Told from multiple points of view, Valentine paints a compellingly grim and highly readable story of a circus whose performers are made from both flesh and metal in an unnamed post-apocalyptic landscape ravaged by ongoing war and rapid changes of government. Fans of dark fantasy should definitely check this debut novel out. Valentine is a writer to watch.

In a post-apocalyptic landscape, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up their tents and puts on a show. People crowd in to see the impossible feats performed by the performers with the copper bones — Ayar the Strong Man, the tumbling Grimaldi Brothers and the aerialists who perform on living trapezes. Years ago, there used to be a Winged Man, but no longer, and the wings he left behind are the object of a secret war between two of the members of the circus, while war is a constant in the world outside the circus as well. Boss, the ringmaster, leads the circus from city to city, keeping them all together, but when the outside world impinges on the circus, the standoff over the wings may destroy the Circus Tresaulti forever. (PRIME BOOKS, Jun., 288 pp., $14.95)

Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs