on February 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.
Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.
By A Charm and a Curse is a standalone young adult fantasy by debut author Jaime Questell. I love a book in a carnival setting, and one featuring magic even more, so I knew By a Charm and a Curse would be right up my alley. And it was. I really enjoyed this book. The name of the book says it all. There is a charm and there is a curse and they are tied closely together. I really loved the plot of this book. I might have even enjoyed the story more than the characters, but I did also enjoy the whole cast of carnies.
By A Charm and a Curse follows our main character Em, or Emmaline as she visits a traveling carnival with her friend. By A Charm and a Curse is told from multiple perspectives, and as we shift through some of the characters point of view we get to know a couple of the carnival performers and we learn about the charm. I’m going to tell you about the charm but I am going to be vague about the curse because it’s more fun for me that way. (no, I’m kidding…it’s better for you to discover it as you are reading. It was a really crazy moment when I saw what the curse did and I don’t want to take that away from the readers.) The carnival is protected by a charm that allows the performers and works to not age and to not get hurt. It kind of enhances there abilities. But the only way they get this awesome protection is because of the curse centered around the carnival’s fortune teller. I loved the way both the charm and the curse were explored and explained. It was really cool.
Em was a really cool character because whether she liked it or not, she was forced to go on a journey. And it took her through all kinds of different emotions. I really enjoyed getting inside of her head as she explored what was happening and how that would affect all kinds of areas in her life. But Em was only one of a really big cast of characters. Author Jaime Questell did a whole lot of character side stories in just 300 pages. It was pretty impressive. It’s one of the things I love most about a carnival setting- all of the difference personalities, so I was really happy that we didn’t only focus on Em. We also got to know Ben, and Lars, and Audrey, Lesie, Duncan and gin, just to name a few. Everyone actually played a great role in the story. Ben and Em were my favorite because I loved seeing their growing connection, but everyone was fun to read about.
The carnival’s charm and a curse had some twists and turns in it as well, which was a nice surprise for me. I thought once we figured out what the charm and the curse were their magic would feel a little static, but that wasn’t the case. It changed along with Em, which made By A Charm and a Curse a really interesting read. There were a few parts of the book that left me a litter underwhelmed, but overall this was a very good read. Fans of magical carnival books will really enjoy this fun and interesting story. I know I enjoyed By A Charm and a Curse.Love Carnival books full of magic, & curses? #Win a copy of By a Charm and a Curse by @JaimeQuestell @EntangledTeen from @BookBriefs Click To Tweet
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges: