Books in series: Carousel (1), Beyond Carousel (2)
Published: Fremantle Press (2015-2016)
My rating: 3.5 Stars Overall (Carousel 3*, Beyond Carousel 4*)
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, New Adult
Diversity: two major lesbian characters, side f/f relationship
Carousel is a dystopian/post-apocalyptic duology by Brendan Ritchie set within Perth, Western Australia. I’ve talked about this before, but for those of you who don’t know I’m from Perth, Western Australia myself. So when this book was pitched to me as being set within the state I live in my interest was immediately piqued. It’s not a setting I get to read about a lot, but it’s one I LOVE reading about.
Carousel follows four major characters – Nox, Lizzy, Taylor and Rocky. They’re all trapped within a shopping centre called Carousel. Unable to open the doors to escape to the outside, and with no one ever approaching the store, they assume that they’re somehow caught in some apocalyptic world and that they’re trapped. Nox is a recently graduated uni student with an Arts degree, Lizzy and Taylor Finn are twins and international pop stars, and Rocky is an employee at the Target inside the store. The series follows the four of them as they attempt to escape Carousel and discover how and why they were trapped in there in the first place.
Setting is a highlight
For me personally, the best aspect of this series was the setting. It was so fun to read about all these places I was familiar with and follow the characters in a world that was both so familiar to me, but alien due to the dystopian setting. For me it definitely enhanced the reading experience. I loved that Perth was the setting so much.
Interesting and unique characters
I really enjoyed reading about the characters in this series. I loved the queer representation with Taylor and Lizzy both being lesbians, and how that was handled. There are so many offensive and bad representations of lesbians in dystopian books but Carousel didn’t fall into any of them and I’m so thankful! I really liked the characters were a little older in this, and thus closer to my age as well. I’d label this more NA then YA since the characters are in their 20s but it works both ways.
As for the main character, Nox was someone who’s perspective I really liked reading from. I felt that he was sensitive and perceptive which made following the story much easier, and I loved his relationship with the characters around him. I appreciated that he was a character who cared about and helped those around him, because I find it hard to relate to the I don’t care about anything or anyone male characters you sometimes get in books.
Book two especially had more characters flitting in and out the pages and that aspect I really liked. It was interesting to see how each character dealt with the situation they were in, and what they were getting up to in the apocalypse. I liked seeing what sort of groups and societies were formed and how culture developed in the new world. This is always my favourite thing about dystopians or apocalypse books and Carousel had enough to keep me totally happy.
Carousel is very contained, and only really follows four characters within the centre. I think the suspense was much higher in book one, but there was more action in book two. Depending on which aspect you prefer will probably determine you’re favourite of the duology. For me that was Beyond Carousel.
The plot didn’t ever really dawdle for me. I flew through these books – I read Carousel in one day and Beyond Carousel in two. That was because there was always enough tension and rising action to keep me moving forward.
The biggest let down of this series for me was it’s ending. On one hand I am very very very picky about endings, but for me this didn’t feel like it wrapped up the mystery well enough. I was left with so many questions regarding the events of the novel and why they had happened. I would have liked to see a more developed and cohesive ending, especially since I think it ended so abruptly.
Overall, I’m so glad I read this series. It was so incredibly fun for me and I’ve loved being able to recommend it to my friends, who are all so interested in the Perth setting aspect. These books flew by, and I was really engrossed in them as I read them.
The characters were well developed and had personalities that really drew me in and kept me invested in their stories. I did really appreciate the representation, especially since I wasn’t expecting it.
Although the ending felt vague to me, it didn’t detract from the experience I had reading this duology. I really enjoyed it and I definitely recommend it as a quick and unique dystopian, ESPECIALLY if you live in Western Australia like me!
Thankyou so much to Fremantle Press for sending me Carousel and Beyond Carousel!
I haven’t done a series review in ages, I hope you liked this one and thankyou for reading. Check out my other series reviews: SHADES OF MAGIC by V.E Schwab, THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu and PENRYN & THE END OF DAYS by Susan Ee
Until next time!