Readers Check-In: Book in Review ~ Angel on the Ropes

Like most who I write I am an avid reader. As such I have a guilty pleasure, I LOVE to read and review ARCs. (For those who don’t know what an ARC is, it is an acronym meaning Advanced Reader Copy.) I have decided to start sharing some of those reviews, and even discuss the book here. I will post my review first, but note, after the review I will discuss in a little more detail the book so if you don’t want spoilers, don’t read past the initial review!

Angel on the Ropes by Jill Shultz


My review as found on LibraryThing and other review sites:

An enticing read, full of great ideas and a marvelous premise!
Shultz has developed characters that you love almost immediately. Taking you through a wonderfully paced story. With plenty of action to keep you excited.
If I had any complaints there would be three. One, it starts a little too abruptly leaving you feeling a bit confused not understanding the “rules” which is hard in any science fiction or fantasy novel. Two, some aspects are just a little too detailed, which also left me feeling someone confuzed or overloaded with detail when I wanted more of the story, but it did really help build up the character and what was important to them. And lastly, three, the end left me wanting more! I wanted to know where it was going… Which is probably something more writers should do, always leaving us wanting more… so maybe that was a good thing, I’m undecided on that.
That said I really can’t wait to read it again to see what I get from it after more understanding of the world! I have really enjoyed this novel and am sure I will come back to it many times!


Warning, possible spoilers past this point!


Everyone can relate to the feelings of wanting to join the circus (at least I can!) So the dreams of Amandine are real to me. You get jumped right into this world, of Amandine trying to join the circus. The beginning felt a little confusing to me because I did not really know or understand any of the worlds ‘rules’. She was reflecting and going over what she would do, and the fact that she was different, but I couldn’t understand how.
As you read further and find yourself experiencing the circus with Amandine you read very detailed descriptions of her act as a trapezist. It is not fully clear in the beginning that is what she is doing, and I think the only thing I didn’t like about the book was the overly detailed acts. Not really knowing anything of the work of a trapezist it left me wanting to get back to the story. The descriptions were so detailed as it pulled me out of the story. I am sure that someone who has a bit more knowledge would appreciate the thought and art of it, but some things to me are just too detailed.
There is plenty of adventure to be had though, as you learn of her otherness and how all those of her kind are being hunted and killed by the Plaguellants. The incredible connection between her characters will warm you, and I loved the expressive way they spoke through the book, often with hand speak, full body language and talking! The underlying meanings in the story also really spoke to me!
All of this brings me to the only other thing I didn’t like about the story. There was no ending. I turn the page and nothing… end of the book! While leaving you wanting more is a good thing… I also felt like there was no real closure. I was involved now… what about the planet? What about all those changes that we see happening? Do things change for the better? What pitfalls happen? As I said I think it is good to leave the reader wanting more, but… I also think there should be a sense of closure… she left us hanging up there on that trapeze, with no way down.


When this book comes out I encourage you! Pick it up, read it, let me know what YOUR thoughts are!


14 thoughts on “Readers Check-In: Book in Review ~ Angel on the Ropes”

  1. Congrats on your award. And since i’m a new follower, I didn’t know you reviewed ARCS. How cool! Angel on the Ropes sounds interesting. Would it be appropriate for a 14-year-old? A friend’s daughter toured with Circus Smirkus, so she’d be interested.

    1. Thanks, and I love to review books, especially ARCs, they are my personal favorite… for so many reasons. This is actually the first of the reviews I have done that I have posted on my blog… I thought it would be something fun to share, as writers tend to love to read, and I am finding I enjoy reading reviews as it tells me of other new books to possibly check out!

      It is a very interesting book. I do not really know how to answer your question, because that I would say depends on the teen… and the parents and what they allow, ect. I think Jill might have a better answer to that question.

      1. Hi everyone. Raven said it would be okay for me to pop in and answer questions. I agree that it’s difficult to judge whether a book is appropriate for a someone you don’t know, but here’s some information that might help. It has a Circus Smirkus vibe–in fact, she might have met the two professional trapezists who were most helpful to me (Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion) because they are based in Brattleboro and have personal connections to Smirkus.

        There is a sex scene between two adults who are falling in love. The scene is much more about trust, love, and commitment than sex. There are also two intense moments in the book. If she normally reads SF and fantasy, perhaps you could tell me some of her favorite writers, and I could let you know if this in the same realm?

        I would feel comfortable giving this book to a teenager.

  2. With such things being unresolved, would I be right in thinking it’s the first in a series or trilogy? Or it just ended badly? A good way to end if the author wants to drag you back for more, but not if it’s the final and only book in that story.

    1. I don’t honestly know, I did really enjoy the story, and of course as a reviewer that is just my personal opinion on it, someone else might see it entirely different. I know that I plan to read it again soon, after I finish the other ARC’s I have currently, just to see the feel after becoming familiar with the “world” I know that can sometimes make a difference.

      1. This is a standalone book. As of now, I don’t have any sequels planned.

        One of the reasons why I love reading –and talking to other people about books–is because we all see the world a little differently. Other readers have really loved the ending. I believe it’s one of those situations where all that can be said is, “your mileage may vary.”

        I wrote what I believed was an appropriate and satisfying ending. I hate it when stories just stop and would never intentionally do that to a reader.

      2. That is so it! Everyone sees the world differently, and then how we interpret the things around us is what reflects on how we see the books we read!
        It was a pretty epic ending, it just left me wanting more *grins* which is also why I said that can be both good and bad… I got so drawn into the world I really wanted more, I wanted to know what happens to everyone that I had grown to love!
        If you ever decide to write more of this world Jill, I totally want to know! I really loved the world you created!

      3. Thanks so much. I did start planning a sequel, but it didn’t have the right energy. No way would I come back to this story unless I could match its strengths.

        In most cases, if I don’t like the ending of a novel that really colors my perception of it. I want the ending to fit, though it doesn’t have to be happy (or postmodern). One book totally violated that rule for me: Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” I hated the ending. Threw the book across the room, which I’d never done before or since. That shows you how passionate I was about that story. And yet, years later, I still think about, and feel, its most brilliant moments. That’s what I remember, not the ending.

      4. Oh I agree! And sometimes you read books with happy endings and its like, but this isn’t the right one! **grins** but then… while I want my fairy tales to all end happily ever after, I don’t feel that way about the novels I read.
        I have never had an ending upset me like that… a couple have left me in shock though… and I am concerned about the last book in one of my favorite series coming up.
        What people really have to remember though, we as authors are just telling the story as the characters share them with us. It isn’t our choice! **grins**

  3. The 14-year-old I mentioned reads Harry Potter, The Hunger Games–books of that ilk. She might have read Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

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