Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.
This review may be mildly spoiery, proceed with caution.
Okay I have SO MANY feels about this book! I am genuinely conflicted about not giving it 5 stars, but while I did really enjoy it, it won’t be one i rave about for plot reasons (maybe for others – Luca 😍).
So let’s start with plot stuff! It’s super enjoyable and the world is interesting and well put together. I like how we see how little Sorina knows about both Gomorrah and the outside world, and how we learn along with her. I like all the characters of Gomorrah too. Sorina herself I am a little mixed about – she’s a solid character with relatable angst, and I really liked how her having no eyes was dealt with! And her relationships with her family was lovely. But for me, while I liked her, I didn’t love her. I wanted her to solve the mystery and sort her relationship but that’s it.
Onto the mystery. I guessed the twists around Luca and Sorina about halfway through, but didn’t the full aspect in terms of the villain. I felt a bit sad to be right, but that was more because I didn’t want to be than disappointment in the storyline 🙂
I also love that the book is so inclusive – sexuality is casually irrelevant in many ways, a main character who is effectively disabled (though more in looks than ability, which I think does make it different).
And then finally, on to Luca. Who I need to mention for being special to me. 😍💙😍 I love everything about him except the twist. Mostly the way he owns his approach to relationships, is honest about what he wants and while letting Sorina lead a bit, he also was good at stating boundaries (or lack of). And Sorina was respectful and understanding of him. And just 😍 – everything about that was lovely, including Sorina coming to realise that he was moving from annoying to possibly cute lol! It made me super happy to see something different and supportive and inclusive, and on it’s own this would have got the book 5 stars hehe!!