Rarely do I judge a book by its cover however in this case, the whimsical cover matched the delightful content.
‘The Night Circus’ is a historical tale set in the late 19th century and revolves around Celia, an illusionist with natural magical talent inherited from her father, and Marco, an orphaned boy who studied the illusionary arts in depth. They are players in a mysterious duel set up by two wizards, Celia’s father and Marco’s instructor, to see whether natural magical talent triumphs over studied magical skills. The night circus, Le Cirque des Reves (the Circus of Dreams), sets the stage for Celia and Marco to play by manipulating the world around them to form whimsical creations such as an ice cloud or wishing tree. Details of the challenge are not very clear however it is soon revealed that the prize is to live. It isn’t long before the two players fall in love adding complications, passion and fire to the story. Alongside these protagonists are multiple characters that are in the circus (performers) or watch the circus (reveurs who are die-hard fans), each with a unique story and important role in the tale.
The novel jumps between time periods with each small chapter set in a different city and time. Although this was necessary to tell the tale, it was sometimes a tad confusing. I also felt that there wasn’t enough description about the amazing cities (New York, London, Paris, Montreal to name a few) that the circus travelled to. Morgenstern is a talented writer so I would have loved to read some vivid descriptions of the cities in the late 19th century. However I understand that it may have detracted the reader’s focus on the main story around the circus.
I enjoyed this novel because it was the perfect concoction of good writing; an epic love story and beautiful descriptions with a fast moving plot that kept me engaged from start to finish. Morgenstern painted such a vivid picture that I could virtually see, hear and smell the circus and characters.
‘The Night Circus’ is the perfect novel for a bookish girly girl like me! Read it now!
PS Did you know that Erin Morgenstern’s book was rejected by 30 literary agents before finally being published by Doubleday and will now be turned into a film? So it pays to perservere! She also writes a cool blog http://erinmorgenstern.com/blog