So, I have mixed feelings about this book. At times I really loved it, but I also felt like some parts of the plot were irrelevant, whilst at other times it felt like things had been missed out. I liked the idea of the story, but I just don’t think it was executed as well as it could’ve been – I think that this story could’ve been separated in two; one story with the magical elements & Sante’s past, & another completely different story that includes Scarlett’s story.
Disclaimer: I was sent an eARC of this book in return for an honest review.
This review contains spoilers!
I was first attracted to this book by its cover – isn’t it beautiful?! And then I read the synopsis – I loved the sound of Sante & immediately wanted to know more about how a baby ends up in a chest with a flute, a drum, a dagger & a bunch of diamonds… then I read about Mama Rose; my mind was made up, I had to read this book! I was so excited when I was approved to review it.
Unfortunately the story just didn’t live up to its synopsis… I was expecting lots of magic, which there was, but also loads of interesting & exciting African history and/or mythology, whiiiich there wasn’t so much of. The book became more about child sex rings, which is an interesting story in itself, but it just didn’t seem to fit with the magical element. The build up felt rushed & it always felt like a part of the story was missing. Sante seemed to come to conclusions or learn things about her past without actually receiving much information & there were scenes that just didn’t make much sense.
I like the idea of a group of kids being able to shut down a strong child sex trafficking gang – actually, I love that idea, because it would give teens the confidence to get themselves out of any situations like that, but it just didn’t fit properly. It constantly felt like I was reading two stories that had been mashed together, & I only kept reading because I was enjoying both the stories. Maybe this book would have worked better if there was an indication that there will be a sequel & that Sante will go on to discover more about her history, but judging from the ending, that’s not going to be the case.
I don’t want to be totally negative about this book though; I did finish it because I was interested in the story/stories, & the writing was of a decent standard. The cast was also massively diverse, with a black girl as the protagonist & Mama Rose being a Geisha, as well as there being a midget (even if I’m not okay with that word), & Romany Gypsies. The concept behind Sante & Mama Rose’s circus was fabulous, I just wish the author had decided to write two separate books for the two different ideas, rather than forcing them into one.