Since the death of his parents, Micah Tuttle has lived with his beloved Grandfather Ephraim, and has thrilled to the oldtimer’s stories of his childhood visit to the magical Circus Mirandus. Now his dying grandfather has sent out a message to the Lightbender, one of the magicians from the Circus, who promised Ephraim a miracle many years ago. But as no reply seems to be coming to his message, Ephraim sends Micah in search of the Circus to bring the Lightbender to him.
I loved Micah and his prickly, pragmatic new friend, Jenny Mendoza. Aunt Gertrudis, who flies in when Ephraim is dying, is a wonderfully Durslian guardian, with a good backstory. And the Lightbender himself is a bit Dumbledorian too. The Circus scenes are magical, and, in one instance, shockingly tragic.
Is this a Christian allegory? – it feels like it could be. It’s certainly an exploration of faith and belief, juxtaposed onto magic (yet another Harry Potter similarity).
This was getting a big push at the ALA annual conference, and lots of ARCs were being handed out. I do wonder a little about how widely this will appeal to kids, but there is definitely some sort of audience for this type of thoughtful fantasy.