Review: The Electrical Menagerie

Featured On Justin Mclachlan's Blog

The first thing that made me want to read this book is the cover. The second thing that told me I was going to read this book was the fact that it was compared to The Greatest Showman. I just watched that movie and loved it. The third thing was at least five other readers I follow adding glowing reviews.

So I put down my Star Trek book and picked up my brother's kindle. I hoped this was the kind of book which made my imagination soar, the kind of book that I talk to my friends about until they get sick of it or read it and join in my excitement, and it was even better. 

Here is the description from the back of the book:
For fans of Caraval and The Greatest Showman: a quest for fame and fortune in a stardust-powered empire brings debt, scandal, and danger in spades.

The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley stake everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, the Menagerie's bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians — but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there's more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.

 
Let's start with the characters: Heartwarming, larger than life and real all at the same time. Carthage is the aging magician and illusionist inventor. I would seriously love to be his assistant inventor. Huxley is that relatable character, the Edmond from Narnia, the underdog who finds his way and by the end of the book I wanted to hug him.
 
Something else that I love about this book is the depth of the world, it has its own unique religion, political parties, and technology. A world where trains run on stardust and travel on invisible rails in the sky that somehow has a facet of reality at its core, making you feel like you could travel there if you tried hard enough.
 
This book left a smile on my face, but also a hole in my heart where no other book will do. Imagine my delight when I flipped the page and there was a link to a short story of one of their adventures. It was like that last bite, the dessert after a delicious meal, the icing on the cake. I know this book has just been released, but I'm already waiting for the next book.

 

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