This is a bit of a rare one. This book had me at the blurb and captured my imagination from the very first sentences.
The circus arrives without warning.
It is simply there when yesterday it was not.
To be honest I wouldn’t usually choose this type of book. I’m not a fan of fantasy; those kinds of novels never generally hold my interest. Harry Potter is as fantasy as I get. But everything about this book drew me in from the monochrome cover to the black edged pages to the magic that I just knew was contained within.
Let me tell you about the Night Circus.
Out of nowhere it appears. No advertisements or announcements preceded it. Almost, as if by magic, it is there. This mysterious circus, eerily silent by day brings the night alive when darkness falls with flickering lights and the smells of cinnamon and caramel. In the blink of an eye it arrived, and just as quick it will be gone. You’d be a fool to miss it. Just as well your curiosity gets the better of you.
Le Cirque des Rêves, the Circus of Dreams it may be, but this is a spectacle best viewed with eyes wide open. Fortune tellers, contortionists and acrobats, this monochrome wonderland has it all. But as you walk its circular paths you may discover an ice garden or come upon the opportunity to make a wish on the wishing tree. As you’ve probably realised, this is no ordinary circus.
Within its confines a war is being raged. A battle being fought. A game being played. Unwitting, and at first unwilling, the two opponents, an enchanters daughter and a sorcerers apprentice are pitted against each other in this spellbinding arena.
While the rêveurs (the dreamers), enthusiasts of the circus marvel at its magic, Celia and Marco at the behest of their masters must compete, filling the striped tents by pushing the very boundaries of magic and imagination. Each trying to out do the other. The game will only be won when one of them kills the other. Until then they have no choice but to play. But what to do when the two competitors fall in love? And what are the consequences for the Night Circus?
I’ve written a lot of book reviews and very rarely do I struggle in the writing of them. But when it came to adequately describing this debut novel I have to admit to being stumped. How do you put all your wildest dreams and the limits of your imagination into words? Erin Morgenstern has certainly managed it.
This story is truly enchanting. It houses an eclectic cast of characters, non more intriguing than the black and white circus itself. It seems Morgenstern’s imagination knows no bounds. Her description makes the reader feel like they are actually there, at the circus, caught up in the middle of its magic. Which of course you are.
The fragmented timeline of the story keeps you on your toes, but don’t worry, it all comes together in the end.
The film rights to this book were snapped up before publication and I have to say I’m not at all surprised.
I suppose I’m a rêveur myself, because I will return to this book again and again for the opportunity of catching the Night Circus, where dreaming leads to seeing and seeing is believing.
Bookworm Business Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think? Which tent is your favourite? Those who haven’t read it do you think you’ll give it a try? As always comment in the box, write on the Facebook wall or tweet me @JemmFrances.