It is my turn on the blog tour for the book which finished a magnificent seventh place in the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year (BBNYA) 2020! Many congratulations! For some extra information, it was the highest placed out of the books I was allocated for the final, and the one I enjoyed the most.
BBYNA is an annual competition which celebrates the work of indie authors, with books read and scored by book bloggers from across the world. It is held in association with the Folio Society, who offer some wonderful prizes.
If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can fill out the form to apply to be a part of BBNYA 2021.
If you are an author and would like to know more about the 2021 BBNYA Competition, you can visit the official website or @BBNYA_ Official on Twitter @BBNYA_ Official. If you would like to enter the competition, you can fill out the BBNYA 2021 Author sign-up form. Before you do, I would suggest you read the terms and conditions first 🙂
Dave @ The Write Reads is the chief brain behind BBNYA and has also organised the tour for Calico Thunder Rides Again alongside Ellie @ Read To Ramble, so thank you very much to both of them. And of course, a Write Reads blog tour would not be complete without a brilliant banner designed by Noly @ The Artsy Reader.
Published: 5th November 2019
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Trigger warnings: Blackmail
Three years ago, the Ban changed everything, outlawing certain forms of magic and bringing about the rise of powerful crime syndicates. Now, speakeasies in every city sell illegal charms and jinxes, and bootleggers traffic restricted potion ingredients across the country. But even in this changing world, the magic of the circus still acts as a wondrous escape and provides entertainment for all.
Jake Strickland owns one such circus, inherited after an accident ended his career as a rodeo dragon rider. He also inherited the circus’ financial troubles, but since the show became his, he’s slowly managed to turn it into a profitable business once more. Or at least, that’s what he thought.
When a dangerous mobster comes to collect an old debt, Jake resorts to desperate measures to get the money before a strict deadline. With lives and livelihoods at stake, he battles the clock, his responsibilities to the circus, and a longstanding personal grudge that has festered for years. Can he pay back the mob before it’s too late?
This is a quick read, but also a really fun and exciting one. It was the first time I had ever read a book set in a circus, and that together with the world building and the fantastical creatures which appear, give it a considerable degree of uniqueness which is present on every page.
The writing is engaging in a way that is more or less perfect for its primary middle grade audience, but it can be enjoyed by many older readers. It has a whimsical element to it too, with even the more villainous characters using humour in a sly and quietly sinister way.
Jake was a well developed main character and along with Grace was easy to root for as they tried to stave off the threat of losing their circus. I even liked their romance, which did not get in the way of the plot and also came across as quite genuine and sweet.
The plot was relatively straightforward but did contain some surprises. The prologue is the prime example; it looked like that would take an obvious direction but instead there was a twist which I did not see coming. I also appreciated the concept of how Jake was able to use reflective objects to communicate with other circus leaders.
One main problem is that considering the title, Calico Thunder and the circus acts themselves does not appear often enough in the story, as the main focus is largely on Jake. There are also one or two other aspects which could have been slightly better developed, but generally the fast pace ensures that there is always something happening.
Overall, I am definitely happy to discovered this book through BBNYA. It is a fairly enjoyable read from start to finish, with a fluid writing style and all kinds of interesting creatures. The cover may not be the most opulent, but there is still a lot of fun to be had with Calico Thunder Rides Again.
T.A. Hernandez began writing after reading The Lord Of The Rings and has gone on to become a science fiction and fantasy author. She previously published the Secrets Of Peace trilogy and has long been a fan of speculative fiction.
Away from writing, she is a clinical social worker and has two daughters.
An impressive, rather unique read. I flew through this one and admired the writing and the ideas.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5