rant. I didn't quite realise just how much I had to say about this book. I can definitely see why people would like this book (people who miss The Hunger Games and don't care about blinding similarities will love this) but it just didn't sit right with me for multiple reasons. Regardless, thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC.
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Reviews Posted: Jan. 6, 2023
Goodreads
Storygraph


The first few chapters were a little hard to get into, and I think it took a while for the plot to really get going. Due to this, I found it hard to connect to any of the characters early on. At about the 30% mark, is when started to pick up for me, and I started to really enjoy the book.

I found the premise interesting, and I think the author did a good job of leaving clues throughout the book about the world that had been created. A lot of this book is a commentary on the way in which humans treat the planet, and again I think the Author did a great job at making these details important to the story and main character. 

Ava was not an easy character to like at first, but it feels very intentional in the way the author writes the story. The unraveling of the clues through Ava’s eyes showed a character who did not know much about her own world. Allowing us, the reader, to learn along with her. 

I think overall, the pacing could have been better at points. At times it felt like certain scenes dragged on, whereas others were too short.
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An enormous thank you to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing, and of course, Camile Victoire for providing me with an eARC of this novel. I am voluntarily leaving a review, all opinions are my own.

First of all, if you’re looking for a beautiful tale of wistful circus performances, this isn’t the book for you. This is a dark, twisted tale set in a world that doesn’t seem too far off.

I enjoyed the world-building immensely and would love to see more of this world. It’s definitely got a lot about preserving our world and what we’ve got and not continuing down the destructive path we’re on. 

This book is for anyone who’s a fan of dystopians and revolution. For anyone who enjoyed Maze Runner and Hunger Games, this fits in quite nicely. 

This book contained so many little twists and turns, it kept me sucked in from the very beginning. I absolutely adored the story and absolutely cannot wait for another book to be in this world once again.
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Ava has never really fit in. In her post-climate change community where children train to be hunters and kill the Klujn, a bloodthirsty humanoid race, Ava lives on her foster parents' farm and eats mostly vegetables. Then one night she is captured by the Klujns for their Blood Circus, a ritual in which they force thirteen human girls to compete for survival... or is it?  As Ava learns more about the Klujns, she begins to wonder if the tales about the Klujns are true - or if humans are the more bloodthirsty race.

While this story wasn't about an actual circus in the way I'd hoped, the plot is fast and action-packed, with plenty of twists and thrills. It's clear from the beginning that there's something different about Ava, from her encounters with the spotted wolf and the way she can't stomach meat, but it's her way of trying to help those around her that sets her apart from most of the other competitors. This has all the excitement of [book:The Hunger Games|2767052] with a bit more brutality. The story's message is a thinly veiled message about racism, particularly toward indigenous cultures and how propaganda can take hold of a society, and I wish there had been a deeper connection to some of the secondary characters, but overall the pace and the worldbuilding kept my interest.
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Thank you, Netgalley and the publishing company, for an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

Blood Circus follows a world on the brink of collapse. The only food source is grown in a lab that utilizes the last remaining soil on an otherwise barren planet.

Soon after starting this book, I didn't like how the leaders of this failing world addressed the topics that led to this crisis.

There just wasn't much that I found all that interesting about the story, so, unfortunately, I had to DNF.
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I enjoyed reading this book! It was a fast paced read. I think it is definitely something mybstudents will enjoy reading. I look forward to purchasing a copy to add to my classroom library when it is published. Thank you to net galley and the publisher!
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The plot is intricate and the writing is impressive. Even though the description hearkens back to Hunger Games and Children of Blood and Bone, I found the plot to be unique all on its own. I loved it so much it's going on my personal TBR and I'm holding out for a physical copy. Highly recommend it.
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read Blood Circus by Camila Victoire before publishing.
All thoughts spoken are my own.

GR rating: 4 ⭐'s
My rating: 4 ⭐'s

In a dystopian future ravaged by climate change, a young orphaned girl is raised by her adoptive parents. Ava hasn't fit in her entire life, and since the discovery of Klujns, humans have lived beyond a fence to protect them from these monstrous creatures. But Ava wants to see the world. She wants to explore beyond her confines and work in a profession that isn't chosen for her because her gender. When an unprovoked fight leaves her captured and left deep in the woods beyond the fence meant to keep her safe, she's taken prisoner by the deadly Klujns and forced to participate in the Blood Race. A deadly game that pits human against human where most will lose their lives.
Ava is terrified, but when realities are blurred and the Klujns tell a different history she doesn't know who to believe and who she can trust.

Firstly, this book has nearly nothing to do with a circus. I was slightly disappointed thinking it would be similar to Night Circus or Caraval. The only real circus feel to it is the Klujn settlements and nothing more.

It took me a long time to get into this. Longer than I would have liked. The beginning didn't hook me. The characters fell flat, and just seemed very tropey. I got into it a bit more once the games started, but it definitely took awhile.
A few of the twists were very predictable (but as an avid reader and writer that could be why).

At times the writing felt a bit young and read very much younger YA level which I found odd as there are some very dark elements and scenes to this story. 

While I did have some confusion, I did enjoy the read overall. I think it would really benefit from a tighter edit. The plot was intriguing enough to keep me engaged with the story, and I will probably look for the sequel when/if it comes out. 

Releasing January 31st 2023
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A lovely storyline with a stunning world building that just absolutely blew me away and then pulled me right back in! Very detailed and interesting!
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#BloodCircus #NetGalley Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I encourage you to check this one out!
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The Blood Circus is so well done and full of lots of depth and imaginative story mixing together historical fiction and fantasy flawlessly, making the story even more enjoyable! The main character is strong and really knows how to stand on her own!
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I thought the Blood Circus was well done in the sense that it fused historical fiction and fantasy together, which was refreshing to read. I liked how the main character wasn’t quick to make assumptions about the Klujns, and I also admired her survival instincts. However, I felt that the story was rather fast paced, and I wish that we had more pages to focus on the main character and her personality.
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Welp aside from the title and cover, Blood Circus has nothing to do with a circus. Just getting that out of the way. I hate giving negative reviews, but… there’s a lot I wish would’ve been in the blurb. 

I did enjoy the premise… and the writing style was good. The klujns and their Blood Race (WHY didn’t they name the book Blood Race?!) were interesting. But….

… very quickly it became clear that the story was just a platform for a very heavy-handed climate-change agenda, and portrayed human civilization as the big baddie. I couldn’t buy that klujns apparently looked human, and humans were okay hunting/eating them like animals?! Lots of loaded social commentary there. Not to mention the trans character, who served no purpose other than to be trans. 

Also the violence took a radical turn around the 75%?? casual (potential) cannibalism was casual?! I couldn’t tell if the character was just messing with them, or it really was cannibalism. Either way, what. The heck. And the last couple bits of the Blood Race was just…. Accepted by the girls? And just sick? Look. I don’t mind stories about gladiator games. I don’t mind violence. BUT what made stories like Hunger Games/All of Us Villains/even GLADIATOR (movie) work was that they were about tearing down the system forcing them to kill each other. But here, they portray humans as horrible colonizers who ruined the earth, but oh look at these ‘peaceful’ semi-human creatures who are perfect, except for the one king tainted by humans so he captures girls and literally has them murder each other, but it’s the HUMANS fault, we promise! 

What is going on here?

Welp I didn’t realize I had so many words to say about this book and yet here we are. Sigh. Sadly mislead by the cover and title, and disappointed by the hunger games comparison. 

Still, grateful to Netgalley and publisher for the arc!

-A
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Okay I just want to give a HUGE thank you to the author Camila for going to such great lengths to let me read and review her book, I am truly so thankful!

World: 
So we didn't see too much of the world in this book, however, a lot of the side characters were able to help fill in some of the details of the different environments. This world is a very dark and grim dystopian with humans living in walled-up civilizations and the Kuljns roaming free. 

Characters:
There were a lot of characters and each of them held their own different personalities and stories. My only complaint is that they did feel fairly flat to me and a bit stereotypical. Still, I enjoyed the interactions with them! My favorite was Diablo.

Plot:
The plot was fast paced and really intriguing. And though I wouldn't call it the most complex, it still had me hooked.

Writing: 
This part is extremely subjective so please don't read it if you don't want your opinions swayed. For me, the writing felt very young given the type of story and there was a lot of *tell* rather than *show*. However, the parts that did have some *show* were really good. Unfortunately, it just wasn't up to my specific reading level. 

Overall:
This premise is incredibly interesting and unique. I truly did love and enjoy this story and will definitely be sharing it on my socials! For a debut novel it was really well done. The story was truly SO creative and dark and beautiful and bloody! I will be looking out for Camila's future works for sure.

Thank you again to the author and her agent for my copy!
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The Hunger Games comparison grabbed my attention, but sadly, I didn't find the comparison to be accurate. The characters weren't original, and it seemed as though the author was just trying to cover all her based (with a token bully, a Trans character, pro-feminist characters, etc). I liked the strong female character, but not the fact that she apparently also needed men shields. Not sure how that signifies a strong character. Then there's the mocking of religion and ritualistic witchcraft elements that I wasn't expecting. Some elements (such as climate change) felt forced and repetitive. The writing, overall, never pulled me in. A tighter edit may have helped it to feel like a final story vs. fan fiction. I would've enjoyed a few more original elements vs. trying to be another version of The Hunger Games.
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