How did I get it?:
Sent to me by the publisher for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.
Previously reviewed by the same author:
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…
I was contacted to see whether I’d like to review this book by Scholastic. At the time, I didn’t realise it was a series, so when I received the book and realised that, I purchased a copy of the first book and read it, so that I knew what was going on. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, so I’m thrilled that I got the chance to read Show Stealer. I’m very into circus reads at the moment and this one completely captivated me. If you do want to read this book, I’d highly recommend reading Show Stopper first as it will really enhance your reading experience.
In Show Stealer, we continue Hoshiko and Ben’s journey as they’re on the run after burning down Sabatini’s circus to the ground. Hoshiko and Ben are not safe, Ben’s highly influential (and evil) mother is determined to get her son back. The police are also searching for them. It’s such a fast-paced read as the runaways are finally caught up with. It’s super hard to review this book without spoiling the story. Just know that it’s so captivating and action-packed.
I love how the chapters alternate between our main characters. It picks up so well, it didn’t feel like I had week gaps between reading these books. I absolutely adore Hoshiko and Ben. I’ve loved watching them grow throughout the two books. However, they are not the only stars of the show. There are many wonderful secondary characters, like Greta and Ezekiel, who I loved! The villains in this story are simply sublime.
I really enjoy Hayley Barker’s writing. It’s so easy to become engaged and enthused by the story. I’m excited to see where she goes next. In Show Stealer, Hayley has created a story with a strong and important message. It’s about society and how it (still) can be divided between different people/groups. It’s a message about coming together and being united rather than divided. It’s about respecting differences and learning to live with those different to you. What a message that is!
Would I recommend it?:
How did I get it?:
I bought it!
Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.
I was invited to read the second book in this series, I agreed before I realised it was a series! I knew then that I had to read the first one. I was hoping to really like it so my commitment to review the second book wasn’t such a chore. Luckily for me, I really did enjoy Show Stopper. It’s an incredibly dark YA novel. I think it may cause contention with some because it’s very much about those ‘pure of blood’ being separated from those that are more diverse. They are treated awfully because they’re not ‘pure.’ I can see this grating on a few readers, but sadly I don’t think it’s a far fetched notion. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s definitely something to think about.
Show Stopper is set in future England. The poorest people have to give up their children to the circus to perform in front of hungry animals, high wires and an absolutely awful ringmaster. Those that are pure of blood often visit the circus as an escape from their busy lives. They are entertained and blood-thirsty, eager to see if the poor get hurt or even killed. Ben, the son of a government minister responsible for weeding out the poorer class, visits the circus one evening and becomes captivated by Hoshiko. They both come from completely different worlds, but must work together in order to escape the circus.
It is narrated by both Ben and Hoshiko. I never had a problem following the narrative. It was clear to me which one of the characters were narrating. I thought Show Stopper was such a fast paced read. I think the short chapters definitely helped this. I quickly raced through the book, eager to find out what was going to happen. There are some brilliant characters within these pages. The Ringmaster is awful, yet I thought he was great to hate.
I can understand why this book sits uncomfortably with many readers as some of the issues discussed are relevant to the issues we face in our society. However, there’s something about this book that totally engrossed me and kept me reading until the end and eager to pick up the next book!
Would I recommend it?:
I thought this was an amazing book. I’m really into the circus vibe at the moment and this story was utterly engrossing!
Look out for my review of Show Stealer later in the month!