Book Review: The Night Circus

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Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Origins: My Local Library
Summary: [from GoodReads]

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.

My Review: Somehow, those first few lines were just as mystical as “Once Upon a Time” They describe the circus perfectly, equal parts mystery and familiarity. And with that, they launch a story of pure wonderment.

This book is what I would call an experience book. It is less about the characters and their story and more about the circus itself. The book even mimics the circus. It jumps between different stories and between times until you’re turned around enough that time doesn’t exist. And nestled in between the bustling chapters of the story are short descriptions of the major tents, like oases of calm in the middle of the crowds. The descriptions are bright and vivid like the displays they’re giving life to. And every last detail makes you want more.

Because this book is so experience focused, I would love to attend an event in its honor, bringing some of the circus to life. Even just a black and white ball would be fun, but to truly do it justice one would need an entire theme park.

I feel like I haven’t properly described how wonderful this book is. But I wonder if anyone could do so, with something so big, and so different and new. Bottom line? Read the book. You won’t regret it!

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