Paralyzed opens directly on from the ending of Suspended. Titus is lost without his best friend, unsure how to keep the circus going without a ringmaster. The rest of the performers take stock of what Dr. Dave Raydon did for them and the circus, and ponder a future without him. Jack seeks revenge against Charles Knight, an enemy he doesn’t understand. Zuma and Finley go after him in an attempt to save him, finding out more about each other and themselves at the same time. When Jack levitates into disaster, and Titus uncovers a terrible truth, the real evil of Charles Knight becomes clear — he’s out to destroy the circus, and everyone Dr. Dave Raydon loves.
But from the first moment she recognized him she knew two things: one, that she had to guard her knowledge, and two, that a strange and cosmic force was operating between knight and Vagabond Circus, as it always had.
The timeline of Paralyzed takes place over days rather than months, and there’s not so much circus action, as there is a scrambling for people to recover after the shock of what’s happened to the ringmaster. The action that occurs in this book centres around a single event that has the potential to change people, and the circus. There’s the build up to the event and then the aftermath of it. The unhurried pace and reduction in action doesn’t take anything away from the book, because the characterisation is more in-depth, drawing you deeper into the character’s lives.
In Suspended we got to see each Character’s skill and some of their personality. In Paralyzed we see what’s inside each of them, to the heart of who they are. I love that even though Zuma and Finley come from different backgrounds they try to understand it, allowing it to link them closer rather than become a barrier between them. Zuma and Jack’s family’s mentioned briefly in book one are brought to life in Paralyzed, providing some humour in a book which may otherwise have become depressing. Titus was outstanding in this book, attempting to fill shoes he knows are too big for him. I am intrigued by the mystery Fanny is keeping, and I think I know what it is, but I guess I’ll have to wait until Released comes out next month to find out if I’m right.
The cliffhanger ending left me wanting more — where will the Vagabond Circus go from here?
Paralyzed is well written and draws you in so you keep flipping those pages to find out what happens next.