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This contains one of my favourite lines of the entire story. His odyssey, and that of his brothers in arms, finds them all changed by the experiences that they share together. No one is left untouched by the torment that they all face. The striking cover art by Simone Held also deserves a mention. The lonely figure of a man standing on a bridge looking out over a desolate sea is a simple but effective image.

It captures the mood of the entire story and is a perfect compliment to a perfect story. From the battlefields of Europe, to the end of the world, this novel is a seamless blend of physical and psychological horror that will leave a distinct impression. Oct 18, Gef rated it really liked it Shelves: The first page of every Cate Gardner story is a rabbit hole, through which you find yourself falling into a wonderland of her design, and Theatre of Curious Acts offers a deeper plunge into the abyss of Cate's imagination than anything of hers I've read yet.

This short novel tells the story of five soldiers cast out of one hell, of course being the Great War, and thrown into an entirely different one--fewer bullets, but more monsters. The spotlight character, Daniel, winds up on a journey with fo The first page of every Cate Gardner story is a rabbit hole, through which you find yourself falling into a wonderland of her design, and Theatre of Curious Acts offers a deeper plunge into the abyss of Cate's imagination than anything of hers I've read yet.

The spotlight character, Daniel, winds up on a journey with four brothers in arms; Swan, Harvey, George, and Ken; as they must navigate their way through a surreal nightmare inside the Theatre of Curious Acts. The theatre has a surreal nature to it, as Daniel is initially there to take in a show, but finds himself whisked onstage and into a netherworld where he and his friends are at risk of becoming trapped, or possibly destroyed.


  1. Dictionnaire des idiomes anglais et américains (French Edition).
  2. CATE GARDNER: THEATRE OF CURIOUS ACTS.
  3. THE BUREAU OF THEM!

That's because the theatre sits at the end of the world and there are powers in play that would like very much to see that happen. The interwoven nature of Daniel's traumatic and horrific experiences in war for Britain with the supernaturally haunting aspects of what he finds inside the theatre felt surreal while reading this book.


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There are moments where what's happening feels murkier, encased in a shroud that only lets you see very subtle imagery or emotions, while there are moments that soon follow that feel epic in scope with a blazing intensity you might expect if the Sun got too close. As much as the relationships Daniel had with his fellow soldiers were engaging, especially his somewhat contentious relationship with Swan who comes off as a dashing cad most of the time, it was the interactions he and the others have with the Four Horsemen--or in this case, the Four Horsewomen--or maybe it's Horsepersons.

Each of the four carry such brightly contrasted personalities and have their own intentions behind what's happening, they tended to steal the show.


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  • Olivia was a particularly striking character, but I must confess to enjoying the Rowan character a bit more. Maybe because her tone was a bit more deliciously caustic. In any case, it's a rich and undeniably bleak tapestry that Cate paints with her prose throughout this story. I'm definitely going to have to revisit it again, and hopefully glean a little more the second go round as a reader who has walked that path with its characters once before. If you like fantasy with a dark edge and a romantic, albeit desolate, air throughout, this is a book you ought to consider. Oct 31, Carole Lanham rated it it was amazing Shelves: Darkly imaginative and utterly unique, this book sucked me in the first second I fingered the moonlit beauty of it's ghostly cover.

    From that point on, Gardner had me in what I can only describe as a death lock of sorts, holding my head under Theatre's murky, troubled waters until I reached the final word. We first meet Daniel Cole knee-deep in mud and death in a trench in WWI, enduring what would seem to be the lowest of all possible moments that life has to offer.

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    But as bodies fall and pile up around him, the young solider is unexpectedly jolted by visions of a grim, mind-bending otherworld that rivals even the insanity and despair of war. What follows is a journey that is rich, complex, and magical as anything ever dreamt up by Neil Gaiman or Lewis Carroll, yet like no other journey made before.

    I especially enjoyed the Four Horsewoman of the apocalypse, but Daniel is a wonderful protagonist. Throughout the story, he is equal parts confused, conflicted, and heroic, as all good men in trouble should be, and I quite liked him that way. In all honesty, my crush on this book began months before its release when I noticed that I could order a bookmark from Cate Gardner that featured its intriguing cover art. In the weeks to follow, that bookmark saved my place in every book I read and it never failed to please me when I would open the pages of whatever I was reading and find the pearly images of art-manipulating master Simone Held right there and waiting for me, beautifully holding my spot.

    It made me anxious to get my hands on the real deal. This is a book for adventurous readers, make no mistake about that.

    Attraction Shadow Theatre on Britain's Got Talent 2013

    To appreciate Theatre of Curious Acts, you must be absolutely willing to be carried along by its clammy tugs and pulls. You must also be a lover of apocalyptic fantasy that has, at its foreboding heart, a good deal of romance and soul. If you're that kind of lover, plunge in. Just forget about holding on. Theatre of Curious Acts link: Feb 13, Zach Sparks rated it it was amazing Shelves: I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

    I normally hesitate to compare authors, but Cate Gardner simply flies in the face of convention with Theatre of Curious Acts. The best way I can describe it is to take equal parts Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, a healthy dose of Doctor Who, a touch of Stephen King, and a twist of any classic English fairy story you care to mention.

    Blend them all together and then garnish with some of the best prose I've read in a while. I had to fo I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. I had to force myself to slow down while I was reading this book, and I think you might have to do the same, just so you don't miss a single brilliant word. Dec 24, Dave Thomas rated it really liked it. Daniel Cole, a war-weary soldier, and a handful of his fellow men are lured into a strange theatre and trapped in a surreal world where time bends.

    There they meet the horsewomen of the apocalypse and must take up arms once again as humanity's last hope. To say more of the plot would be to ruin the experience. Her work is intelligent, emotional, and vivid. Her characters are complex, her plotting and pacing feverish Daniel Cole, a war-weary soldier, and a handful of his fellow men are lured into a strange theatre and trapped in a surreal world where time bends. Her characters are complex, her plotting and pacing feverish, and her ideas intriguing. Step inside the theatre and see for yourself.

    Apr 13, Terri-Lynne DeFino rated it it was amazing. I kept waiting to be confused. How was I NOT confused? The pace is staggering, the story, setting, characters make Dali's artwork seem a Disney cartoon. From the trenches of WW1 France to the end of the world, time twists around itself, drops pieces of itself, then ends up in a totally unexpected place. And yet it never stumbled over itself. Cate Gardner's wordish acrobatics astound as much as they entertain.

    theatreofcuriousacts

    The Theatre of Curious Acts is dark, dank and disgusting, and so delicious I couldn't pu I kept waiting to be confused. The Theatre of Curious Acts is dark, dank and disgusting, and so delicious I couldn't put it down. Feb 24, Bobby rated it really liked it Shelves: It took a while to figure this book out Loved the train station with all the tracks Sara rated it liked it Nov 27, Philip rated it really liked it Apr 24, George Harris rated it liked it May 11, James Everington rated it it was amazing Feb 03, Richard rated it really liked it May 12, Lee Thompson rated it really liked it Dec 24, Tim Newton rated it liked it May 22, Pami Perry rated it it was amazing Oct 15, DameHedwig rated it really liked it Jul 22, Jay Eales rated it really liked it Apr 07, This was one of Gardner's darker works, and while it starts in a trench during WW1, you are immediately pulled through the looking glass of her imagination and into the Theatre of Curious Acts, and then on to meet the four horsewomen of the Apocalypse.

    This was a wonderful and engaging story that I will be reading multiple times; it is filled with rich imagery of a strange hell that exists out of time but can go back to it. Gardner's superb writing skills and beautifully strange imagination are on full display here. The allusions to Alice in Wonderland found throughout the book are apt: Cate Gardner is adept at creating these strange worlds where the laws of physics are topsy-turvy.

    At first I felt quite lost in the sea of surreal imaginings, but Cate winds all the threads together into a tight-fitting knit ball of insanity. This is a fun read that challenges as well as entertains. I kept waiting to be confused. How was I NOT confused? The pace is staggering, the story, setting, characters make Dali's artwork seem a Disney cartoon. From the trenches of WW1 France to the end of the world, time twists around itself, drops pieces of itself, then ends up in a totally unexpected place. And yet it never stumbled over itself. Cate Gardner's wordish acrobatics astound as much as they entertain.

    The Theatre of Curious Acts is dark, dank and disgusting, and so delicious I couldn't put it down. I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this. To say it is surreal horror just doesn't seem to be enough. Cate Gardner's prose is lyrical, her storytelling abilities magical. Once I was sucked in, much like the soldiers in the story, I couldn't and didn't want to get out. This is the story of Daniel Cole and it is a strange tale indeed, told in the most fascinating and surreal manner that conjures up images bringing to mind Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Dali and Leonora Carrington.

    Cate Gardner's skill in her use of language to paint fantastic mind pictures is best appreciated in my opinion if you simply let your mind go wherever the story leads, rather like the ferry in the story. It is a fantasy and a dark apocalyptic tale that demands more than one reading. See all 10 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Theatre of Curious Acts. Set up a giveaway.

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    Theatre of Curious Acts

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