Release Date: January 2011
Publisher: Random House | Anchor
Pages: 387 pages
Pages: 387 pages
Source & Format: Christmas gift; Hardcover
Sum It Up (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 Reves, 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 teh daring acrobats overhead.
By Its Cover: Perfect Introduction to the Book
I really love the cover of The Night Circus. I love that it's a black and white with touches of red, and you'll realize how perfect the colors are once you read the book. I also love that it's a graphic cover with a bold, striking image. The fact that the hand holds the miniature circus is fitting since the circus is controlled by magic and essentially exists in the hands of the dueling magicians. It's intriguing, just like the story inside.
Amen, Sister Friend: Secondary Characters Stole My Heart
I didn't feel an incredibly strong connection to either of the main characters - Celia and Marco. Although they made for interesting subjects, I was actually more interested in the secondary characters. I enjoyed reading about Celia and Marco, but I don't feel like you really got to know them. They became more a symbol than a two fully realized characters, but I don't really count that as a negative.
My favorite characters? The twins! Their connection, talents and adventures stole the show. Read and you'll see for yourself.
The dueling magicians were pretty annoying, although they made for an interesting read. The one thing I'm still a little hazy about it why exactly they are dueling. It was kind of explained, but I'm still not confident that I completely understood. Honestly? It kind of came across like a huge battle between their two egos... but maybe that was just my impression.
Literary Love: A Little Lacking in the Love Department
I'm not going to write much about this portion of the book, but I will state that this is one area where I felt that the book didn't live up to its blurb. I expected a sweeping, breathtaking and compelling romance. I don't think it really delivered in that regard. It certainly has a romantic and dramatic atmosphere and mood. But that doesn't mean the romance is actually swoonworthy. It created the feeling of swoon rather than really giving you a full, real and true love story. For once, it didn't bother me because there was so many other things to love about this book! So don't take this as a negative. It really wasn't for me. I loved it at the time, but thinking about it after I couldn't really pinpoint why they loved each other and how they fell in love, which is the only reason it didn't quite live up to the "love story" portion.
Word Nerd: Magical & Enchanting
One of the biggest strengths of this book is the writing. Is the plot interesting? Very much so! But it's the writing that takes what could have simply been an interesting book and makes it come alive. I am so glad that the words in a book about a magic circus are gorgeous, enchanting and their own form of magic. I was so caught up in the story itself that I don't think I took enough time to really savor the writing. This book would make the perfect re-read - I could tell that another read would show me even more to love about this delightful story.
The plot is dreamy and sort of sweeps you along. I have a feeling that there may have been a few loose ends, a few characters conveniently forgotten and such, but I didn't leave the book feeling like anything was missing. Fittingly, it's almost like you fall into a dream while reading this book. I didn't really feel critical of anything about it, and actually gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. I'd even go so far as to say it's been one of my favorite reads so far this year. But I have a feeling it had a weakness or two that I completely overlooked in my utter love for the language and imagery.
Extra, Extra: The Circus!
Who doesn't love the circus? I mean, seriously! Aside from the fact that clowns are usually involved and those can sometimes be creepy, I can't think of any reason not to celebrate the circus coming to town. The best part about this circus is its setup. Unlike a traditional circus that takes place underneath the single "Big Top," this circus involves numerous small tents and attractions as you are meandering through it. Needless to say, I'm dying to visit this circus! My favorite tent was probably the ice garden - it seemed like an icy wonderland.
"You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift."
Bottom Line: I Was Enchanted to Meet You
This is a book that's really about the writing. It's a sweeping story that builds slowly but leaves you entranced. And while I could see why it wouldn't be right for every reader, it definitely did the trick with me. I was sucked in to the world Morgenstern created, and I didn't want to come back to reality. This is a lovely gem, and I'm so very glad that I picked it up. This is a book I'd highly recommend - with the disclaimer that it doesn't necessarily deliver on all that the jacket promises so enter with no expectations and be enchanted.