Circus of The Unseen – Joanne Owen

“Long ago, when the world was young and people still thought of the marsh and the mists and the witch in the woods, there lived a girl called Vasilisa, whose mother fell gravely ill. On her deathbed, Vasilisa’s mother called for her daughter. She took a little wooden doll from beneath her pillow, saying, ‘When I am gone, I shall leave you this doll with my blessing. Promise me you’ll always keep her with you, and promise you’ll never show her to another soul. Whenever you need guidance or comfort, give the doll food and she will ease your troubles.’ Visalia promised her mother all of these things.”

Rosie’s grandmother loved to tell old wives tales, and no one but Rosie believed there to be any truth in them. Since her Grandmother took her own life a few months ago Rosie has felt uneasy, like she is missing a piece of her grandmothers puzzle. Whilst clearing out the house Rosie has an accident and finds herself in a strange circus, where a Mother presides over all and its inhabitants seem to be fascinated by Rosie. She is unlike anyone there and anyone who has been there before but according to Mother Matushka, Rosie must stay. Rosie has to complete a cryptic trail in order to get home but as she awaits the beginning of this trial she finds clues to the missing pieces of her grandmothers puzzle. Can Rosie free herself and her family secrets of will the Circus of the Unseen claim her forever. 

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Wow. What a book! I had high hopes for this one just judging by its cover which I know I shouldn’t do but I had to, just look at the pretty! Thankfully as I started reading and I was drawn into the tales of Rosie’s grandmother and the Circus of the Unseen I learnt that in this case I was right to judge and the book was just as good as its cover.

The story is unlike anything I have read before. I worked out pretty early on why Rosie was there but thats not really what it was about, it was about Rosie discovering the truth about her grandmother’s tales and why they were so important to listen to. It was about coming to terms with what life throws at you and the fact that sometimes it goes in a different direction to what you expect it too.

The book is only short and the fact that so much was packed into as few pages as it is, is an incredible feat. The atmosphere created within the book is incredible, especially once Rosie gets to the Circus and I loved that I felt like I was there, I could see the mist and feel the wrath of the other performers when they were unhappy, and I felt the overbearing presence of Mother Matushka, who for such a small bag of bones managed to really stand out from the crowd.

It is, like I said, a very unique story and I say that in the fact that although the basic premise of the story is something I have actually seen before, its done in a way that blew my mind. The mismatch of characters and the incredible stories they all had was something that really pulled my heartstrings and I loved getting to know them. Rosie was in fact probably the least interesting character there but that isn’t to say she wasn’t at all interesting, the others just overtook her.

I loved Circus of the Unseen and really would recommend this book to anyone. Its interesting and intriguing and puts a whole different spin on the idea of myths and tall tales. I loved every page and will definitely be on the look out for more by Joanne Owen.

Circus of the Unseen was published on November 6th by Hot Key Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
 
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