Summing up my thoughts on this book is complicated, much like all the intricacies of the circus itself. I started it and was wrapped up immediately in the story of a young girl, pushed off on her father, naturally gifted and bound to some unknown game and some unknown opponent. I continued and I was frustrated. The story jumps around in time and throws many characters your way, revealing little pieces of the larger picture very slowly. I was constantly forced to flip back and remind myself what month and year I was reading about and where that put me in the story. I read on because there was so much mystery involving this challenge. Plus, I loved the circus. I loved all the rich description, even if it meant taking longer to what I was sure would be the payoff of the climax and resolution. I'm not sure that payoff ever arrived. It was a nice enough story, with characters who were unique, even if they never really grew or changed. At the end of the story, you are left with the sense that not much happened. You are left with the sense that you aren't quite sure what happened at the end, either. Still, the circus...It's a story driven by descriptions and details. The plot isn't incredibly strong. The characters are likable, though rather static. They are all supported by a beautiful place the author created, magical in its own right.