Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.
But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.
Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.
It’s been a year since I read the first book in Cornelia Grey’s Deal with a Devil series, Devil at the Crossroads. I liked it, but it wasn’t quite long enough to get to know the characters. Circus of the Damned more than made up for that introduction. I might even go back and read the first book. Yeah, you could say I’m hooked.
I’m not sure what I liked most about this book. I loved Gilbert. He was talented and broken in so many ways. Besides that, how could you not love a character whose best friend was a mouse that he doted over? Jesse was mysterious and amazing as well. The more layers that were revealed about these two men, the more I wanted them to be together.
This was a book full of misunderstood, lovable, beautiful characters with an interesting Devil thrown into the mix. The world saw them as freaks, but together they were family and depended on not only the Circus but each other. Gilbert fought that connection as long as he could but once he gave in he embraced it. This book made me feel, and I’ve said more than once, those are my favorite.
Circus of the Damned was full of magic, danger, mystery, suspense and a surprisingly sweet romance that I didn’t really expect but totally enjoyed. I’m kind of hoping that there’s more to come with this series.