Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: July 3rd 2012
Ratings: 4 Stars
Synopsis: 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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
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I don’t know how to explain The Night Circus and any efforts would fail miserably if asked but that’s the brilliance of such a story. It was easy to jump into the pages and visit Le Cirque des Reves and watch the story unfold piece-by-piece, but my explanation of the story would not do it justice. I could say that it’s about a competition between two prodigies or a forbidden romance between the competitors or an abundance of other descriptions, but it’s much, much more than that.
My favorite part of The Night Circus is the writing. Erin Morgenstern is a talented writer and you would never know this was her debut novel by reading it. Her writing is fluid and beautiful, but never excessive or dull.
“Hesitantly he puts a hand out to touch the beads, which are smooth and cold and he finds that his arms slips through them easily, that they part like water or long grass. The beads clatter as the strands hit one another, and the sound that echoes in the dark space sounds like rain.” (pg 214)
The setting is more than a place in The Night Circus. Le Cirque des Reves is a character itself, probably bigger than Celia or Marco, and I loved everything about it. It’s like Hogwarts, but on steroids. With Morgenstern’s writing and the magical atmosphere, it feels like a dream and I’m a little disappointed that this kind of circus doesn’t actually exist.
“Every element of the circus blends together in a wonderful coalescence. Acts that have been training in separate countries on separate continents now perform in adjacent tents, each part melding seamlessly into a whole. Each costume, each gesture, each sign on each tent is more perfect than the last.” (pg 119)
And the game. The competition. It has a life of it’s own and I’m pleased with the way it ended. I can’t think of a better ending.
My only fault with the story has to do with the romance. It felt a little odd and slightly out-of-place. It has a hint of insta-love, but since this book doesn’t drown in romance and there’s so much more to it, I didn’t mind it too much.
My review probably doesn’t make much sense, but I still hope you read The Night Circus. There aren’t many books that can play with your sense and make you a part of magical world like this, so I suggest you don’t miss out on the experience.
Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with two very fluffy cats.