Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genres: fantasy, magic, romance
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date: September 13th, 2011
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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
If you want a story of intrigue and wonder, and a fantastically built world, then the Night Circus is definitely a book you should read.
This book is fantastic. It worms its way into your brain and you find yourself thinking about it at odd moments sometime after you’ve finished. It’s a little slow to start with, it starts to get better after page 53, but don’t skip the beginning or you won’t understand the story. As you get further into the book you get further and further involved in the lives of the characters that make up the impressive ‘Le Cirque des Reves’. I was worried that the descriptions were going to become Tolkien-like and take up more of the pages than stricly necessary, but Ms. Morgenstern manages to avoid this. The descriptions, especially of the actual circus, help to bring parts of the story to life.
As is gleaned through the story, the circus is the stage for the main characters stories to play out, although it is an important part of the story itself – it is almost a character in it’s own right. I was never 100% sure whether the circus itself was malevolent or benevolent. But it is definitley a place that if it were real, I would want to go to. It’s a little spooky, but fills all its visitors with a sense of wonder and awe.
That said, if you are expecting a story about clowns, acrobats and strongmen, then I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. There are few things traditional about the Night Circus. If chapters that switch from future to past (although only by a few years) annoy you, then that may put you off this book, but don’t let it. The back-and-forthing wasn’t terribly confusing (and normally it’s something I really dislike.)
If you are after a change of pace and have a spare weekend, try this out and see. It’s probably not the sort of book I would ordinarily read, but the blurb was very intriguing and I am really glad I did read it, as it has to be one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.