by Kate Ormand
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: September 1st 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
A Unique Twist on Shape-Shifters with Fast-Paced Action, Thrilling Adventure, Mystery, and a Bit of Romance
Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.
In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise.
Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.
Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
While books about shifters aren’t terribly unique, I did think this was a fairly unique idea to have the shifters be a part of a circus… one where they clearly fit in and are an accepted part of the society there.
I found Flo to be an interesting character. It was easy to empathise with her through the course of the narration. Even from the start, I found her a likable character. And it was good that the romance wasn’t really heavy.
It was good to see the different kinds of shifters in the circus. I liked being able to see how the different characters gathered into their own groups, or clusters. It would have been nice to see how close the characters were to their animal forms… such as if they had instincts as humans, or if they ate certain foods due to their animal heritage.
I didn’t like Nora’s character, at all. I couldn’t see much about her that had the potential of redemption. I didn’t see enough of Hari to understand his motivations… and Ava just seemed naive and insistent that she was doing the right thing, even though later on, it becomes clear that she has a lot to hide.
I did like the elephant triplets. Although Flo seems to see them as one-dimensional, they come across as deeper than that. I could understand Jett very well. Even when he didn’t come across as ‘heroic’, I could understand why he grabbed Flo and ran with her when there was danger.
The danger in this book did come across really well. I cared about the characters and what was happening to them… even Pru, although she didn’t come across as a very nice person a lot of the time.
There were a lot of good elements of tension and I found myself drawn really easily into this book. It’s one I would be interested in seeing expanded into a series. I’d like to see and learn more about the characters… especially the minor ones. And I’d really like to learn more about Rain.
I thought this was a good, unique twist on the shifter fantasy. And it was really cool how the main character was a horse and not something more ‘exotic’.
KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise.