Book Review: The Company of Eight

Company of Eightcover

The Company of Eight

Written by Harriet Whitehorn

208 pages

Published by Stripes Publishing

Publication date: 3rd May 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Ravellous’s Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different?

A beautifully written adventure story for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars from Harriet Whitehorn, award-winning author of the Violet series.

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But Cass … had a restless energy that could not be contained and a desire for freedom that would not be dampened . For her, life on board the Circus Boat, not only working as an acrobat but also exploring the Islands, was as close to perfection as she could imagine.

Cass felt as if she were leaning far out of a window, trying to grab something just out of reach. Her dream of being an acrobat was so near that she just needed to stretch a tiny bit further and it would be hers.

Happy publication day to this wonderful book!

I wanted to read this as soon as I saw the cover and read the description.

Circus? Check!

Acrobatics? Check!

Travel? Check!

And, if you weren’t excited enough by the cover and the blurb, how about this beautiful map to whet your appetite?

The story follows Cass, an orphan who dreams of joining Ravellous’s famous Circus Ship. She has prepared for the auditions by training and perfecting her routine…but will she make it through and gain a coveted spot as a circus performer?

Cass is a brilliant character – strong, yet flawed and realistic. Along the way she gets into hot water on numerous occasions, doubts herself, but picks herself up and continues fighting to achieve her dream. I can imagine lots of people being completely entranced by her journeys around this world, and I felt a genuine sense of menace from the antagonists.

One of my favourite things about this group was how fleshed out each and ever character we meet is – we have Mrs Potts’, trying to do the right thing but missing the mark, Tig, a loyal best friend, Lin, a fortune-teller who can send help from afar, Enzo, trapped by his family expectations and Rip who doesn’t quite fit into the role he has been set into. One of my personal favourites was Elsba, a lady who Cass shares a cabin with during part of the journey. She is definitely someone I would like to find out more about in future installments!

The Longest World is lovingly detailed, but without ever feeling like it bogs down the fast-paced plot. In fact, the more I talk about it, the more I think I might need to go back and read this again as I enjoyed it so much.

An adventure full of heart, friendship and determination – enter this magical world today!

Was she happy? she sometimes wondered and decided if happiness was a sense of peaceful exhaustion, of slowly working towards a goal, then she had achieved it.

In many ways it seemed to her that she had always lived on the Island, and that her old life had been a dream – it was only when she wrote and received letters from Mrs Potts, Lin and Tig that she thought of Minaris at all.

And yet sometimes , especially in the golden light of the late afternoon, she found herself yearning for something she couldn’t quite identify.


What I liked: Strong female protagonist, friendships developed with lots of others throughout the story, travel to lots of exotic places, the fact that Cass has to make her dream happen through hard work rather than luck. I also liked the introduction to this world as it felt like there is so much more to be discovered…

Even better if: I found myself wanting a lot more when I finished – I have so many questions so I am majorly excited to read the next book. Unfortunately, there will be a bit of a wait for Book 2…but fortunately, I was lucky enough to interview the author about some of the questions I had! (Check back here tomorrow for the interview)

How you could use it in your classroom: This would make an excellent addition to any primary library and is sure to be popular with anyone who enjoys adventures or gymnastics. A fantastic adventure, but with themes of friendship, betrayal, tough choices and resilience in the face of hardship – all great discussion-starters when used as a class-read in school. I will be getting a copy for my book corner!

(Thank you to Little Tiger and Netgalley for my e-ARC)

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out some of the other stops on this blog tour?

Harriet talks about world – building here, does a Q+A here and talks about her top 3 female-led fantasy books here.

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While you’re here, why not check out my book reviews of Ban This Book, Flower Moon, The Circus or The Hazel Wood?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Circus – check. I’m right with you there. It looks sublime, and it is high on my TBR. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I might have a problem – in terms of just how many books I have about running away to the circus! I still need to read Flying Tips for Flightless Birds too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love Circus Books. Have you read Secret Heart by David Almond? Or Circus Mirandus or The Girl Who Walked On Air?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have read The Girl Who Walked on Air (loved it!) but not the other two yet – they’re now on the list to be ordered from the library!


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