Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan

I don’t even know what happened in the first half of this book. I picked up this book about three times and I ended up getting bored at around 22%. But I knew that I had to write this review, so that meant that I had to try and get through as much of this book as possible, so I started it again and forced my way through it… And finally, I finished it, and this is my verdict.

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.

I thought I would use the hour that I had on the train to push through the novel and by the time and I come back from my trip, I had gotten to 67% – I was pretty proud of myself. And I will be 100% honest, some of it, I just had to skim read because there was just too much description that I could genuinely feel my eyes closing.

One of the things that I just really didn’t like were the characters. They were flat, boring, I didn’t connect with them at all and I just couldn’t really care less. And that makes me so sad! Because I love connecting with characters and enjoying reading about the journeys that they go on… But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be for this book.

I also thought that the carnival element wasn’t very interesting which is a massive shame because well… the whole book is about a carnival, so if the actual carnival isn’t interesting, then what’s the point? When I got to the 67% point of the book, the carnival still didn’t interest me, there were secrets that I just had no effort or motivation to find out by continuing to read Carnivalesque, but again, I knew that I had to finish it to see if the ending was all worth it.

It wasn’t. It wasn’t worth it at all. I spent two weeks trying to push through this book, stopping and starting and forcing myself to finish it. I turned the last page, shut the book and I just had no clue what I had just read. The ending didn’t really clarify anything for me, only a couple of the secrets were revealed (but even then, they were revealed in a long-winded, confusing way). The only thing that was going through my head when I had finished the book was ‘thank God that I didn’t have to pay for that’, because if I actually bought it myself, I would be kicking myself at how much money I would have wasted.

Like I said before though, some people really enjoyed this book and I’m jealous of that. I wish I had. Albeit, SOME of the description was beautiful and I can see where some reviewers come from when they talk about how brilliant Neil Jordan is at describing the settings, but for me, the beautiful descriptions didn’t happen enough for me to bump this book up to two stars.

Personally, I really don’t recommend Carnivalesque, but read it and see what you think and let me know your thoughts on it… I would love to hear what you took away from the book.

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

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