Review: Showtime by Chloe Kayne

Posted September 7, 2012 by Vampbard in 3 stars, 4 stars, Guest Review, Rating A, Rating B, YA Literature Tags: , , , ,

Joining VampBard for her review today, is her daughter, DramaTeen (DT…although she won’t qualify for long…).  DT is an undergraduate student of psychology, ultimately pursuing a doctoral degree in psychiatry.  She likes to read for fun, but doesn’t often get the opportunity.  

Author: Chloe Kayne
Release Date: Sept. 14, 2012 (expected)
Publisher: self-published
Marvelle Circus #1
ISBN: 9781300109
Genre: YA Historical Romance/Suspense
Format(s): according to the author’s website, the book will be available in hardcover, paperback & ebook
Book Source: Author
About the book:
The grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romance with notorious sideshow performer, “The Disappearing Man,” and learns just how dangerous her new life can be.
Touring the picturesque eastern coast of America, Laila’s immersed in friendship, vaudeville, festivals, sequins, and serial killers. But behind the curtain, a sadistic plan is brewing that will crack the very foundation upon which she’s become so dependent.
What VampBards talking about:
VB:  As I was reading Showtime, by Chloe Kayne, I did like her use of language.  The vocabulary was great for me – fed my linguistic side.  The plot moved, and kept the reader interested in the story by providing the perfect amount of detail to propel the reader through the story.  Until the end.  
DT:  I did like the vocabulary, but at times it was awkward.  Sometimes she chose a big, impressive word when another, simpler word, would have worked.  It was kind-of like an SAT study guide.  I thought the story was really mysterious, so you’d want to keep reading to find out what happened.  Ms. Kayne had GREAT timing for revealing facts!  Additionally, Showtime kind of felt like a modernized period piece to me.  There’s pros and cons to that.  It was relatable, but if you’re searching for a good historical, this probably isn’t for you.
VB:  Showtime, to be followed by a sequel entitled Spotlight, was pretty awesome, albeit light in the romance department for my tastes, for ninety percent of the title.  However, the ending totally ruined the story for me, leaving me wondering whether said ending went with this book or another.  Oh, and I wondered where the three pages went that would have further expounded upon the climax of the story.  While I read an ARC, there were multiple instances of inappropriate verb usage, and some homonym issues.  I’m hoping these are covered in the final publication, however, and haven’t factored into my rating.  
DT:  Yeah.  I didn’t run into any of that stuff.  I totally disagree with you, Mom.  I thought it was an awesome cliff-hanger, I wished I could just jump into the next book.
With those things covered, on with the show!  Let’s talk about the awesome characters Ms. Kayne created.  
VB:  Jodelle, who initially shunned our main character, Laila, ended quickly shifting into best friend role.  I was a bit befuddled by her relationship with Ethan, however.  We also saw a lot of James, who I thought would end up in a love triangle with Laila and Dex.  Surprise!  Didn’t happen.  We also had Dex’s twin, Seth, as a minor character as well.  I’m not quite sure what to think about Seth.  We didn’t really get to know him too well.  Lastly, there’s Vivan.  I’m definitely not a fan of her girly games.
DT:  I thought they were really good characters.  Each of them, except Dex and Seth, were real-world people.
VB:  Laila, our gutsy heroine, was pulled into the circus life to circumvent her horrible situation.  She was being raised in a bordello, as her mom was a prostitute and her dad was committed to an asylum after a failed suicide attempt.  When the circus opened near her town, Laila and a friend were outside the gates, and her friend was beaten to a pulp and nearly drown at the hands of others – thugs in their town – because she owed them money.  This activity was what landed Laila in the circus, courtesy of their security team.  While Laila lied about her guardian situation, she did have bouts of regret regarding leaving her mother, and she did wonder how her friend fared.  After joining the circus, Laila managed to graduate high school and definitely had her situation improved with the position she received within the circus.  To remain spoiler-free, watch Laila’s situation evolve during the last quarter of Showtime.  One thing to watch:  she is kidnapped and quite heroic near the end of the book.  However, the situation with her kidnappers confused me.  I’m not sure whether she was simply beaten or whether she was raped.  I really liked Laila as a character, and enjoyed watching her develop into a confident, self-assured young lady.
DT:  I don’t think she’s raped!  They only said they were GOING to rape her!  
VB:  Dex, the disappearing man from the sideshow, became Laila’s love interest.  Clouded by hearsay regarding his past, Dex was tender and sweet, as well as quite protective of Laila.  It wasn’t beyond him to beat someone up that threatened her.  Dex and Laila had tension and heat between them, however, during this title, it remained a chaste relationship – not uncommon for 1918.  There were places in which Ms. Kayne could have ramped up the heat, however, we’re dealing with teens here, and I’m not quite sure readers would be comfortable with that.  
DT:  I would be comfortable with that.  Then again, if this is a YA demographic, I don’t really qualify.  I really liked Dex and Laila’s relationship.  It’s intense.  Kinda like the Twilight books – I’m magically drawn to this person.  But at the same time, I’m a bit tired of the dark, brooding character always being the compelling love interest.  I’d like some more original traits.
VB:  Over all, I’d have to say I enjoyed the roller coaster ride on which Ms. Kayne sent her readers during Showtime.  The believable characters and great plot concept definitely kept my interest.  P.S. – check out the author’s pic on her website (the ABOUT tab)… to me, she looks like Kat vonD!  Even my other teen, SpellingQueen, agreed with me!
DT:  Agreed!  I simply couldn’t put this book down.  I read it in, like, a night.
VampBards Rating:
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)
DramaTeen’s Rating:  
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Purchase Info:
Not available at this time. Check the author’s website for updates!