Title: Calico Thunder Rides Again
Author: T.A. Hernandez
Genre: Fantasy/urban fantasy
Rating: Four stars
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
“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?”
* * *
This book = really well written and enjoyable to read. Let’s face it, books with dragons in generally are, but this was a good read even by dragon standards.
Jake Strickland wasn’t happy to inherit his father’s circus and all the debts that came with it. Chock full of supernatural creatures: basilisks, griffins and the star of the show, a dragon called Calico Thunder, Strickland’s circus has just begun to make money again. Until a mobster shows up to claim Jake’s father’s biggest debt to date.
Forced to downsize, Jake only confides in his girlfriend, Grace, to help him get the money together in time. When an investor starts showing interest in the circus, Jake has no choice but to turn to him for help. But he doesn’t count on his investor having other plans for his circus.
The characters varied in species from human to ogre and each one is capable of various magical skills. The magic system wasn’t defined but it was entertaining and effective. Magic is currently banned but that doesn’t stop people creating spells and hexes which Jake and Grace make good use of.
Characters were great, imagery was good and the ending was the best part in a good way.
A few things niggled me a little bit, though. Firstly, the book starts off with a glossary of circus terms. This actually worried me a little bit because usually when indie books start off this way, it’s because of lazy writing. This book definitely isn’t lazy but I also don’t see how the terms couldn’t have been slipped into the narrative.
The only other thing is that even though the ending was awesome, the bulk of the story was pretty depressing. There were small moments of respite but by halfway through the book it began to get a bit more difficult to read.
All in all it was an enjoyable read with a great ending and some really quality writing.
Thanks for reading!