Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus
Length: 390 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Started: 27 August 2011
Finished: 01 September 2011
Where did it come from? From the publishers for review.
Why do I have it? The combination of the gorgeous cover, a blurb from Audrey Niffenegger, and the echoes of The Prestige in the summary.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 28 June 2011.
Running away to
join the circus suddenly
sounds more appealing.
Summary: Le Cirque des Rêves arrives suddenly in town, its wrought-iron gates opening only at nightfall. Inside its multitude of black-and-white striped tents, visitors will find all manner of fantastical exhibitions that defy belief and spark imagination. But what the casual visitor will never realize is that the circus is actually the center of a vast magician’s duel. Years ago, two master magicians made a wager, and pitted their protégées against each other in an arcane game whose rules remain obscure, even to its participants. Within the realm of the circus, Celia and Marco spur each other on to even greater feats of magical accomplishment, but their growing attraction to each other threatens to change the course of the game… with unknowable consequences for everyone whose lives have become linked to the circus.
Review: There are books that are so absorbing that as soon as they end, I want to immediately start over at the beginning, just so I don’t have to leave the world they’ve spun around me. That was absolutely the case with The Night Circus; the world that Morgenstern builds is so vivid that you can smell the caramel and popcorn in the air, and so immediately appealing that I would happily spend my life wandering the circus, visiting tent after tent, lost in its secrets. Le Cirque des Rêves is an incredibly imaginative and superbly realized setting for a novel; it’s the circus you always wanted the circus to be.
Luckily, the story is almost as compelling as the setting – although, in many ways, because of the link between the magicians’ game and the circus, the setting is the story. The plot is never straightforward, but winding and looping through time, with diversions and side stories that of course turn out not to be unrelated at all. The plot’s admittedly a slow build, with Marco and Celia not even realizing their feelings for each other until at least half way through, and then the back half of the book happens all in a rush… but the story is so enchanting that whenever one part of the plot slowed down, there was always something else to catch my interest. I actually wound up more involved in the story of Bailey (a visitor to the circus) and Poppet (one of the lion tamers’ twins, born on the night that the circus opened) than I was in Celia and Marco’s story, but by the end, everything was woven together so seamlessly that they barely count as separate storylines.
The words “dreamlike” and “magical” and “enchanting” get thrown around a lot, but I cannot think of any better descriptors for this book. I’m docking it half a point for some uneven pacing, but on the whole it held me completely captivated; it’s one of those phenomenal books that makes me so glad I’m a reader. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Ooooh, highly recommended for just about everybody. Even if you think fantasy is not your thing, give The Night Circus the chance to sweep you away and change your mind.
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First Line: The circus arrives with warning.
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