Reading Level: Adult
Length: 336 pages
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Deadlands series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Step right up to see the oddities and marvels of The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show! Gasp at pit wasps the size of a man’s forearm. Beware the pumpkin-headed corn stalker, lest it plant its roots in you!
Annie Pearl is the keeper of oddities, the mistress of monsters. Her unique collection of creatures is one of the circus’s star attractions, drawing wide-eyed crowds at every small frontier town they visit. But Annie is also a woman running from her past . . . and the mother of a mute young daughter, Adeline, whom she will do anything to protect.
Hoping to fill its coffers before winter sets in, the circus steers its wagons to The Clearing, a remote community deep in the Oregon wilderness, surrounded by an ominous dark wood. Word is that a travelling show can turn a tidy profit at The Clearing, but there are whispers, too, of unexplained disappearances that afflict one out of every four shows that pass through the town.
The Clearing has it secrets, and so does Annie. And it may take everything she has to save her daughter―and the circus―from both.”
This is the third book in the Deadlands trilogy, which is a book trilogy based on the Deadlands role-playing game. I am not familiar with the RPG and have not read the previous two books in the series. However I do love Seanan McGuire as an author so I thought I would give it a read. This ended up being an interesting and well done story; I didn’t feel like I was missing anything jumping in at the end of the series…the story stood alone on its own fine.
The characters are well done. I enjoyed reading about Annie Pearl, her mute daughter, and unraveling her mysterious past. The side characters are just as engaging as the main ones. I always enjoy books that are set in a circus setting; especially a traveling circus setting (it is kind of odd though because McGuire’s last InCryptid book was also set in a circus).
The circus travels to Oregon to stop in The Clearing for one last performance. Of course the circus members know nothing of the dark history of The Clearing and the creatures that lurk in the dark woods surrounding it. What happens in the The Clearing will not only change everyone’s life, but lead to a confrontation Annie has been dreading.
The story is full of adventure, action, mystery, and some horror. There are quite a few steampunk elements as well and the tone is very Wild West. While I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as McGuire’s other books, I did still like it a lot. Deadlands is a very interesting world and this book has me intrigued enough that I might look into the RPG.
Overall a well done book. There is a good balance of interesting world-building, action, horror, mystery, romance, and engaging characters. I would recommend to those who enjoy the whole steampunk western theme and don’t mind a horror undertone to their stories.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
– New Release Reading Challenge
– Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
– Steampunk Reading Challenge
– Paranormal Reading Challenge