The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel

The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel
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Release Date
October 01, 2010
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For one charismatic kid, the dangerous world of the Forest of the Dead becomes the setting for the ultimate escape trick in this exciting debut novel.

Jack Carr has been shuttled from foster home to group home to foster home his entire life. The only constant has been his interest in magic, especially handcuff escapes like those mastered by his hero, Harry Houdini. When he’s placed with the Professor, however, he feels like he’s finally found a home—but his new guardian is hiding a dangerous secret.

Years ago the Professor bartered his soul to the undead magician Mussini, and when the payment is due, he sends Jack in his place. Jack must travel with Mussini to the Forest of the Dead, a place in between the real world and the afterlife, where he’s forced to perform in Mussini’s traveling magic show. If he stays in the Forest long enough, he’ll die himself. To find his way home, he’ll have the help of Mussini’s other “minions”—kids stolen just like Jack—and his wits, nothing more. Can he follow the example of his hero, Houdini, and escape the inescapable?

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The Carnival of Lost Souls (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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I had a lot of hope for The Carnival of Lost Souls because I’ve always been a fan of magic. When I was younger I actually used to collect tricks and anytime there was a magic show on tv, I was all over it. I was hoping this book would bring that feeling back, but it just wasn’t the same.

Nothing at all really worked for me. The story itself felt a little disjointed. Everything moved so quickly I was often left figuring I’d missed a few pages. It wasn’t moving in an actiony way or anything either, it was just all over the place.

Another thing, Jack seemed to know more than I did at times even when he shouldn’t have. He’d be all “is X character really good? Is he going to save me?” when I had absolutely no evidence to prove that character X could have any sliver of good.

Finally, there this weird little romance that just sprouted up out of nowhere at the end. It was very…confusing.

The Nutshell: I really wanted to like The Carnival of Souls, but the disjointed feel of it all just left me feeling discontent. I wish I had enjoyed it more, but it just wasn’t the case. This isn’t a book I would go around recommending, but it’s always possible that someone else might enjoy it :]
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