book review, horror, indie April, women in horror

Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess

A group of teenagers went on a killing rampage in 1989 at the Cirque Berserk carnival in Florida.

Thirty years later, high school seniors journey to the abandoned carnival to see if the rumors of ghosts are true. It really is be careful what you wish for, because in this case, the ghosts are deadly.

I am so conflicted about this book, and it is very difficult to review because I don’t want to spoil it for potential readers.

Guess writes well. I read this book in one sitting, eager to find out what happened next. Her characters are well drawn, and she succeeds in imparting them with enough complexity to make their actions make sense.

I enjoyed the split timeline of the novel, traveling back to 1989 and showing other visitors to the carnival throughout the thirty years it has been closed. The different times were handled well and the change in music and fashions was entertainingly portrayed.

Unfortunately I was left dissatisfied by the end of the novel. I enjoyed its twists and how it played with expectations, but the more serious plot and themes made me want a more thoughtful resolution and I found the ending to be rather cliche and failed to live up to the good work that had gone before.

I would love to discuss the themes in greater detail, but I don’t want to spoil the book. Suffice to say, it deals with characters who have been victims of abuse and neglect. While this instills sympathy, I felt the author ended up using this to justify the actions of the characters and it negated parts of the book that showed that resorting to evil may appear like a good idea in the short term but has unpleasant consequences in the long term.

I award Cirque Berserk

Cirque Berserk is available for $4.07 ebook and $7.99 print book on Amazon.

8 thoughts on “Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess”

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