Hi Everyone, I'm currently on holiday in the gorgeous blue seas of Cornwall. But I'm so excited to read this book. Circuses have always fascinated me, I've enjoyed them as a child and most recently as well. I haven't read this series, but thank you to the lovely Scholastic team for sending me copies so I can. Any who, I'm really excited to share with you a guest post that Hayley has written about the magic of fictional circuses that is just amazing, so I hope you enjoy it.

But before that here is a little bit more about the book.

The deadliest show on earth is ready for an encore... Hoshiko and Ben have been on the run since they burned Silvio Sabatini's circus down to the ground at the explosive finale of SHOW STOPPER. But Ben's mother will stop at nothing to track him down and get her revenge: backing him into a corner where he is forced to sacrifice himself to save Hoshiko. The deadliest show on earth has been resurrected and if Ben thought he'd seen into its dark corners as an outsider, the true extent of the horrors that lurk beneath the Big Top are about to be revealed as he becomes the circus' new star attraction...

The Magic of Fictional Circuses…. 

I have a confession to make: I’ve never really liked circuses that much. Well, not real ones, anyway. The circuses I’ve been to always seem to be a bit lacking in… well, in magic and sparkle and shine.

It’s not their fault, I suppose; they never really stood a chance against the circuses they were competing with: the ones which raised my pulse and stole my heart and took me on wonderful adventures.

Image result for caravalIt all started with Enid Blyton: her stories of cheeky, chattering monkeys and loyal steadfast elephants, of tumbling acrobats, slap-stick clowns and feisty fortune-tellers grabbed hold of me and never really let go. And there have been so many others over the years - ones with elephants with ears so big they could fly (Dumbo), ones appearing mysteriously at sunrise with their flowering gardens made of ice (The Night Circus), ones with feathered heroines hatched from an egg (Nights at the Circus), ones with poor, brutalised elephants rescued by love (Water for Elephants), ones with enigmatic and devilish ringmasters (Caraval) and, most recently, ones accompanied by rip-roaring soundtracks celebrating individualism and uniqueness (The Greatest Showman).

It’s clearly not just me who feels the magic. Hugh Jackman’s box office hit seems to have given all of us a touch of circus fever. So what it is it about fictional circuses that draws so many of us in?

Image result for the greatest showman

I think it’s the way they offer their audience an escape, an alternative to drab reality, an almost, sometimes actual, magical place, where anything and everything can, and often does, happen; where people can fly through the air, swallow fire, juggle, dance, captivate; where the night is illuminated with a thousand lights; where the smell of hot caramel popcorn and spun-sugar candy floss and the sound of the hurdy-gurdy music cast their spell and lure you in.

It was my love of fictional circuses that made me want to write about a circus—to see if I could capture some of that bewitching charm myself. When I started writing, I didn’t know my circus would be such a cruel and horrible place though-- “the deadliest circus in the world,” in fact. The Cirque in Show Stopper and Show Stealer isn’t wonderful at all: it’s evil and deadly.

And yet…there is still some of that old circus magic about it, or I hope so at least. It’s a dark magic: a magic that casts a spell over Ben, the male protagonist, and draws him back again and again and again, intrigued and fascinated even as he is repulsed and horrified.

Even Hoshiko, who captures Ben’s heart as she dances on the tightrope, isn’t immune from the circus’ power. Stolen from her family at the age of five, institutionalised and tortured, surrounded by death and violence… and yet, when she escapes the shackles of the Cirque, forced to admit to herself, that she will never really be free:

“Not when the circus--the bright, shiny, evil, intoxicating circus--still calls me back.”

So, here’s to fictional circuses, and all who shine in them. May they confound our senses and steal our hearts for evermore. 

About Hayley Barker
I live in Essex with my husband, two sons and our dog. When I’m not writing, vising schools or taking part in author events, I’m usually taking care of the family–running someone to a sports fixture, cheering on at the side-line, cooking, feeding and tidying up or maybe jumping on the trampoline with the kids.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like without literature in it. Before becoming published, I was a secondary school English teacher and books have always played a massive part in my day-to-day to life and have made me the person I am today. Being an author is a dream come true for me and I feel so lucky to be spending every day doing what I love.

No comments

Hello and thank you for visiting Never Judge a Book by its Cover. I read and appreciate all your comments. I now reply to them so make sure you check back! And I will try and comment on your blogs in return.
My blog is now a award-free zone.I appreciate the thought but I do not have any time to spare for them.