Title: Circus Games
Series/Universe: Mecha Mania, Book 2
Author: Lilliana Rose
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication date: March 30th 2016
Page Count: 67 pages
Age Rating: Adult (Explicit sexual scenes, language)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Circus Games
Nessie is overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done to manage the Mecha Mania business she now owns with her father. Balancing accounts, stopping Operators from fighting, and ordering parts keeps her busy—so busy, in fact, that she keeps pushing Joy away. As frustrations build, the distance widens, and what could be slowly starts to move closer to what might have been.
Circus Games is the second book in the wild-west-meets-space-age Steampunk Mecha Mania series and takes place a week after the end of the first book, Circus Escape, with Nessie now running the traveling fighting mechanical circus she was so obsessed with in the previous story. This also puts her in close quarters with Joy, the mecha operator she had become so smitten with. The problem is Nessie has no experience and no idea how to handle the Mecha Mania business – she has no idea how to handle a potential relationship with Joy right now either.
I love the concept of this series – a Firefly-esque Steampunk series featuring machine battles and two women in love – but the actual execution left a little to be desired in Circus Games. I think the problem may be that I was so into the setting of the book that I was impatient for some actual battle bot action and got somewhat annoyed by the constant back and forth between Nessie and Joy that took up about 75% of this short story.
And it was a lot of exactly that – back and forth. Nessie kept waffling back and forth between wanting to be with Joy right this minute and wanting to put distance between them because she has other things to focus on (sometimes this push and pull would happen multiple times in the same scene). And Joy had absolutely no chill – she literally tells Nessie it’s “now or never”. Keep in mind they met a week ago and Nessie is in the midst of her first week on the job trying to figure out how to run a mechanical circus on her own while her overbearing father breathes down her neck. For a book that teeters on the brink between long short story and very short novella, the constant back and forth relationship bickering becomes very redundant and makes the story seem to go on forever.
That being said, I really dig the setting and world building in this series. The roughly 25% of the book that dealt with the mechas and other technical issues of actually running a mechanical-based circus show were my favorite parts. The costumes, the mecha, the Steampunk of it all is very well done and I think the series still has a lot of the potential I glimpsed in the first book.
Overall, even though I wasn’t feeling the romance aspects of Circus Games, I’m still really into the concept and I’d still read the next book in the series.
Early on in Circus Games, Joy tries her damnedest to get Nessie to join her for a picnic of meats, cheese, chocolate cupcakes, and wine, but Nessie just can’t seem to find the time to take a break. Nessie learns eventually the importance of taking a step back and making time for the special woman in her life. For taking a well-deserved moment for yourself (or with your own special person 😉 ), I recommend JumpinGoat Roasters Wine Infused Chocolate Coffee – a small batch roasted coffee infused with Merlot and chocolate, perfecting for treating yourself.