** Kailin has told us that in the Kindle version there is a $100 Amazon Gift Card giveaway/contest! It can be found within the pages of the Kindle editions of Circus Summer - so be on the lookout! **
Author: Kailin Gow
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Release Date: July 2, 2012
In post-apocalypse America, every season, the Circus of Curiosities visits the city, bringing with it the most fantastic circus acts that are beautiful, majestic, curious, and death-defying. Every season performers for these acts are chosen from the young men and women in each town, trained, and sent to perform in a live grand performance, performed literally to the death. Two performers from Sea Cliff, a beach town at the outskirts of The Center find themselves chosen to be in this Summer's Circus Act. Both must win at any cost, but could they ignore their feelings for each other? Leela Sinclair needs to win in order to get to The Center where she can get medical help from the best physicians for her ailing mother, plague with a condition no one have heard of. For Zachary Nile, his reasons for becoming a performer at the Circus is more mysterious. Only the ringmaster and the Circus of Curiosities owner Dex Hightower (Dr. Dex) knows what the touring Circus is really about amidst the magic and splendor. Despite the Great War and the poverty surrounding the land except for the towns fortunate enough to be near the Center, Dr. Dex and the Circus performers all know, "The show must go on."
Circus Summer by Kailin Gow is an interesting dystopian story set in post-apocalyptic America - now called the United - where people live in fear of the Invaders and now live menial lives without many of the luxuries of the past. In spite of poverty, health issues, and general problems, there is a bright spot that comes around to the towns of the United. It is called the Circus of Curiosities and it specializes in the unusual and dangerous. Young men and women from the towns the circus visits are chosen to participate/compete in the circus to have a chance to perform in the Center - the biggest city in the United where there is still technology and money.
When I first started reading Circus Summer and throughout the novel, all I could think about was The Hunger Games. This book seems to have quite a few of the same situations, plot lines, and character types - among several other things - that compose The Hunger Games. There's the same love triangle between the strong girl who has to compete for her family; the boy who is in the competition with her who falls in love with her and helps her out; and the boy who has been a friend her whole life from her hometown who doesn't want her to go but stays by her side. It sounds like an almost exact match to The Hunger Games.
There are some interesting differences that stick out in Circus Summer, including the Invaders and the rebel group that is secretly fighting against them. We find out the in the book that the Invaders seek out healthy humans and take over their bodies. The people of Earth have been waging a long war against these Invaders, but there is a rebel group that believes a dark truth is being hidden underneath it all. These people all have abilities such as telepathy and visions, which they are planning to use to bring the Invaders down. The heroine of the story, Leela, gets caught up in the middle of the war against the rebel humans and the Invaders - and she must make a decision to be another pawn in their game or to rise up and fight back with the others. Of course, thrown into the mix is the love triangle mentioned before, family issues, competing in the circus, hidden agendas, and quite a few other problems.
All in all, there is no denying the several similarities between Circus Summer and The Hunger Games. There shouldn't be comparison between the two books because they have their differences, but I believe many people will be turned off from this book because it seems to be trying to write the same story as The Hunger Games. I'm glad I didn't quit reading at the beginning like I wanted to because it is an interesting read with a pretty decent backstory, although I was pretty put off in the beginning and many times throughout the book due to the intense similarities I mentioned above.
About the Author:
Kailin Gow is the author of over 100 books, with the majority of them for young adults. Her most popular series are: The Frost Series, PULSE Series, Desire Series, Wicked Woods, Steampunk Scarlett Novels, and more. A full-time author, she is also a producer, having worked in radio, television, and film. She grew up in Southern California, lived in Texas and England, and had traveled extensively around the world.
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