Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare

I read Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare in just a few hours. Before I discuss my thoughts on the book, I should point out that I am the right demographic for this book. I am not a 12-year-old boy. Okay, with that said, I did not like this book. First, I thought the writing was a bit stiff and the sentences were a bit blunt. This might not be so noticeable for the intended target audience. Something else that bothered me about the writing was how big words were introduced in the text: a character would say a big word and another character would ask for a definition. Now, in the Lemony Snicket series A Series of Unfortunate Events, this format is also used. Specifically, Lemony Snicket uses a word and defines it himself. This format seemed more fluid and worked better in that series than in CdF: A Living Nightmare. I feel this way because I don't feel kids would ask their friends to define words and I don't think the kids would define words in such a dictionary-type way. The second reason that I did not care for this book is I did not like how the children in this book constantly hid information from their parents. Even when the kids were in danger, they were open with their parents. This is not a behavior I would want to encourage in my children. I am typically fine with adults being ridiculous in children's books (a la A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Harry Potter books). However, in this series, the parents weren't ridiculous; the kids should have confided in them. In books that are not supposed to be set in "the real world," I am cool with the kids going out and having adventures. This book, however, is urban fantasy. In my mind, urban fantasy books shouldn't trail so far away from reality. The behaviors the kids engaged in were not behaviors I would want them to engage in in real life. I don't want my kids sneaking out and seeing a freak show, I don't want my kids stealing spiders, especially poisonous ones, and I don't want my kids lying to me about how their friends were injured. I think I may have been more okay with these actions, if they were not happening in an urban fantasy setting. I should also note that I may have been more okay with these actions, if the reasons for them was more than "just because."

The long and short of this review is that I did not enjoy the book. I may read the rest of the series, because they are quick reads; however, these are not books that I would encourage my kids to read. Now, if your kids read the books and are okay with it or you read the books that is totally cool. Reading is important and if the CdF series is the only one that they will read, so be it. For me, this will not be a series that I will be exciting to get for my future children's bookshelves.

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