Have you ever wanted to run away and join the circus? How about a galaxy-traveling circus complete with your very own Doctor Who-like Ringmaster and spaceship? Sounds pretty awesome, right? While you sadly may not be able to do that in real life, Deva Fagan’s Circus Galacticus takes the reader on a voyage through the stars. Okay, so maybe reading instead of experiencing those adventures isn’t quite as fun, but it’s still a grand ride to hop on while I impatiently wait for my very own Doctor to show up and whisk me away to galaxies unknown and unimagined.
Meet the Earther Beatrix “Trix” Ling: miserable, friendless orphan, you know, the usual. On the surface that is. Seriously unhappy at her boarding school, she often gets into trouble due to the fact she’s quick to rile and doesn’t think things through before acting or speaking. After a few weird events happen to Trix, such as some strange dude breaking into her room and her hair deciding it’d like to be a cotton candy pink, the Circus Galacticus comes to town promising her some answers. Here is where the journey for Trix and the reader begins. Aliens and gadgets abound, as do allies with their own special Tinker power and enemies trying to suppress that power, a spaceship that’s alive with many mysterious corridors, and too much to even begin to cover, and really, they’d be better serviced by reading the book instead of this review. This book is like Doctor Who, The X-Men, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all tossed into a blender to make one scrump-diddly-umptous concoction. Smoothly written, the book moves at a swift pace as Trix struggles to find somewhere she belongs, make and keep friends, and to believe she deserves it. I don’t believe there’s a person out there that hasn’t felt like an outsider at one time or another, though some more-so than others perhaps, and while Trix may make mistakes and may not always follow rules, that only makes her all the more full-bodied as a character. Except a little with the Ringmaster and the circus tent spaceship, Big Top (as much a character as anyone, if not more), the others aren’t delved into as much but they each add their own quirks to make the book well-rounded.
And while I’d heartily recommend Circus Galacticus with no reservations, it isn’t a perfect book by any means. Trix’s age is never mentioned and at one time she describes the others as her age or a few years older. Umm, okay, I don’t even know how old you are, chica, so how am I supposed to know how old everyone else is? At first, I surmised she was somewhere between 12-16 until unneeded curse words popped up, so she’s probably a teenager. I finally found out how old Trix was by going to the author’s site. She’s 15. Call me odd, but I like to know the main character’s age. The book could also have stood to have a little more meat on its bones, even as little as fifty pages tacked on. This was like a sampler platter and I wanted a full-course meal. With dessert. So many questions were left unanswered and it is just begging for a sequel to explore these more fully. And as I said before, the curse words really added absolutely nothing to the context of the scenes they were in. Other words could have been substituted easily and been more fitting. Sure there weren’t many, but this is intended for middle-grade students and except for the cursing, it’s good, clean fun. I’m not naive enough to think that children don’t come across foul language from many sources, and even use it themselves, but that doesn’t mean that books tailored for their age range should include them either.
However, I had a blast travelling through space with the crew of the Big Top. If there is a sequel, and I truly hope there is, you can be sure I’ll be there for the next adventure of Circus Galacticus.
If interested, the author has up illustrations of the main characters: http://devafagan.com/circus-galacticus-characters
Received via the Amazon Vine program
(Clicking on the book cover image or title take you to the book’s product page on Amazon)