Magical, exciting, and full of twists! The Bootlace Magician is the second in what we’re told is just a two-book series (I’m rooting for another one, though) called Circus Mirandus. It stars a young boy named Micah having to figure out his magical powers in a whirlwind of a circus. I would say more, but almost everything is a spoiler of the first book – there are too many twists for that – so I’m sorry for that. This book’s target audience appears to be 9 to 12-year-olds and it is a very good and engaging book. This is one of the ones that at the beginning, you read slowly, but after halfway through, it becomes so hard to put down, everything leading seamlessly into mini-climaxes that slowly snowball up to the final climax. That being said, the passing of time is fast and a bit confusing, continuously changing the time so it’s always unclear even the general time of year it is. Also, she kind of skips over certain details that made me think that an animal’s name was some very important and unclear event. Also, she kinda used the exact same situation numerous times and it got a bit old. Furthermore, almost everyone is just kind of overly good. They all hardly had a rough backstory or even a few character flaws, and if they did, they really laid them thick. It just kinda made the whole thing feel artificial. I can really only think of 3 characters that could count as a ‘gray area’ character – where they aren’t really good or bad. And even those were pretty close to one side or the other of the spectrum. It made the whole thing a bit less engaging, too, seeing how perfect the characters are. But besides a lack of clarity, different plot devices, and ‘gray area’ characters, it was a good story. It gave you a connection to the characters and really makes you feel for them, which is always good. And as I mentioned earlier, it has an exciting plot that really moves everything along. Cassie Beasley (the author) also makes a great amount of anticipation with unexplained moments that happen throughout that you have to wait for a hundred pages for it to finally be addressed. There is also this internal clock ticking throughout the entire thing really driving the novel along. It literally starts from page one of the prologue and goes all the way to the last page of the epilogue. And Beasley does a great job of making everything not make sense and not fit together until the very end, and it all starts to click. Things like that – those underlying things that slowly build up and up just right before the main aspects of the plot do – are a great way to make a good book. All around, this book is engaging and good for its target audience – which is another thing Beasley did a good job of balancing. The Bootlace Magician is full of wonder, mystique, and maybe, just maybe, a hint of magic that is tied up with a pretty bootlace.