Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ring Rider and Ring Ghost by Jane George - Book Review

 BOOK DETAILS:
Ring Rider & Ring Ghost
by Jane George
(The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere, #1 & 2)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
 
  
Blurb Ring Rider:
 A teenage, trailer-park runaway is offered a place to live and work in a struggling, one-ring circus. But nothing at Circus Lunastrata is what it seems, especially not the young circus cook, a guitar-playing, Edgar-Allan-Poe-quoting guy intriguing enough to be dangerous to her off-limits heart.
Soon, she’s risking not only her heart, but her life, as she dares to enter this magical and treacherous new world.
But it’s the only world she’s ever wanted to call home.
Warning: The book you will read is the product of many magical transformations. You may have seen it in its previous stages, most notably as The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. But while lovers of this book’s former mysterious mayhem may recognize characters and scenes, Ring Rider most definitely contains enough new twists to keep magic circus lovers turning the pages. But those more faint at heart, who may cover their eyes at the sight of swearing, violence, and mild sexual situations, may want to find a tamer circus elsewhere.

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My Review
**This review may contain a spoiler**
 Ring Rider is the first book in the Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere series. It's a fun young adult read that intertwines magic and mystery within a circus setting. The cover was one of the first things that drew me in. It's simple, yet pretty. Plus, I'm a huge fan of circuses and sideshows, and I was curious to know what sort of stuff I would find within the story. 
 Ring Rider tells the story of Evan, a teenage girl stuck in the foster care system. Her current foster parents are awful people, and when they lash out at her, Evan jokingly uses magical words in the hope that they actually work against her parents. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work. Not until a mysterious clown shows up and offers Evan the chance to join Circus Lunastrata. The only downside? She has to work with horses, which scares her quite a bit. Can she pull it off and find a permanent home within the circus? I suppose you'll have to read it and find out.

Character-wise, Evan is a pretty decent character. She's got a crappy life, and all she wants is a home to call her own. She may not be super relatable, but she is likeable. You want her to find happiness and finally feel content. She's a character you kinda want to root for. 
You've also got a variety of other fun, fascinating characters. There's Wally, a goth teen who cooks for the circus. There's Johnny Dodge, who has a unique ability to talk to Prince Solomon, a smart-mouth elephant. There's the Nanurark family, who all share the same mysterious secret. And, of course, there's the Ringmaster, who is quirky and strange, but also quite likeable. I won't say anything about characters I didn't like, as it would spoil things. So just know that there are a couple, but you'll have to figure them out for yourself.

Plot-wise, Ring Rider is pretty easy to read. It's definitely young adult, but with some mild mature themes and language thrown in. I found myself being sucked in, intrigued by the magical elements of the circus, and of the story overall. It's a steady pace, and can easily be read in a couple of days. 

I'm rating Ring Rider 4 stars. I did see a few grammatical errors here and there, but nothing major that would detract from my enjoyment of the story.  It's fun, exciting, and a must-read for anyone who enjoys magic and/or circuses. I'd recommend it.

Blurb Ring Ghost:
Wally never wanted to join an enchanted circus. Working as the cook was supposed to be temporary. He wants to form a band. He wants to find his mom. Except, thanks to a major, magical screw-up, he can never go home again.

Now the circus is cursed, haunted. The Ringmaster is in peril. Everything’s falling apart.
If there’s no more circus, Wally might be free. But Circus Lunastrata means everything to the beautiful, beguiling bareback rider—and his possible soul mate—Evangeline.

It’s a no win situation. Can Wally find a solution while there’s still a ghost of a chance?
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My Review 
**This review will contain spoilers if you haven't read the first book**
Ring Ghost is the second book in the Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere series. Circus Lunastrata is in trouble. With their Big Top gone and accidents happening a lot more frequently, the members of the circus have become dejected and miserable. It also doesn't help that the Ringmaster, Jules Compere, sets off on a new mission to track down yet another wayward teen who, according to his Pickled Punk, will be the one to save Circus Lunastrata. With more than half of the members going back to the Funny Farm, it's up to Jules, Evan, Wally, Johnny, and Nan to figure out how they can get their circus back on track. If they don't, well... no one wants to think about that.

There are a lot of familiar faces in Ring Ghost, as well as some new ones added in. Dante Delgado happens to be one of the latter, and he's an interesting character. His family used to own a circus, and he and his brother were amazing trapeze artists. Unfortunately for Dante now, he's got a crippled hand and can no longer fly, as he calls it. Dante brings some freshness to the story, and his character ends up being one of the most important people by the end of Ring Ghost. 
Another slightly new, yet familiar face is Belinda. She had a very small part in Ring Rider, but in Ring Ghost, she's around a lot more. She also happens to have a dark secret. She's done something utterly insane, hoping that she, too, could join Circus Lunastrata.

Plot-wise, Ring Ghost is a lot crazier than Ring Rider. So much more happens, but at the same time, it did feel a little rushed. It's another easy read, but still has the language and mild mature content. Definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of sixteen. There does seem to be a lot more drama, more romance, and while there isn't as much magic, it's still got mystery and intrigue, as well.

Overall, I'd give Ring Ghost 4 stars. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I'd recommend it to fans of Harry Potter, and books filled with magic in general.  
Author Bio
Jane George is an author and award-winning illustrator living in San Francisco, CA with her family. She is a graduate of The California College of the Arts and is an eternal student of the sublime and the absurd. When not writing or painting, she can often be found at an indie rock concert. She writes books for young adults, new adults, and adult adults, often with a tendency toward the romantic and fantastical. 
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