A Cabinet of Wonders

Having a fascination with ‘freak shows’ of the past, I was immediately drawn to Renee Dodd’s A Cabinet of Wonders. I was drawn in from the very beginning and the story kept my interest through to the very end. I would read for hours at a stretch because I was so involved with the story and the characters. Dodd creates a vibrant, and fairly accurate, picture of the a traveling circus. The characters are beautifully written and are fully developed as people, not just freaks.
The opening, written in an engaging second person, drew me in just as if I were at a fair being pulled into a tent for a nickel. It gave me a quick snapshot overview of the characters in the novel. The novel manages to allow each character to develop as an individual while still retaining the feel of ‘the family’ they have created. The character’s interactions with one another leads to immediate understanding of their relationships.
The most powerful aspect of the novel is the characters themselves, they keep the story interesting. The story and plot of the novel itself is weak, there is no driving quest that keeps the story moving, it is entirely based on the character’s growth and development. The beginning through the middle is strong and the actions believable, however, I found the ending too great an effort to tie up all the loose ends, and force an end.
All in all though, I greatly enjoyed this novel and have now read it three times, always finding something new and more exciting. Renee Dodd has certainly become one of my favorite authors and I will be on the look out for more work by her.

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