Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope y’all have a wonderful day with the people you love!
I am super excited to share my review of Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley today. It’s been on my TBR for years, and I spontaneously picked it up at the library a few weeks ago and read it quickly. I loved this book! The story is engaging, the characters are complex and intriguing, and the magic is fantastic.
- This is a middle grade novel. And it’s a really creative, fun adventure. I think it’s tempting to compare this one to The Night Circus, but don’t. It’s a different part of the same circus setting genre. And I think they are both fantastic!
- Seemingly basic objects are given memorable importance in this novel. Knots are the most discussed and become symbolic of many things by the end of the novel. I loved how unexpected things like a fish or a feather became so important.
- I really love the cover of this book. A beautiful book I’m searching for to add to my collection!
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley tells the story of a magical circus that changes the lives of Ephraim and Micah Tuttle. According to Goodreads, “Do you believe in magic? Micah Tuttle does. Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.”
The characters are memorable and the protagonists are easy to cheer for. I loved Ephraim best for his belief and goodness. I loved experiencing the magic of the circus with him for the first time. Micah was a close second with his determination and equal measure of hope in magic. His fierce love for his grandfather is just beautiful. The Lightbender was also fascinating. I would have loved more background on his life, and I would love to attend his show! I enjoyed Jenny’s stubborn realism and her slow understanding of what magic is and is not. Micah’s Aunt is easy to hate–she’s controlling and so stubborn. But every character builds an emotion in the reader. Every character makes us feel something and I think that is hard to do.
I really enjoyed the dual timelines giving us pieces of the plot as we read. It’s one of my recent favorite ways to tell stories. Beasley does a beautiful job creating a coherent, engaging story that keeps the mystery and the hope alive simultaneously throughout the novel. There are several unexpected twists along the way that make this story even more fun. My favorite parts were Ephraim and Micah’s first experiences at the circus because they were unique but also connected. It shows the unique way that magic touches individuals and creates a foundation for the whole plot to build up from. All I will say about the ending is that it’s perfectly satisfying. And I may have cried.
I loved how the magic worked in this novel. I have raved about fantasy novels (Harry Potter, Fablehaven, etc) here for years. I love magic. I love discovering how it works and how it can be used in different fantasy universes. The Circus Mirandus universe uses magic is ways that remind me of Harry Potter but with unexpected twists. At first it seems simple but the complexities are subtle. In this novel, magic lives inside ordinary humans but it is not necessarily easy to see. In fact, it appears differently in different people. Additionally, magic is tied to hope and imagination. There are many ways that magic builds imaginations of children, build power, and also can be taken away. Victoria’s story is a fascinating example of the complexities of magic. Overall, I was easily drawn into the novel and the magic that surrounded every piece.
I have always been a believer in magic, and I love how easy it is to plug myself into this novel. Because it is set in our world, it feels like I’m a part of it. It felt like the circus could appear in my backyard overnight. I wish I was a child again so I could go to Circus Mirandus. I would visit the menagerie, watch the butterflies/fairies, taste a treat, and see the Lightbender’s show at least twice. I have been dreaming of what the end of his show would look like for me. And it always brings a smile to my face. I think that is the biggest strength of this novel, it brings readers into the story. You can’t read this novel without thinking about what it would be like to be there with Micah and Jenny–experiencing Circus Mirandus for the first time. I hope to hear the familiar pipes and drums one day. And I hope I have the courage to follow.
A fantastic addition to the fantasy genre and books set in circuses! If you love magic, circuses, and stories of hope, this book is for you. One of my favorites thus far in 2019!
What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Favorite novels set in a circus?