Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour: ARC Review of The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley

The Carnival Keepers
Author: Amber Gulley
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: World Castle Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: October 10, 2016
Rating: 4/5 "Really Liked It!"
Find it on Amazon!

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

This night seems still, yet the wind pushes galleons of stormy intent in an unbroken flow across a web of moonlit clouds that stretch, sticky and endless, in all directions, perversely trapping the outer greatness of the universe and occasionally revealing a cold, white blink of starlight.
It was a night very much like this one, the night that I lost everything. Which is hardly surprising, because that night was exactly one year ago to the day. Of course, I’m not at all drunk, the way I was back then. I sometimes wonder if I might remember things differently if I had been sober at the time or perhaps even just less drunk. I don’t know. Hindsight makes fools of us all, at one time or another. Still, no matter how I remember it, it is nights like these that keep me coming back here, to stand in the spot where the gates of my old home used to be.
As I stand here so still in the darkness, waiting for what I cannot tell, there is tension in my shoulders and a lump in my throat. And it’s not just the deep anticipation of the terrible things conjured by my psyche and the darkened wilderness before me. It’s not childhood reminiscences or even regret for the loss of my home, although I will admit that I miss my old life very much.
I stand here waiting for answers, but even the voices in my head, the voices of conscience, have left me. I suppose silence is their way of punishing me. Because, without them, the reality of everything that happened cannot be buried or put away or sorted through to make me feel better. And so here I stand, remembering all the terror, the madness, the memories of blood and fear, each event that led to that one final, terrible event. The moment when I lost the treasure of my treasures, my Laura. Oh, Laura! This world is a terrible place without you!
But, of course, she does not answer my silent cries. Not a creature stirs within the woodland where my home used to be, but I dare not set foot inside its boundaries. Even when I fancy that I can hear laughter or whispered voices through the trees, I dare not search its cursed pathways. Why? Because I am a coward.

Description from GoodReads
It's 1879, and James, a time-wasting escapist, is trying to win a bet. His challenges include purchasing a lighthouse, hosting a séance, and spending the night with his father's prize-winning stallion in a notoriously haunted attic. But the Carnival is in town for the All Hallows' Eve celebrations, and the London fog has other ideas for James. Something vicious is waiting to pounce and lead him unwittingly towards a destiny he could never have imagined.

My Thoughts
WOW!  I loved this book!  I am so happy that I was asked to participate in this tour because it introduced me to Amber Gulley and this wonderful book!

At first, I was a little bit unsure of the sheer multitude of point of view switches and story lines that Gulley expects you to keep track of.  There is so much going on that I was worried nothing would come back together again.  BUT IT DID!  I loved that although she swings you round and round on wild ride of confusion and suspense, Gulley made dang sure that you would see how everyone was connected to everyone else.  There was absolutely no confusion about what had happened by the end of the novel.

Not only were the characters wonderfully intertwined, they were realistic and well-developed.  It was so easy to understand how Arry and Robby become the best of friends. It was so natural to see several of the characters look up to Mr. Scraps as a father figure.  My favorite character, however, was Collin the elephant.  I loved that he was so loving, patient, kind, and headstrong.  He's very shut off until it comes to Vanessa, who seems to be the only one who is afraid of him.  Doesn't that just figure?

I was also impressed by Gulley's ability to add dark humor and seriously funny moments into such a dark novel. I have seen so many authors neglect comic moments in order to keep the audience in a dark mood.  Gulley would have lost so much had she decided to write in that vein.  Rather than keeping us depressed, Gulley brings us to a high point of suspense and then makes us laugh. Then, she destroys our laughter with the next horrible or suspenseful thing.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!

This book sent me on a whirlwind adventure that I was able to experience through the eyes of several characters.  I look forward to reading it again!

                                               About the Author
Amber Gulley moved from Australia, where she was a qualified massage therapist, to the south of Spain, where she could, amongst other loves, write books and spend as much time in the ocean as possible.

You can follow her on TwitterFacebook, or her website!

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