The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.
As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.
But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.
Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.
I devoured this book. Finished it in less than two days, while doing other things aside from reading. Everything worked in it: the setting, the characters, the plot, just every. Single. Thing.
The Night circus follows the competition between two young magicians, Marco and Celia, and the circus that has been created as a venue for it. They both have been raised specifically for this competition, that we later find out can last a lifetime and can have dire consequences for one of them.
The writing is beautiful. Elegant, well paced, period appropriate, perfect. I was instantly transported to the world of Le Cirque des Reves and I immediately accepted the laws that governed its world.
“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”
The story shifts focus from time to time, but it’s not difficult to follow these transitions, especially once you realize that everything eventually comes together. I especially enjoyed the brief chapters written in the second person, talking to the reader, because they increased the feeling of being there, the feeling of the circus being a living thing that we, the readers, get to experience.
There was great character building. Even though the story clearly revolves and is constructed around Marco and Celia, every single character that is part of the story and of the circus becomes important to the reader. You realize just how close together they are all knit and that the actions of one affect all of them. So in the end, you’re rooting for everyone. I like to think of the circus itself as a character, because it is. By the end of the book, I thought of it as a living, breathing being.
I loved this book. I loved the originality of the story, the writing, the characters, the conclusion. Everything. I highly recommend it. Pick it up and get lost in the world of Le Cirque des Reves. You will not regret it.
“The most difficult thing to read is time. Maybe because it changes so many things.”
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