Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern
published: Anchor Books, 2012
pages: 512

Stars: 4/5

Le Cirque des Reves appears without warning and the magic begins.  Patrons come from all over to experience this unique and mysterious circus.  Little do they know, there is so much more at work behind the scenes.  Two young magicians have been raised to compete in a battle of skill and endurance, without knowledge of their opponent or the rules of the game.  The circus is their playground and before they know it the competition becomes more involved than they ever expected.  It is up to them to figure out how to end the game and who will win the title of champion.

The prose in this book alone is beautiful enough to keep reading Morgenstern's writing for the rest of my life.  It is elegant and enchanting, describing areas of the circus that I wish I could see in person.  The writing is poetic and poignant to the point that I would have been content with no plot connected to it.

However, the plot attached was equally beautiful and mysterious as the writing. The set up and the storytelling draws you in and immerses you in the world of the circus from inside the walls and from the outside visitor perspectives.  The jumps in time add to the ambiance of the story, allowing the more important details to be revealed in a different manner than they are actually played out.  It is as if the reader shares a gift and is able to read the story of the circus in whichever order we like.

I will say that there were a couple things left unexplained or under-explained.  I wish we knew more about "the challenge" that centered the main point of the story.  We get bits and pieces of it, but it is never really explained beyond the idea that it is more than what the characters thought it. And while the time jumps are a great addition to the novel, if you're not careful you'll lose track of what happens when and what stage the characters are at in their lives.  I had to pay close attention to that.

I really enjoyed diving into the beautiful circus world of Celia and Marco.  You can bet that I will be rereading this book in the future.


"Get ready to be won over.... Part love story, part fable, and a knockout debut.... So sparklingly alive, you'll swear the pages are breathing in your hands... The Night Circus defies both genres and expectations."
     --The Boston Globe

"[A] few [ages in...and you know you are in the presence of an extraordinary storyteller."
     --The Daily Beast

"Morgenstern's exquisitely realized world will have [you] wishing to run off and join the circus."
     --USA Today

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