Title- Calico Thunder Rides Again
Author- T. A Hernandez
Publisher- Sanita Street Publishing
Publication Date- Nov 2019
I received this book to read and review as part of the 2020 BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads. All opinions are my own and were not insisted upon by the Mafia.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.
Authors can learn more here: https://www.bbnya.com
Bloggers can learn more here: Sign Up
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Most Fantastic Show on Earth…
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?
After Jake Strickland’s father dies and leaves a debt-ridden legacy behind, Jake spends years digging the Strickland Circus out of the hole and into a profitable business, only to discover that there was one debt his father never mentioned and this one spells the end of the Circus entirely.
Deeply in debt to the Mafia Jake has to decide if he can face selling off his beautiful magical animals to illegal traders who might harm them or if there is another way out of this mess.
This book came seventh in the BBNYA of 202 beating out hundreds of its competitors. I didn’t read this for the awards but I was glad to get the opportunity afterwards.
At first I was a little unsure as to the age of the readership for this book. The cover is very middle grade whilst I felt that some of the content was for older readers. As a librarian my first thought is always where I would shelve books that I read and I was a little conflicted as to where this one would go. Then I realised that I wasn’t at work and therefore this was someone else’s problem.
I really enjoyed the story, giving it a 3 out of 5. I think where it fell down a bit for me was that Jake Strickland wasn’t a very dynamic main character. I found that I was looking forward to hearing from the other characters far more. He was passive and just reacted to events rather than controlling his own fate. He seemed to be beaten down by events- something adults could understand but children might find it difficult to identify with.
I was fascinated by the rest of the Circus and their connection with the magical animals and each other. Even characters who only had a small piece to play seemed to be more energetic and charismatic than Jake. The Ogre bodyguard and the mystical Diva are just two that come to mind that I really enjoyed hearing about.
The plot was quite simple and straightforward and started immediately which would really appeal to readers. It also had a very satisfactory ending.