Book Review –

The Carnival Keepers

by Amber Gulley

Average rating (all reviews) :



Rodney Strong
Fiction Author


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A Solid Book With a Promise of Something Special

The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley follows the misadventures of James over the course of one day, as he seeks to complete a series of random bets made with his friend.  At least they seem random to James, but just like the carnival that has set up next to the river, there is more than meets the eye in this story.

This was a tricky book to read.  Early on in the story a character is brutally murdered by an unseen creature and things looked like they were heading down one path, only to take strange and unexpected turns along the way.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it means The Carnival Keepers is a book you need to focus on when reading, as it cuts between sets of characters, and between first and third person POV, quite a bit.

There were some very well written passages in the book, especially the action sequences, where the author lets things flow and everything moves along at a cracking pace.  It’s the other parts where the story fell down for me.  It was a little like death by adjective in places, with it not uncommon to find sentences containing three or four of them.  The over abundance of descriptions serves to slow the story down.  The second concern I had with the story is that there never seemed to be a clear idea of where it was going.  It ducked and weaved so much it was difficult to see where the author was going, which is a shame because the premise and the early stages of the story held such promise.

As I said Gulley writes extremely well in places and I will be interested to look at some of her other work to see what evolves, but for me this was a solid book with a hint of what could have been special.

The Reviewer is the Author of “Troy’s Possibilities” and “Murder in Paint

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