Cover Image: Blood Circus

Blood Circus

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars

Adopted as a young girl, Ava has always tried to do what was necessary to help her family survive the new hostile environment that was created by the discovery of the Klujns. Yet she yearns for more to life than chores, and treasures any time she can spend learning more about the world outside the small compound where she lives. After falling victim to an unprovoked attack, she is left alone on the wrong side of the fence and facing certain death at the hand of the blood-thirsty creatures she has feared since youth. She doesn't make it far before she is discovered, she is taken as a competitor in the Blood Moon games and forced to fight to the death against a dozen other girls, all while learning more about the mysterious Klujns. Her survival may just mean a new understanding about what "humanity" really means.

This was an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre, but I had a hard time getting a grasp on the society as a whole as far as technology options and how people interacted and performed tasks. This ended up will more of a fantasy feel than a post-ap feel, which left me feeling more disconnected from the flow of the story than I would have preferred.

Overall, a decent addition to the collection, though the title may be misleading to some readers and leave them feeling unsatisfied as well.

I received a DRC from the publisher.

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It is very much a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of read. I just wish I could read this book for the first time again.

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A true testament to the human species, both the good and the ugly. This book is very different from most fantasy and post apocalyptic books, but it still brings in that familiar warm feeling that comes with reading a fantasy novel. The characters are well developed, the protagonist is relatable and the human experience is a wild ride.

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Actual rating: 3.5
It is of my own fault for thinking this would have caraval or night circus vibes. Nevertheless it was still an enjoyable read, if you like Hunger Games and dystopian worlds this will be for you.

I really enjoyed the writing and the pacing but the characters were a bit lacking for me. The plot was interested enough to keep me engaged in the story and it was overall a fun read!

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FYI: this is not a book about a circus in the traditional sense. This is about a dystopian future ravaged by climate change. There are some references to traditional circuses but this is more of a survival competition novel.

I have no idea what I expected from this book, but wow. This book had such a fascinating world. I loved the idea of questioning what it means to be human and the ethics of eating that which you are told is not human. The characters were well-developed and I cared about what happened to them. Imagine my surprise when we get to what I will call the dinner scene! That was literally one of the most disturbing things I have read in a long time. I have a high tolerance for gore and body horror, but that was too much for me and I had to do a bit of skimming to get through that. It's not like it was a deal breaker for me, but that might be a content warning from some readers.

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I really loved this book! I was sucked in as soon as I started reading it and finished in one day! The author did an amazing job to keep the plot exciting and interesting. I will be recommending this book to all of my friends and family.

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I'm struggling to give this book an accurate star rating.

On one hand, I sprinted through this book. I was constantly thinking about it, wanting to pick it up and find out what was going to happen next instead of watching TV or playing video games, like I usually do after work. The chapters were the perfect length and ended on just the right note to make me want to start the next one immediately. Victoire's writing is smooth, easily moving from one event to the next, giving just the right amount of description and leaving just the right amount of mystery. I look forward to reading more from her.

On the other hand, everything about this book was a chaotic jumble.

The characters are underdeveloped and have no personalities beyond their tropes: chunky scout girl, witch girl, edgy skeptic girl, little girl, mysterious girl, closeted trans girl, "special one" girl. Our MC Ava is one dimensional and not very likable. She's "different," and because of that, she doesn't have any friends or anyone she even remotely tolerates except her brother, who she is also pretty mean to despite him being outwardly nice to her.

The world building is super confusing. It's a future dystopia that has technology, but doesn't use it, except it does sometimes in certain circumstances. It's young enough where there are adults who were kids when technology was available all the time. Despite that, the world as a whole latched on very quickly to killing and eating a human-like species that know very little about it. There don't appear to be any rebel groups in this society which seems unlikely.

One of the biggest plot points is blatantly apparent from the very beginning. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be, but it's very easy to figure out from approximately the second chapter. The pacing is all over the place. The first third of the book reads like a typical YA, the second third is all about the games, and then the last third suddenly turns extremely violent and gory as the book comes to an end. This book is labeled as "dark," but it doesn't really get that way until the last section, when, as stated above, the games turn violent and all of a sudden all of the girls, who up until this point have been various degrees of friendly or apathetic to each other, are completely cool with murdering each other with little to know coercing. It's written off as they're doing this to save their own lives, which they are, but it doesn't take much convincing. None of them try any trickery or anything they basically just all go "ok" and start hacking each other apart.

Additionally there are a bunch of details that just didn't seem necessary. It seems like there's a possible romance building between Ava and Diablo, who is 8 years her senior, so she's 16 and he's 24. I get that he's a different species who ages differently, blah blah blah, but from the descriptions we're given, he's been alive for 24 years, and Ava has been alive for 16. Ew. There's also a royal family who just happened to escape to this stand and of course Ava forms a bond with the matriarch and of course it's because Ava's part of the royal family too. Every other girl in the games isn't as "attuned" as Ava is to this journey, and I get that as it's related to one of the main plot points, but you mean to tell me that out of the remaining other 13 girls not one of them was like, "I think the best way out is through"? Even Wendy wasn't fully committed at the end, which was a surprise to me.

Finally, the ending makes it clear that there's room for a sequel. I think something like this would have worked better as a stand alone. The end of this book reads very similarly to the end of the Hunger Games/beginning of Catching Fire. While I enjoyed the journey, I'm not sure I want to read more about these characters and this setting. I don't feel attached to any of it, and I'm ready to move on.

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There were some things in this book that really worked for me, and some things that didn’t. The plot, while at times was a little predictable, was pretty interesting. I loved the idea of royalty being bonded to wolves and the spots on theme representing how many lives they had left. The main character in this story, Ava, was sheltered and kept ignorant of anything important in the terms of navigating successfully in her world. A lot of the intricacies of the world and the magic system are still unclear because we are learning along with the main character, but at a very slow rate. This book is clearly meant to be the first in a series, or at least I hope there will be another because I still have questions! Overall, this was a fun read and I’m looking forward to reading the next book!

I just reviewed Blood Circus by Camila Victoire. #BloodCircus #NetGalley

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The Blood Circus by Camila Victoire
Coming out Jan. 31st, 2023

E-Arc provided by @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


For the lovers of Hunger Games, Squid Games and the Night Circus.

Set at the end of the 21st century, in a world destroyed by famine and climate change, this dystopian novel will test your beliefs. Humans isolated themselves from nature behind fences. On the other side? Monstrous creatures and animals but also Klujns, a barbaric species dangerous to humans.

Ava, 16, never felt like she fitted. She dreams of escaping, travelling and dreaming but that not an option for women. That's until she's thrown on the wrong side of the fence and captured by Klujns for their deadly game: The Blood Race. Only a few of them will survive.

In this dark, dystopian fantasy debut novel, the characters are confronted to a different reality. We're the Klujns the bad guys all the time or could it be the other way around?

My thoughts :
This was again a FANTASTIC read! I am so blessed and honoured to have the chance to read such amazing novels before they're published. The setting was vivid, going from a cold grey survivalist town to the colorful and peaceful forest.

This novel did break my heart. Twice. You keep reminding yourself that they are only 16 years old trying to survive. All they have is luck, no superpower, no intense training background. They just have themselves. I would maybe recommend this book to the older YA audience due to some gruesome and intense details.

Once again, this is an ARC that will have me waiting impatiently for the second one. I have so much more to say but it would end up in a three pages essay!

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This dark cautionary tale is incredibly difficult to summarise or define, blending sci-fi, dystopia, horror, social commentary and fantasy into a captivating plot with multifaceted characters.

I was immediately intrigued by the interesting concept of a hidden civilisation and a mysterious trial-to-the-death. But the author weaves in much more than a few fights and a champion. Instead, when the protagonist, Ava, is captured by mankind's long-term enemy and forced to enter the fabled Blood Race, it is not only her survival that is called into question, but her morals, perspectives and history.

Some scenes might be gory, graphic and uncomfortable, but at its heart this is a story about environmental protection, the power and beauty of wildness and nature, and how we all face a choice: whether to use our human capabilities for harmony or destruction.

I recommend this novel to fans of The Hunger Games and other stories that skirt the line between horror and social commentary. I would double-check trigger warnings if you're looking for a YA read, though, as I think some of the passages are a little too brutal for a typical YA.

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Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for supplying an E-Arc of an honest review.

I was originally intriguied by the circus genre and I was drawn by the beautiful cover and the title. However, it gives more of a gory hunger games/maze runner vibe. I did struggle initially with the writing style, but I believe YA readers would be more suited to it. The characters and storyline were engrossing. It focuses heavily on the climate crisis and readig for escapism made this difficult to enjoy (maybe because I work in this field so it could be an individual problem).

Overall 3.5 stars and I hope there will be a follow up!

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i think younger readers will probably enjoy this because it does try to be edgy and they might find that cool. but as someone who has better and more mature versions of this kind of story (and also as someone who was hoping for something different in general), this just didnt work for me, unfortunately.

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Thank you to Net Galley and Blackstone Publishing for the e-arc of Blood Circus.

I want to start by saying if you found interest in this book because of the word "circus" in the title that it is likely not what you are thinking it's going to be about. It doesn't have the glitz, glam and entertainment of a circus but I was pleasantly surprised as I was reading and really enjoyed the way the book played out. If you are a fan of Hunger Games and are okay with some gore and a lot of suspenseful parts then this is the book for you!

Ava lives with humans on one side of a fence that is supposed to protect them from Klujns - a barbaric species with creature like features - until she finds herself on the wrong side of the fence. Multiple humans participate in a "Blood Race" which has a similar style to Hunger Games although with more gore involved. Ava is torn between the information she has been given about the Klujns her whole life and the true way the Klujns behave on their side of the fence and in their camps.

I read this book into the wee hours of the night multiple times as I just could not put it down. It was really suspenseful and has a post-apocalyptic feel to it. There is a strong tie in to climate change and the way the world has changed since humans have ruined it which is an interesting take to read about. It's a mix of suspense, magical realism and fantasy and the three tie in to one another very well. I've read some reviews that the book feels like something they have already read before - but being a big fan of Hunger Games and similar books - it brings its own flair and is quite unlike anything I have read before.

I strongly suggest it if the genres are ones you enjoy and if you are looking for a slightly spooky read for October! Hoping and hoping there will be a book two.

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Loved loved this one!! Gripping and exciting and as always a fab read and can't wait to see what this author does next :)

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I had to digest this one a bit before I could write my review. It was one of those reading experiences where you become more fond of it as you reminisce and reflect back on the bigger picture. This started out as a very cookie-cutter dystopian story but for me, but it became a lot more than that.

I think it’s amazing that this story is inspired by the author’s experience running away to the circus, BUT do not be fooled by the cover. This isn’t The Greatest Showman. Heads LITERALLY roll. I loved the dark bohemian aspects in this story and the deep topics and philosophical questions this story begs to be answered.

Would recommended to YA dystopian lovers or to someone that just wants to read something out of their comfort zone!

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I am so glad traditional publishers are shifting some of their focus toward NA books! Some books just like Blood Circus really deserved to be NA and would have not been nearly as soon as a YA or even and adult novel. IT falls in the sweet spot here and really helps it find the readers would be right for this wonderful circus fantasy.

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Engaging story, good worldbuilding, and likeable characters. Definitely comparable to The Hunger Games, but a bit preachy, and absolutely only for readers who are comfortable with *extreme* violence and gore. I also think this could use a sensitivity read as the trans representation is seemingly well-meaning but extremely questionable. This had the potential to be a fantastic read, but Rory's arc really just popped that balloon for me.

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This book reminds me of the hunger games and the maze trials mixed together. It was a fantastic read and kept me up late into the night. Sometimes monsters look like innocent people even when they’re the worst monsters of all.

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First…This story is not in the “circus / carnival-like” genre and I’ll admit I was drawn in first by the beautiful cover and the title. However, the story was interesting as well, actually would be a great screenplay. I did struggle initially with the writing style, continued to remind myself that this was YA and about a third of the way in, the story began to blossom. I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. While it was predictable and a little heavy on climate crisis more than I typically encounter in dystopian stories, it was a quick and entertaining story.

I’m rating it 3 stars, I liked it and see the potential for a sequel, if there is one I will definitely pick it up.

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Expected Pub Date: Jan 31 2023

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an e-arc to read for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

The cover and the blurb hooked me and caught my attention, but unfortunately the book itself didn’t hold it. The premise was interesting, but the way it was written just didn’t captivate me. I made it over 100 pages through, but finally had to give up.

The plot follows Ava who is born into a climate crisis and in a time where nothing can grow in the soil. Humans have erected walls around Kjuln settlements after discovering they were eating humans. They also discovered the Klujns capture humans for their Blood Race— a brutal and bloody ritual done during the October Blood Moon. The only reason why humans don’t kill them off is because Kjuln meat and claws are the only thing that keeps humans alive— providing protein and making the soil fertile enough to grow food.

From the first chapter alone this book felt like it was pushing an agenda. All within the first 120 pages there’s a very clear hatred/mocking of religion/God and dark, ritualistic witchcraft. It also has no qualms about shoving climate change down your throat, which in a dystopian I can normally track with and believe because it’s a dystopian so anything is possible, but the way it was written— it was overemphasized to death. Books like Shatter Me handle climate change in a way that makes you think about it and realize it could absolutely be possible. But Blood Circus continued to bring it up in almost every other paragraph and force feed it to you, leaving me annoyed every time it kept coming up. It came across as though the author was trying to make that the whole point of the book and not the Blood Race. Maybe this changes beyond page 129, but it was enough to make me have no desire to find out.

The writing reads pretty poorly, in my opinion, and leaves a lot to be desired. It felt more like I was reading fan fiction at times. Of course this isn’t a final draft, so that may be much improved by the time the book releases. So maybe that’s more of an ARC issue.

It does follow through on the Hunger Games similarities, which while cool in theory, felt overshadowed by the poor writing.

I did not finish this book, so I won’t give rating. But I cannot in good faith recommend this book.

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