Black River Lantern

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When you hear the word “circus,” you think of bright colors, amazing acrobatics, high-tops, and impressive pyrotechnics. But this isn’t your usual circus. Oh, no, this is the Marivicos Carnivalé. And here is Papa Marivicos now leading his performers, such as Abakoum, who can eat the flames as if they were nothing, and the star of the act, his very own son, Eddie, performing the magical feats of the mind reader to wow the crowds with his ability. Take no notice of how Papa Marivicos treats his workers. It is just his stern way. And prepare yourself for an annual event like no other, for we are in Kayjigville, and it is almost time for the 47th Annual Marivicos Summerlong Carnivalé Festival in Alex Grass’s supernatural dark fantasy Black River Lantern.

Eddie Marivicos really does have a special ability: he can read minds. So when he’s brought onto the stage, he asks those in the audience to challenge his ability, and he is never wrong, while they are never disappointed. At least the crowd, as a whole, is not; those audience members having their dark secrets revealed maybe not so much. But the gift is both a blessing and a curse in many ways, as are all things of this sort. It takes Eddie no real effort to use, but he also “hears” it wherever he goes and with whomever he sees or is in close proximity to. Papa Marivicos is, of course, over the moon with this, as there are always those who disbelieve and Eddie always proves them wrong, which has led to the great success of the Marivicos Carnivalé and its growing wealth. It is known that Papa Marivicos is doing very well for himself, as he pays his employees little and treats them like slaves, running things like a labor camp. He also has some very unorthodox and downright illegal ways of adding new members. One might say everything he does is questionable. And there is Eddie, stuck in the middle of all this. But things are coming to a head with the 47th Annual Festival: dark, terrifying things that will change the Carnivalé and Kayjigville forever.

Alex Grass clearly had a lot of fun writing Black River Lantern, and it totally shows in the strong voice, the gripping plot, and the interesting characters. The reader is skillfully brought back and forward in time as we see Eddie’s history and how he came to join the Carnivalé, and we see how things continue to go not so well for him, as he becomes involved with some very unlikeable characters, including the mafia. The book design is also a lot of fun, with sections laid out as “Acts,” and the reader is the sole audience member to one of the strangest shows they’ve ever been introduced to. But just like anything unusual and unexplainable, you can’t turn away, you must keep watching, keep reading, and find out how things play out.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 350 pages
Publisher Dickinson Publishing Group
Publish Date 2020-10-01
ISBN 0000111220204 Buy this Book
Issue November 2020
Category Horror


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