What: Sleight (AVRA-K #1) by Jennifer Sommersby
Who: Sky Pony Press
When: April 24th 2018
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Sky Pony Press for review via Edelweiss.
Delia smiles at the shadow only she sees—
Something slams into her. The lyra whirls like a half-dollar spinning on its edge.
My mother is thrown backward.
And she falls.
Growing up in the Cinzio Traveling Players Company, Genevieve Flannery is accustomed to a life most teenagers could never imagine: daily workouts of extravagant acrobatics; an extended family of clowns; wild animals for pets; and her mother, Delia, whose mind has always been tortured by visions—but whose love Geni never questions. In a world of performers who astonish and amaze on a daily basis, Delia’s ghostly hallucinations never seemed all that strange . . . until the evening Geni and her mother are performing an aerial routine they’ve done hundreds of times, and Delia falls to her death.
That night, a dark curtain in Geni’s life opens. Everything has changed.
Still reeling from the tragedy, the Cinzio Traveling Players are also adjusting to the circus’s new owner: a generous, mysterious man whose connection to the circus—Geni suspects—has a dark and dangerous history. And suddenly Geni is stumbling into a new reality of her own, her life interrupted daily by the terrors only Delia used to be able to see.
As the visions around her grow stronger, Geni isn’t sure who she can trust. Even worse, she’s starting to question whether she can trust her own mind.
I was actually pretty excited about reading Sleight, which I guess makes the fact that it was a huge disappointment pretty bitter. In case you were wondering what made Sleight a huge disappointment, here are the six reasons why:
1) There’s no circus-ing
Judging from the cover, the title, and the blurb of Sleight I thought this book was going to be set at a circus, with lots of circus-y happenings. Yeah, no. Sure, Sleight is technically set at a circus but it’s not open. There are no shows, no acts. In fact, the main character, Geni, only does one circus thing in the entire book. It was so disappointing to go into Sleight expecting the circus theme to be big and important, and have it actually be pretty nonexistent.
2) Creepy fathering
Geni has this father figure guy, and I didn’t really like him. Whenever Geni came into contact with a boy he got super agitated and possessive. At one point he “stiffened” because some guy was looking at Geni. And then he commented on her and a boy’s state of clothing and I just? Stop. Please, stop. Also, there was a scene where he was swearing at her and it felt very, very off to me.
3) Nothing happened???
At 432 pages, Sleight felt like an extremely long opening scene. Hardly anything actually happened during this book. Geni found out that she’s a descendant of this magical dude, and that she has powers, and needs to protect her family’s magical book. And from that moment of realisation on, it’s just Geni’s monologue about how much she doesn’t want to be magical, how she has to find her book, and how she resents her mother for not telling her anything about the situation. That’s it. That’s literally all this book is.
4) The teen voice was not authentic
There were some passages, lines, and words in Sleight that completely drew me out of the story because it felt so obvious that an adult had written it, and that a teen had not thought it. My biggest qualm in terms of the teen voice feeling inauthentic was the fact that Geni called another teen “kid”. Another teen that was older than her. I have never heard a teen call another teen “kid” seriously, let alone someone older than them. And it wasn’t once. She called him “kid” every time she thought about him.
5) The characters were one dimensional
At the beginning of Sleight, Geni’s mother dies. But this seemingly does not affect her very much at all. Now, I know everyone copes with grief differently, but there was just… nothing from Geni. Nothing about how she was feeling, how she was coping in her own way. It was just a non-issue.
The cast of characters all had their one thing that they were. Like Geni’s father figure, Baby. He was just the father figure, and her mother’s boyfriend. I didn’t find out anything else about this guy as a person. Geni also had a “best friend” called Violet. They spoke approximately three lines to each other in the entire novel. Geni was supposed to have a crush on this guy, Ash, but the only indication of that crush was the fact that she instantly hated a girl that Ash showed interest in (authors, please stop writing this girl-hate shit, it’s not good). Geni’s actual love interest, Henry, was so bland. I don’t know who he was supposed to be. His sudden affection and willingness to do things for Geni felt very contrived. To be honest, the ~evil~ guy was probably the most fleshed out. He actually had motivation for being ~evil~.
6) Nothing pulled me in
Which I guess is reasons 1-5 rolled into one. There wasn’t anything that really drew me into the story, no characters that I fell in love with (except the elephants). I’m okay with slow going stories, but there was something that was missing overall when it came to Sleight. Which is why I said this was a disappointing book and not a bad one. Because I liked the sound of it, I thought I could like it. But when I settled into it… there was just nothing there for me.
© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning use of ableist language, death of mother (falling/murder), graphic injuries, animals in captivity, reference to slavery, reference to animal cruelty, ableism, reference to torture, reference to domestic violence, car crash, murder of mother (by father), imprisonment, reference to mother in hospital (mental health), child abduction (sister), fatphobia
use of ableist language, death of mother (falling/murder), graphic injuries, animals in captivity, reference to slavery, reference to animal cruelty, ableism, reference to torture, reference to domestic violence, car crash, murder of mother (by father), imprisonment, reference to mother in hospital (mental health), child abduction (sister), fatphobia