Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan
Published February 23rd 2017 by Bloomsbury Circus
Synopsis from Goodreads
Magical storyteller Neil Jordan steps into the realm of fantasy—for fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.
It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t. The boy saw it from the car window, the tops of the large trailer rides over the parked trains by the railway tracks. His parents were driving towards the new mall and he was looking forward to that too, but the tracery of lights above the gloomy trains caught his imagination . . .
Andy walks into Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors, and then he walks right into the mirror, becomes a reflection. Another boy, a boy who is not Andy, goes home with Andy’s parents. And the boy who was once Andy is pulled—literally pulled, by the hands, by a girl named Mona—into another world, a carnival world where anything might happen.
Master storyteller Neil Jordan creates his most commercial novel in years in this crackling, filmic fantasy—which is also a parable of adolescence, how children become changelings, and how they find their own way.
I dnf-ed this book at 46%. Why, you ask? Well, at first I was sooo in love and so excited because Jordans”s prose is so magical and so lyrical – he had this way with words that gave his subject a distinct dreamlike quality that I have never read elsewhere. The premise itself was also very intriguing even though at times it felt like The Night Circus met Neil Gaiman, if Neil Gaiman fell asleep while writing it. However, as pages and time went by, I found myself constantly putting it down and turning my attention to other books. I conservatively estimate that I had about 6 to 7 attempts at reading this book until I finally was honest with myself and put it down.
For me, books have to have great and compelling words in them to make me keep on reading, and yes Carnivalesque did have it. But sadly, there was no plot and no characters. I did not feel their presences a bit in the entirety of 46 percent and I believe that says a lot about the book. What I hated most about this book was that every single paragraph had a long and winding backstory of any of those invisible characters. They were unnecessary, to be honest, and only served to bore the reader more. Nothing happened except characters remembering something or other. There were also jarring changes between POVs that I had to go back a couple of times because I was confused as to who was talking at the moment.
I really, really, wanted to love this book but it let me down so hard.
Do not be tempted by the cover.
Rating: 2 stars