Cover Image: Blood Circus

Blood Circus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really struggled with this book. Both in reading it and reviewing it. I just couldn't get into the book, no matter how many times I've tried. I couldn't finish it, but read a bit more than half, so I'll keep it short.
I couldn't connect with both the characters and the story. I just felt like there was nothing keeping me hooked, making me want to pick up this book and read it.
One of the things I think played against the book was the fact that it was compared to The Hunger Games and Children of Blood and Bone, as it raised my expectations to a level Blood Circus just couldn't read.
Overall, it just wasn't for me. I think many readers will enjoy it, but sadly it just didn't do it for me.

Was this review helpful?

Blood circus takes place towards the end of the 21st century and humanity is threatened by climate change and famine. But, as humanity is at the brink of extinction, the Klujns, a barbaric humanoid species is discovered. Their claws
and bones surprisingly fertilize baren soil and their meat is a super protein. When it comes to the Klujns, they are the saving grace for humanity, but just at the same time, they are humanities natural born enemies. In Blood circus, we meet Ava, a 16 year old who just finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, which results in her being kidnapped by the klujns. The Klujns have other human hostages and for their entertainment and pleasure, they make the humans compete to the death. As Ava competes, she starts to question everything she knows and have been taught about the Klujns.

I received Blood circus as an arc via Netgalley and I actually started the e-arc on my kindle, but as I got a few pages in, I found myself having a hard time to get into the story and found it boring.

I decided to put the down for a bit and keep my eye out for the audiobook on Libby. It is now March and I finally listened to this book. I'm actually glad that I picked it up on audio because I would have struggled so much more if I read it physically. I even was wishing for the audiobook to just end.

I feel like this book was all over the place and a bit of a Hunger Gaines want to be. The characters fell flat too and I could never connect with this book.

Was this review helpful?

Just couldn't get into this one unfortunately, it wasn't for me I guess.

Nothing wrong with it, just not my personal taste and that's ok!

Was this review helpful?

I wish I could adequately explain the vibes this book gives me. It was an incredible book with a fascinating plot. Every time I think I've had enough of dystopia, there's something new that comes out and excites me.

Ava, who feels as though she doesn't belong in her small village, finds herself thrown into a competition of will, physical and mental strength. She learns a lot about herself along the way. This may be a hot take, and I really did enjoy Ava's character development and her relationship with the other girls, but Ava's journey, as fascinating as it is, was not the best part of the book. That's not to say that it wasn't great, but the author did such an incredible job with the world building, the lore, the science, and the minor characters that I often didn't know what part of the book I was enjoying more. I flew through it, not wanting it to end, and I was so fascinated by the klujns.

I really enjoyed the writing style as well, because the author masterfully sends Ava back into her memories to relay to the reader who she has come from and how that has informed her as a character. Ava is an orphan, and later adopted by a nice couple, though Ava and her adopted mother have some challenges. The author didn't start at Ava's childhood, like she could have, but instead slowly reveals Ava's background. This writing style felt incredibly rewarding to me and I really enjoyed putting pieces together.

I know a lot of teens will love this. I certainly did. If you enjoy realistic-feeling dysptopian novels, fascinating human/creature relationships, or are fascinated by human nature, check out this book. You won't be disappointed!

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately this just didn’t do it for me. Sadly i had to DNF at like 15%. I could relate to the characters or the plot.

Was this review helpful?

Blood Circus by Camila Victoire is a thrilling and thought-provoking debut novel that explores the power dynamics and ethics of a world where humans and the Klujns, a humanoid species with superhuman abilities, coexist in a tense and often violent relationship. Set in a post-apocalyptic North America, where climate change and famine have ravaged the earth, the novel follows sixteen-year-old Ava, who is captured by the Klujns and forced to participate in the Blood Race, a macabre tradition where young human hostages compete to the death for Klujn amusement.

One of the novel's strengths is its masterful world-building, which draws upon Victoire's own experience in a traveling circus to create a vivid and immersive setting. The descriptions of the Blood Circus, where the Blood Race takes place, are both lush and terrifying, and the depiction of the Klujns, with their crystal claws and bones and strangely colored eyes, is both unsettling and fascinating. The novel's mix of fantasy, magical realism, and suspense adds to the sense of otherworldliness, and the plot twists keep the reader guessing until the very end.

Another of the novel's strengths is its exploration of power dynamics and ethics. As Ava is forced to participate in the Blood Race, she begins to question her assumptions about the Klujns and their place in the world. She observes behaviors that contradict what she has been taught and begins to wonder if the Klujns are as different from humans as she thought. The novel raises important questions about the subjugation of one species by another, and the role that cruelty and spectacle play in maintaining power.

Overall, Blood Circus is a compelling and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Children of Blood and Bone. Its immersive world-building, masterful plot twists, and exploration of power dynamics and ethics make it a must-read for anyone interested in dystopian or speculative fiction.

Was this review helpful?

The plot was interesting enough but did leave a lot unaddressed. The world they created was fun. I would likely read a sequel.

Was this review helpful?

This review contains spoilers.

I DNFd this book at 70%. I had two major issues with this book which have led me to my 1 star rating.

First, the more I read this book and the more we learned about the klujns the more uncomfortable I became with the way they are portrayed because their culture included many things that are part of the "noble savage" stereotype about Indigenous peoples which is hugely harmful and problematic. That coupled with the lack of Indigenous characters, or even more than a passing mention of Indigenous peoples as even existing in this world and I just didn't want to keep reading. But, since this was an eARC from NetGalley I wanted to push through, fully intending to bring it up in my review, but that alone wasn't enough to warrant a 1 star. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only issue with this book. The real nail in the coffin here was the portrayal of the only trans character which was not handled well at all, and included things like using wrong pronouns even from the supposedly sympathetic main character. But, I even pushed through when the only time the proper pronouns were used was when the trans character was brutally killed and the main character proclaims "she was beautiful in death." I almost rage quit at that line, but I finally decided a few chapters after that, when there was a scene with gratuitous cannibalism, that I was not wasting any more time on this book.

I do not recommend this book. In fact I think it needed some more sensitivity readers before being published. I don't often give 1 stars but this book earned it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Reading this was like walking on a path you know leads where, and despite the predictability, the nostalgia of certain themes like competition and wolves in this futuristic fantasy keeps you going. Sadly, the details were unclear and a lot of the plot was unravelling without establishing enough interest in the characters. Still, the hints of magic in a dystopian tale is easy to impress and the commentary on climate destruction as well as xenophobia is worth considering. But at the end of it all, the marketing of the book probably sets up for a lot of disappointment since The Hunger Games as a comp title doesn't ring true enough and the promise of a circus-like backdrop is false.

Was this review helpful?

I was not able to fully get into this book. The characters didn’t jive. The story didn’t go where I thought it was going.

Was this review helpful?

When I read the title of this book I hoped for something like Caraval or at least something in that direction (the whole circus and all in the title). But sadly it was nothing like it. It was just another copy of the Hunger Games (which I honestly don’t really care for) There’s enough copies of the hunger games. If it would’ve been more original maybe I would’ve liked it more but sadly it’s a no for me.

Was this review helpful?

Brilliantly cruel and intricate, Blood Circus is a chilling dystopian story that doesn’t seem too far fetched in origin, a cautionary tale of climate change and environmental destruction with a touch of magical realism. Akin to The Hunger Games but with crystals and moon magic.

While the plot is masterfully woven and the concept is intriguing, I found the writing to be a bit heavy handed and stiff. Emotions are stated matter-of-factly and I wish there was more artistry in how feelings and thoughts were explored. The true strength of Blood Circus is its complex world and society, as well as the methodical plot movement.

Ava is a decent lead, her fate mostly predictable yet still satisfying. Readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats as she uncovers the ugly truths of her world, their nails bitten to the quick as she fights to not only survive, but thrive.

Saddened to report that anything slightly resembling romance is severely lacking, though there is a wee bit of a hint to a possibility in favor of my original ship. Hopefully the sequel will prove me right.

4⭐️ recommended for those who enjoyed the revered YA dystopian series of our youth, but certainly not for the faint of heart

TW: blood, gore, violence

**big thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for a the eARC**

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. Ava is a teenage girl who doesn't fit in. She was an orphan who was adopted by George and Diana. George is a teacher and former military person. Diana is a vegetarian who also does not fit in the with the community where they live The community is protected with a fence to keep out a tribes of Klujins who prey on humans. The story is set in the future where climate change and destruction of the environment play an important role. Ava is captured by the Klujins and discovers that many things she has been taught are not necessarily true, and that trusting the wrong people can be dangerous. An abrupt ending has me hoping for a sequel. Thanks to Negalley for and arc, and for not influencing my review.

Was this review helpful?

A huge Thank You to The author, The publisher and NetGalley for providing the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Yes. YES. Fell in love with this from the first page

Was this review helpful?

After reading the Caraval series, I have been hunting for all books circus related as I found I love that genre of fantasy. Naturally, after seeing a book entitled "Blood Circus" I had to request the ARC, and thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for approving me for the title!

Unfortunately, I really don't feel like I felt any sort of circus atmosphere in this book. It felt far more like The Hunger Games focused on climate change, which is more what it is advertised as. I just feel the title including circus, and knowing the author was drawing inspiration from her own experience in a traveling circus, led me to believe it would have more of that atmosphere.

I enjoyed the story, I am always a sucker for a dystopian competition style book and this delivered on that. However some of the narrative felt a bit preachy and I found myself able to predict what was going to happen.

Was this review helpful?

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

This book was well-written, well-told, and very violent. Much more graphic than I first assumed, but I'm not complaining. Also didn't know this was the first in a series (I'm assuming, based on the end, despite there being no indications on GR or elsewhere), but it makes sense because there's still a lot to wrap up. One book wouldn't be long enough to resolve some of these huge issues: Grouse's government, Ava coming to terms with who she really is, where she comes from, and who her adoptive parents really are, the relationship (mates?) with Diablo, and so on. I was very invested in this story and hope to keep up with any sequels!

Was this review helpful?

Learning about the impact of climate change mixed up with a barbaric Hunger Games is the premised of Blood Circus. I think it will have a captive audience on release but it wasn't for me.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone publishing for the advanced reader copy. Firstly I would like to go over the critiques i have for this book then go into the things i liked and even loved about this book. Number one being i do think the handling of Rory’s entire storyline could’ve been handled with a little bit more care than it was, I think that if given to sensitivity readers they could’ve pointed out the ways in which it was wrong and it could’ve been corrected and executed more gently. Number two I didn’t find that the “circus” element wasn’t really there, yes they had tents and moved around but that was all really in the background and wasn’t very present in the overall plot. Number three, I understand that this is a debut author however I found the writing to be a bit weak and there was really very little to no explanation for certain things. Number four the plot twist was way to predictable it tried and failed to subtly hint at it but it really was just shoving it in your face every time, almost as if the author wanted you to guess it from the first 100 pages. Number five, Ava’s conflicting feelings about what she has been taught and what she is now being taught are again not very well written, one second she is completing accepting what she is being told the next she is completely dismissing it, the same could also be said for her motivations and reaction to the big plot twist. Last critique is that the characters seem to be very forgetful, one second they figure something out or something is being told to them and then it’s completely forgotten for the next few chapters until they “discover” it again and personally I wanted to scream at them and say “you already knew that!!” With all of those critiques as aide though, I found the story to be quite enjoyable and very unique. The world building is wonderful, the characters (most of them anyway) are so easy to root for, and while it is on the predictable side, I never wanted to put it down, I cannot wait to read more from this author and hopefully we can see a sequel to this wonderful book.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?