Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Date: September 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
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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.
When I first read Harry Potter, I wanted to go to Hogwarts. I wanted to see all the wonderful things described in those books. I wanted to visit Hogsmede and Diagon Alley and the Quiddich World Cup. Such was the way that the story was written. When reading The Night Circus I felt exactly the same. I wanted to go to the Night Circus. I wanted to experience everything there was to offer there. From the illusionist to the ice garden, to the bonfire, the statues, the animals, the wonderful desserts and many many more extraordinary things. This for me is what made this book truly magnificent. The detail, and the way in which this detail is brought to life through beautiful and imaginative descriptions.
The story itself is one that cannot be compared to anything else I have ever read. It is completely unique. And it is written in the most unusual of ways. It follows the story of Celia and Marco. Both of whom have been brought up by powerful magicians to take part in a game of magic and illusion that will bring about the existence of The Night Circus. We see how they have both been taught in different ways to use magic and how, through their magic, The Night Circus is brought to life and everyone involved in it is enhanced in their abilities, thus making The Night Circus more spectacular than any other circus. The question however is, when and how will the game end? Neither Marcus nor Celia seems to know the precise rules of the game, yet they are magically bound to compete against each other over the decades travelling around the world with the ever more popular Night Circus.
Another story that we follow is that of Bailey. Bailey’s story is a curious one which follows his path of discovering the circus at the age of 9 and his subsequent visit to the circus several years later. This storyline is set around 10 or so years in the future to that of the main story. And each time we return to Bailey, the time gap between the two stories has closed slightly until they come together at the end.
I loved this story. I was completely blown away by it. It is not a book that I think you can rush through and read into the early hours. But rather, one that needs to be savoured. I enjoyed reading at a leisurely pace and having time to take in every aspect of the story. As I mentioned, I loved all the intricate and beautiful descriptions we were given of the The Night Circus. It made me feel like I was there experiencing the whole thing for myself. And I enjoyed how I was kept guessing all the way to the end as to what was going to be the outcome of the ‘game’. When I closed this book I had a massive smile on my face and I could think of nothing else all night. I recommend this to all. I think anyone who loves to read will appreciate this beautifully written, magical story. This is certainly a book that I know I will read again!