DUAL REVIEW-RELEASE DAY- REVIEW- Rook’s Time- Carnival of Mysteries Bk #1- Kim Fielding

Rook's Time Book Cover Rook's Time
Carnival of Mysteries Bk 31
Kim Fielding
Majic, Gay Romance
Tin Box Press
July 10, 2024

The PRG is exxcited to Welcome the Multi Author Anthology for year Two.......The Carnival is here !!!!

Simeon Bell just hasn’t been himself.

Although he has spent a happy year as a roustabout with the Carnival of Mysteries—accompanied by his beloved, Crow Rapp—lately something has felt off. Maybe he hasn’t been himself because he doesn’t fully know who he is. Abandoned in a foundling home as an infant, he has never known anything about his family and has never met another of his kind.

A tiny box found on the carnival midway leads Simeon and Crow on a quest to Simeon’s childhood home in the Victorian slums of London, where he discovers the ability to move through time. With Crow’s steadfast love as his anchor, Simeon searches across the decades for answers about his identity. The more he travels, the more he learns about his history… and the more he faces the danger of losing himself entirely.

Rook's Time is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series and a sequel to Crow's Fate. Each book includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains an East End orphan and Illinois farm boy, both of whom are far more than they seem; occasional help from three mysterious women; and a lot of rooks, crows, and their kin.

Reviewed by Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

This is the sequel to Crow’s Fate and if you haven’t read it, you are missing out on a wonderful story even though each book in the series is standalone. It is the beginning of Crow and Simeon’s relationship and Crow’s discovery of what he is. Now it is time to discover Simeon’s story and it is quite a story indeed.

Simeon is a rook (a bird) he grew up in a foundling home in London with no knowledge of where he came from and why he was abandoned as an infant. Now Simeon and Crow are roustabouts working at the carnival, a carnival owned by Mr. Ames and just always travel to different places and different times.

The carnival is now in London, 1883, Simeon’s time. As anxious as Simeon is to discover where he came from and who he really is, he is afraid to walk out of the exit for fear of the unknown. Crow has no hesitation in following Simeon to wherever he goes, and it would take a woman leaving a box for Simeon to discover and want to return that pushes him to finally leave the safety of the carnival.

With a bag full of cash given to Simeon and Crow as salary they embark on what will be an adventure filled with secrets and danger. Simeon recalls being taken from the foundling home by a couple asking him questions but having no answers and not knowing who they are or what they want from him, he escapes. Now he revisits the couple wanting answers.

Simeon is shocked to discover that the couple are his cousins, and they know his history. His parents and the town realized that he had the ability to time travel and a prophecy revealed that he would be the one to destroy all the rooks. Then he discovered he had a brother so there was still family hopefully alive.

The town was in fear of the prophecy and decided that the boys had to die but their grandfather hid them away unable to kill them. A fire destroyed their home and his parents died in the fire. Now Simeon wants to find his brother and why a box was left in his care.

The search begins but it would not be what Simeon expected. Simeon begins to time travel and Crow fears it will destroy him, each time he travels he gets weaker and weaker, but it is out of his control. Crow watches Simeon filled with fear because the love the two have for each other is all encompassing. Rook’s mate for life and although Crow is not a rook Simeon is his forever.

Like Crow’s story Simeon’s is filled with sadness and danger but love saw them through Crow’s trouble and hopefully will see them through Simeon’s. Lies, betrayals, surprises, secrets, love and sex and a visit to London at a time when all you saw was homeless and hungry the same thing Simeon suffered through growing up. He was a thief and sold his body, when necessary, now with the money Mr. Ames gave them, he could afford food and a nice hotel.

Once again, the carnival appeared at a time when Simeon needed it to, a time when he hoped all his questions would be answered. This book is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries series, a carnival that changes to suit the world it is in and if you are unfamiliar with the books in this series I can’t recommend highly enough to start.

Review By Ulysses Dietz,
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

It seems unfair to tag this as a romance—although a great love story is its foundation. It is an adventure, with a paranormal motif running strongly throughout (shifters, magical time travel). However, it is really a psychological study of a young man whom we’ve met before, in Kim Fielding’s first book for this series, “Crow’s Fate.” This is Simeon Bell, whose real name and extremely complicated family history we discover as the book opens before us. He was really important in the first book, but we never got to know him.

Crow Rapp is important, for sure. The tall, blond, 20th-century farm boy is Simeon’s anchor. Their love sustains both of them in this adventure, in which they decide to leave the security of Mr. Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries in order to find out the truth of Simeon’s life ‘before.’ In this book Crow steps back, and lets the author’s light shine on his beloved.

The series last year established the Carnival’s purpose: to go where and when it was needed. Issues of fate and self-determination are always part of these stories, but especially here, in Kim Fielding’s beautifully written explorations of free will and destiny. Interestingly, this book spends less time looking at the details of the Carnival of Mysteries itself, and focuses more on its whole. The Carnival saved both Crow and Simeon; but it also brought them together, and ultimately helps them leave its sheltering community in order to find truth. Familiar details make the Carnival like an old friend we’re revisiting, but the point of this book is to be found elsewhere.

Simeon Bell is as rich and endearing a character as any in Dickens (and I’ve read all of Dickens). A lot of this story takes place in Victorian England, which is not something Crow anticipated when he fell in love with the ailing British lad from some other time.

Fielding does her homework, and gives the past settings a three-dimensional believability that helps drag the reader head-first into a pretty hair-raising plotline. I particularly loved Mr. and Mrs. Frugis, who are presented as both weird and comforting. They are very clearly paranormal, and yet feel entirely apt to the England of the 1870s and 80s they inhabit in the course of the story. I can’t dwell much on them without spoiling the fun—but they are important, and embody the kind of rich detail that brings the story to life as the two young men risk everything without quite knowing what they need to find.

It all comes back to the Carnival, where once again Miss Persephone offers sage advice, that may or may not be magical, and is (as usual) not entirely clear. Life is like that. We choose our path, never knowing where the paths we did not choose might have taken us.

It’s a really good book, and an auspicious start to the second go at this inventive series.

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