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Le Cirque Navire


Worth reading 😎

A darkly compelling venture into a world where anything is possible, Le Cirque Navire enchants, entertains, and disturbs. A promising start to this trilogy.

In a society in which the governing forces—the Coalition—have stripped away citizens’ personal freedoms, people take any available opportunity to escape from reality; the Cirque, with its illusions, special effects, and mind-altering substances, offers many such opportunities. From trained animals and talented contortionists to seers and a truly skilled illusionist, the Cirque has something for all ages and types. Nothing about the Cirque is legal, but no matter if the crowds are affluent residents of more central planets or poverty-stricken people from outer worlds, everyone is drawn to the spectacle. The Cirque always has a captive audience. They can never stay in one place for too long for fear of the authorities, but two nights of performances bring in more than enough revenue to get the Cirque to the next planet.

Le Cirque Naviretakes place on Corapolvo, an outer world where the most fun one can have is joining friends after work at the bar for a non-alcoholic ale. Hadley Tack and her brother Lachlan have grown up on Corapolvo without parents, and all they have is each other. Lachlan, the youngest Captain the Coalition Army, is hardworking and straight-laced, while Hadley still possesses a predilection for mischief. They, like most of the people they know, have never seen the likes of a Cirque before. Lachlan makes it his mission to take down the Cirque, which means observing it firsthand as an attendee. Despite Lachlan’s objections, Hadley convinces him to let her come along; after all, everyone else will be there. Even if the seers and magicians are all charlatans, as Lachlan believes, there is something magical in the air with the circus in town.

We as readers attend the Cirque, and even separated from the experience through the page, we meander through the attractions in an unnatural haze. We have the advantage of experiencing the Cirque through multiple perspectives: through Lachlan, we have begrudging excitement battling his skepticism and overprotectiveness towards Hadley; through Hadley, the sheltered twenty-one- year-old, we experience childlike wonder at the sights, sounds, and overwhelming of the senses; in Jack Western, a relatively new member of the traveling crew, we have a bridge between the world of the Cirque and that of the audience; and in Annalise the fortune-teller and Cole the Ringmaster, we glimpse the dark inner workings of the Cirque. The darkness is as compelling as the clowns and pyrotechnics. In the darkness, just behind the scenes, there are some truly terrible secrets.

This is a story worth telling and worth reading. Cooke does a nice job of combining third person omniscient with suspense, mystique, and magic, even if she is sometimes heavy-handed in explaining her characters’ thoughts and motivations. I love the constant battle between what we see and what someone else wants us to see as we wander, scramble, and gape our way through this otherworldly experience.

Without giving away too much, I look forward to reading the next book in this series, because there are a lot of questions to which I need answers. Overall, I like the characters, I am intrigued by the Cirque, and I want to return to the Cirque for another look at the magic.

Reviewed by

As a copywriter and editor, I believe in the importance of human connection and the beauty in how we communicate. I work with clients in all stages of writing, from brainstorming to polishing. In my spare time, I run, read, and look for cheap international flights.

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About the author

Part time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi and urban fantasy author in London, UK. With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele's first novel was published in 2013. She writes gritty, character driven stories that often merge and bend the borders between genres. view profile

Published on February 13, 2018

Published by Chele Cooke

30000 words

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by