The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Release: September 13, 2011
Hardcover: 387 Pages
My Copy: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
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..
The first thing you should know about The Night Circus is that the publisher description is a bit misleading. It makes it sound like Celia and Marco are dueling each other Harry Potter-style with their magic. But that isn’t really how it goes down. Celia and Marco are entered into “the Competition” by their guardians and are taught two different schools of magic. They know they are players in this competition, but they are not given much information about the rules. So a lot of the “dueling” part is very passive. The circus serves as the stage for the competition. Celia and Marco create and control parts of the circus trying to outdo one another. So really the competition is more a back and forth. One of them creates, the other responds. And so on and so forth for…many many years. I mention this because this passive competition could frustrate some readers who are expecting more action.
While nothing happens quickly and events take years to unfold, the book is not boring or even slow. Morgenstern writes vividly. The mood and atmosphere she sets is beautiful. The story has a dreamy quality, like you aren’t quite sure what is real and what isn’t. I also like that she gives you just enough to believe in the magic, but stays clear from bogging it down with explanation. The circus is the true main character and Morgenstern does an admirable job of bringing the circus to life. To paraphrase Shakespeare: All the circus is a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
Fans of “The Prestige” and “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” will probably enjoy this book. It truly is beautifully written and extremely enjoyable.