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Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows Paperback – October 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: RainTown Press; First edition (October 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984050019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984050017
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,564,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

As an author, there s a moment when noble emotions such as admiration and respect for a fellow scribe cross over into outright, green-eyed jealousy. And, about midway through reading Molly E. Johnson s page-turning debut Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows, my appreciation for her quirky, breezy style quickly gave way to wanton prose-envy of the worst kind...As exotic as his name is, Spartacus grounds the fantastical events of his story in a deeply affecting and relatable way. His insights and feelings at being a runaway in a difficult situation at a difficult age hold your metaphoric hand as Johnson leads you, circuitously, to the inevitable big showdown at the Big Top. But it s the various roadside attractions and delightful deviations along the way that make her story sparkle like the creepy-shiny eyes of a carnie. Dale Basye, author of Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go --Directly from author

I couldn t put it down. Literally. Never pick up a book while eating honey glazed ribs. But, if you re going to be stuck with a book for a few days, I advise you to make it Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows. Dr. Cuthbert Soup, author of A Whole Nother Story --Directly from author

Molly E. Johnson s debut novel, Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows is a humorous novel with unforgettable characters and an unpredictable ending. I loved the travelers Spartacus ends up with. Spartacus quest is hilarious and even a bit heartbreaking. It s a fun novel that is hard to put down. The author does a great job with the theme of loving and accepting others, especially your own family. My twelve year old and seventeen year old sons like the novel as well. Highly recommended for the middle school reader or ages 10-14. --Boys and Literacy blog at boystobooks.com

About the Author

Molly began writing about sports for her small town newspaper that is, until they discovered she knew nothing about football. She went on to write sarcastic movie, restaurant, and art reviews for the Linfield College newspaper while earning her BA.After barreling through an MA from Portland State University, she then barged (and blogged) through a year of teaching English to some of the coolest kids in China. She works as a copywriter in Portland, living with her cat Achilles. She spends her free time reading, writing, learning, and lying through her teeth every chance she gets. She has seen Spartacus thirteen times.

More About the Author

Molly E. Johnson always loved writing but officially became a writer after reporting sports for her small town newspaper--that is, until they discovered she knew nothing about football. She went on to write sarcastic movie, restaurant, and art reviews for her college newspaper.

After barreling through university, Molly then barged (and naively blogged) through a year of teaching English to some of the coolest kids in China. She taught pre-schoolers songs about frogs and high schoolers what Justin Timberlake meant by saying he was "Bringing Sexy Back."

Molly now lives in Portland, Oregon with her roommates, Achilles and Z. She works as a copywriter/creative mind and spends her free time reading, writing, learning, traveling (or dreaming about it), and lying through her teeth every chance she gets.

Her first novel, Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows, was published in 2011 by RainTown Press.

Customer Reviews

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See all 15 customer reviews
I finished this book in one sitting.
Karen
He has lots of adventures and meets many interesting characters along the way.
Hilly
A great book for that age group that's so hard to get into reading.
Kiersi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Falank on August 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Molly's Spartacus while reading it, and more so afterwards because instead of digesting it and being aware this was a novel targeted at younger readers, I had just read it straight through. There are so many middle grade and young adult novels that speak to their intended audiences only - which is just fine, because that's the point - but what Molly did was make an engaging (and hilarious) story for everyone to take something from. I certainly did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Guilty of Pleasure on April 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Ever pick up a book and think "I'll just read a couple pages," then get lost until you realize it's getting dark and you've been reading for hours? This is that kind of book.

Spartacus has a dad who doesn't get him, a brother who torments him, and a mother who dotes on him but has run away to join a circus. But Spartacus has reason to believe there are darker forces at work in his mother's sudden departure. To find out, he takes to the road.

Spartacus' voice is what makes the story. He is by turns awkward, insightful, confused, and cunning. Combine his personality with a string of zany (yes, zany) adventures and characters, and the result is a funny and engaging book. There are fantastical elements in the plot, but ultimately, Spartacus seems such a real adolescent that the story rings true.

I just hope there is a sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Ard on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book and I laughed out loud!

When Spartacus's mom leaves town to join the circus, his father, brother and almost everyone in town accepts her absence -- but not Spartacus. With the online help of his nerdy, techno-wizard friend Eli, Spartacus hits the road to save his mom from her kidnappers - Bartholomew and World-Renowned Circus of the Incredible. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters, each more outlandish than the last. From the giant tattooed biker to the blue-haired criminal maniacs, Molly E. Johnson captures a colorful group - some helpful and some not so helpful to Spartacus's quest to find his mom.

Spartacus's travels will scare him and they will push him to become more than he ever thought possible. Along the way Spartacus may not be certain of much, but by the end he finds the meaning of family and friendship and love. You'll be rooting for Spartacus throughout this tight, quick-paced tale.

`Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows' is a funny, smart adventure story that will appeal to middle-grade readers and beyond.
Lisa Ard
Author of Fright Flight, Dream Seekers Book One
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Collins Schmeer on July 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The number-one thing I love about this book is the cast of secondary characters - I love that this isn't a YA book that only has young people in it. There's the hilarious old criminal ladies, and the big gentle tattooed biker, and Spart's best friend Eli, and not just one family but several families (both biological and chosen) of all shapes and sizes. It was a completely convincing and real world.

Also, I thought the author nailed the internal thought process and kid-logic of a young kid; the voice of the narrator was completely consistent and realistic.

I would hand this book to a young reader without hesitation!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book for kids or adults alike-however my copy is mysteriously missing pages 97-128. It's bound and printed perfectly, but the pages just aren't there. Weird.
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Format: Hardcover
If the wonderfully illustrated cover wasn't enough to get you to pick up "Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows," surely the plot will. From the very first page, you are thrown into the crazy world Spartacus finds himself in after deciding to rescue his mother from the circus that kidnapped her.

The author manages to keep the main character grounded and believable despite all the outrageous things that happen to him. It's definitely a fun adventurous ride. There were some subplots that dragged the pace. The story would have felt less frustrating without them.

Also as a Portlander, I enjoyed "visiting" the places I was familiar with (here and around Oregon)- especially when Spartacus found himself in a library.

I didn't like the ending. I don't want to give anything away but it just felt unfinished. In that sense, I guess the book is a great reflection on life- that we don't always get what we expect. With that being said, if there were additional stories featuring Spartacus, his mom, and some of the other characters, I wouldn't mind reading them.

I'm not a reviewer or anything, but I wanted to support this book to support local talents- from the author Molly E. Johnson, illustrator Robin E. Kaplan, and publisher RainTown Press. So when Molly gave away copies on her Facebook page for review purposes, I jumped on the chance. I also enjoyed seeing how writers were employing social media to reach out to readers.
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Format: Hardcover
A grown woman and I loved it from start to finish! Molly's writing is clever and fast-paced. A great book for that age group that's so hard to get into reading. Recommended to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, librarians and teachers!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By anneclair on December 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a quick, fun and thrilling read. As a teacher I can see it being a hit with boys and girls in the 5th-7th grade range. The story is captivating and follows Spartacus as he goes on a quest for his mother. The characters were interesting and I couldn't put it down. Can't wait for another book by the author!
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