Series Review: The Girl On A Wire and The Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond // Magic, Circus, and Unlikeable Characters

If you ever read the Night Circus, whether you like it or not, you’ll know how fascinating the circus is. The rich imagenary, the intricate magic, the lush writing style. I’ve been looking for more circus books after that, and after long searching, this year I read 2 of them. They’re both set in the fictional Cirque Americain, with less magic but more circus attraction. Without further ado, here comes the double review.

Girl on A Wire // ✰✰✰✰

Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies.
Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist in the Cirque.
As more mysterious talismans believed to possess unlucky magic appear, Jules and Remy unite to find the culprit. And if they don’t figure out what’s going on soon, Jules may be the first Maroni to do the unthinkable: fall.
  • Let’s start with the positive. I LOVE THE CIRCUS. THE NIGHT CIRCUS felt more like a magic show, but Cirque Americain feels like a real circus. We have wire acts, trapeze, equestrians, dogs, clowns, etc. And the description of their acts and life behind the stage, I love seeing how the circus performance are family and all that. Sadly, the amazing performance and family takes the backseat more and more as the story progressed.
  • The feud between the Garcias and Maronis is also very intriguing. I keep turning the pages to find out what actually happened between them. Also, it seems to be a Romeo and Juliet retelling? Feuding families, similar name…
  • I like Remy, he seems like a decent guy for me. Unfortunately, the characters aren’t really fleshed out in this book. I really want to know more about Dita, Novio, Sam, and even Remy. They’re really two dimensional and it hinders my connection to them. I didn’t even feel anything during a certain scene, because I don’t know him at all! That being said, the shadiness of some characters really worked for this book.
  • I really like Jules stubborness, she’s chasing her dream to revive her family name. But I dislike how she keep digging out the dirt afterwards, even though she knew her Nan was involved and treated badly and it will surely hurt her.
Rating Breakdown
Setting: ✰✰✰✰✰
Plot: ✰✰✰✰
Character: ✰✰✰.5
✰✰✰✰

Girl in the Shadows // ✰✰✰.5

Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.
But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.
  • Again, starting with the positives. The Circus is still amazing, this time with more acts revealed like knife throwing and magicians. I would love to visit it if only it was real *sigh*
  • The plot is predictable, but there are some of my guesses that are wrong so it wasn’t as simple as it looks, and I really liked it.
  • Moira started out okay, she really goes out on her own way to chase her dreams. The problem is, she became worse than Jules as the book progresses. Reading about her makes Jules look like a saint. She cares only about Dez, but ever since she confirmed she has magic, she doesn’t listen to anyone, do the opposite of what everyones said to her, trust too easily, and she just too blind to see. I really wish something bad happened to her just to show her how wrong her choices were.
  • Dez is really shady. I usually love the bad-boys-with-troubled-past trope, but there’s something about Dez that’s just unlikeable. He just tried way too hard for me, and just too shady I can’t believe Moira missed it.
  • I also can’t believe Moira blamed her father for trying to protect her.
  • Again, the side characters are not fleshed out in here. They are just circus performers, period. The friendship also felt fake to me, seeing that Moira rarely spend her time with Remy, Dita, Jules except the first few days and everytime they eat. She spends her waking moment with Dez all the time, and yet it seems like they’re all really close with each other.
Rating Breakdown
Setting: ✰✰✰✰✰
Plot: ✰✰✰.5
Character: ✰✰.5
✰✰✰.5

Overall, this series is pretty good if you’re a fan of the NIGHT CIRCUS. The circus was what drawn me to this series, and it doesn’t fail in that aspect. The first book is better in my opinion, but I still glad this series doesn’t consist of one book only, because I really happy to come back to the circus world. If you’re looking for a circus themed series, this one is perfect for you!
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11 thoughts on “Series Review: The Girl On A Wire and The Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond // Magic, Circus, and Unlikeable Characters

  1. Tasya Dita says:

    Ooh that's a really interesting way to see it. I used to be obsessed with magic tricks when I was younger, I even have the books xD I have only read 3 books about circus and I love them all, I would definitely check The Gracekeepers. Thankyou Aentee!

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  2. Tasya Dita says:

    GO READ IT *shoves both copies to you* Yeah, I find it hard to care for them, especially to Moira. I even want bad things to happen to her ugh. Thanks for the recs, I would definitely check it out!

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  3. Aentee says:

    I love the concept of the Circus as a setting in books, mainly because I am obsessed with the idea of magic that is so close to us, and that it might all be a trick or game. However, I feel most books I've read on the topic don't deliver, and I am sorry to hear that Girl In Shadows especially fell flat for you. Have you read The Gracekeepers? I thought that was a wonderful spin on the usual Circus scene, and I thought it was written quite beautifully.

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

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  4. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Girl on the Wire definitely sounds more circus-ey than The Night Circus! I love the sound of the family feuds and the setting, although the characters seem to be a bit shallow. A shame that it gets a bit predictable and lacklustre in the second book. Thanks for sharing, Tasya!

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  5. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity says:

    I almost can't believe that I still haven't read The Night Circus! I know that almost everyone who has read it has adored it, and I even own two copies *hides* I promise I will get to it one day!

    These books sounds like they were pretty good! Although it's always a shame when the characters don't feel fleshed out enough, because that can always hinder the connection you make to them.

    It's a shame that you didn't like the sequel quite so much, but it's good that there were new circus aspects that you enjoyed!

    If you're looking for another circus related series, I suggest reading the Micah Grey series (starts with Pantomime) by Laura Lam. I've heard really great things about it!

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  6. Lily B says:

    oh there is more than one book o.o interesting. I was always curious about the Circus but never been to one, not 100% how I would feel reading about it. I don't know about the unlikable characters

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  7. Tracy says:

    I've never heard of this series but those covers are gorgeous! It's disappointing that the characters weren't really well done. That's so important to me when I read! I'm glad you liked this series even if it wasn't perfect! 😀

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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