Author: Willow Anderson
Published: April 27, 2020
Goodreads Rating: 4.55/5
For fans of: Fantasy, Caraval, and the Night Circus
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lace Ashburn was only twelve years old when she witnessed a murder behind Pandemonium’s grandeur – a strange, magical traveling show where admittance is hard to gain. With a dead Ringmaster and his murderer in jail, Pandemonium packed up and fled in the middle of the night, remaining missing for five years.
When Lace’s older brother steps up to take the throne of Falhaven, he announces not only the return of Pandemonium but an arranged marriage for her with their neighboring country’s prince. With less than a week to discover a way to keep her freedom from her fiancé, Lace finds her way back into the heart of Pandemonium.
With a new Ringmaster heading Pandemonium, Lace is pulled into a competition run by the strange show with an invaluable prize at the end should she win. Paired together with a mysterious partner, Lace fights through the contest to keep not only her independence but her heart safe.
Come one, come all, to the show that will enthrall…welcome to Pandemonium where in order to win, you must lose it all.
This was a great story. It was a surprisingly good mix of the competition trope (one of my favorite tropes) and a love triangle (one of my least favorite tropes). Thankfully, the romance aspect was subtle and did not take center stage. The ring master was a morally gray character which I always find enjoyable. Lace was a strong female character, but without an aggressive disposition and not afraid to show some vulnerability at times.
I enjoyed the strong friendship between Lace and her sister, they had a bond I don’t see too often in Fantasy books. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of sibling rivalry and sisters being pitted against each other, and this change was refreshing.
The plot developed with a sense of urgency, but without sacrificing any details or descriptions. There is a mysterious undertone to the story which I enjoyed. As a reader I was able to compete and solve the riddles and clues alongside Lace. I do love a good twist and Anderson definitely delivered. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy fans!