The Carnival Keepers
By Amber Gulley
1879. London. James Hurlsworthy has accepted a series of bets from a friend to be completed in a day. However, he barely begins his adventure when he is thrown into some weird situations. There’s a carnival in town and magical creatures are roaming the streets with agendas of their own.
Okay, I thought the premise of James and his bets were interesting. When there’s a murder at the beginning of the book, I thought it was going to start getting really good. Then the story took a turn for left field and ended up going in half a dozen or more directions. The plot fell apart and turned into a book of multiple stories, James and his bets becoming a side story that lost ground.
James Hurlsworthy: has a title of Lord, has an older brother
Eddy Miller: pimp, owns a coffee house, large frame, has siblings
Mr Scraps: owns a curio shop
And more and more and more characters who kept popping up into the story. And very few without magical powers. There is a cat and a rat and spiders and a horse and an elephant and mermaid type creatures coming out of a lake and a girl with butterfly wings and a monster in a basement and too many characters to track and every one is involved with a story of their own and some may cross each other’s paths but there are stories that didn’t seem to develop or lost focus and…whew!
I thought naming a character Arry (get it? Harry without the H, as in one of the British accents dropping the H’s in words?) was a little much.
Mr. Scraps and Eddy had the best voices. There were a lot of internal dialogues and because of the multitude of characters, those threw me out of whatever story might have been happening. Arry and his buds had good accents.
The book is separated into titled Parts. Some profanity. The scenes with James are 1st person from his POV. The rest of the book is 3rd person from various POVs.
So, where to begin. Let’s start with the carnival having a Ferris Wheel. I did my homework and discovered that the first amusement ride with the term Ferris Wheel was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. and was the largest attraction at the Chicago Exposition…in 1893. Yes there were similar type rides throughout the centuries, but the Ferris wheel was until 14 years after this story took place.
Let me discuss the carnival. I thought it an interesting place where the carnies steal souls…and lives of many of the humans who attend. That was a cool aspect. But it wasn’t developed enough to keep my interest. Ditto the monster in the basement. What a creepy, scary THING, but again, it never developed and that early story died early. Then there were a story about one of the magical creatures wanting a necklace back and spent much of the book trying to find it. Another had a girl who wanted to run away and join the carnival. Anther story had the demise of Eddy. Another story had these spiders that bothered a lot of characters. Another included the mermaid type creatures coming out of a lake, but that didn’t seem to go anywhere and never concluded. The book starts with James in a cemetery with someone else and wondering if he was going to get away from the spiders but I didn’t make the connection at the end of the book. His story about the bets fell apart in short order and never really got back on track.
There was too much going on here without a succinct development in any if the subplots. I kept hoping it would evolve and nicely tie up, but I was disappointed.
The rank I give this is because of the above comments and not because there were any grammar/punctuation/spelling errors.