Book Review by El: The Circus of the Damned, by Cornelia Grey

wordpress blog stats


The Circus of the Damned, by Cornelia Grey
Deal with the Devil Novel
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 3, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.

But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.

Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters


The best feeling in the world is when you take to social media to proclaim your love from one book, and someone responds with, Oh, you absolutely need to read this one too! That’s what happened when I spent an hour rambling about my obsession with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and was immediately made aware of this gem of a book.

If you love The Night Circus, you absolutely need to read Circus of the Damned.

The entire book feels like a gorgeous, magical journey, filled with the most incredible, fascinating characters you could ever hope to meet. Gilbert is the rogue with a heart of gold, a con man who finds himself making the best of a situation gone wrong. Thankfully, that situation comes with the handsome, charismatic Jesse and his circus of– hmm, well, of most unusual performers!

I love the action and the plot, which never felt boring or bogged down. The novel is on the longer side, but on the whole I appreciated the richness of the setting and the way every character got a little bit of time in the spotlight. I loved the villain and the allies, the magic and the mundane.

I did not particularly love the romance. Not that it wasn’t lovely… but there wasn’t enough of it! In a novel this size, I felt like Gilbert and Jesse go from attraction to love in the blink of an eye. I really would have loved to see a lot more relationship growth between them, and a better transition from start to conclusion in their relationship.

But I whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone seeking an escape from boring reality. And I’ll be keeping my eyes open the next time the circus comes to town for a dashing redhead in a bright red coat… maybe I can join the circus, too?


Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.

She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.

Connect with Cornelia:

You can buy Circus of the Damned from:

Barnes & Noble

wordpress hit counter

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.


One thought on “Book Review by El: The Circus of the Damned, by Cornelia Grey

Chat with us!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s