The Blurb: “Opens at Nightfall; Closes at Dawn.” The Le Cirque des Rêves is a circus unlike any other, just as this magical debut novel is equally unique. At the center of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love. Erin Morgenstern’s literary fantasy has already drawn raves for its captivating evocativeness: “A world of almost unbearable beauty…. A love story on a grand scale: it creates, it destroys, it ultimately transcends.” “A novel so magical that there is no escaping its spell… If you choose to read just one novel this year, this is it.”
My Thoughts: One of my favorite books of the year. Hands down, I could see this as a movie because it reminds me of The Fountain and The Time Traveler’s Wife all at once. There are so many elements of this book that reached me on a personal level that it’s hard to write a proper review when I can see myself in the characters, and I can equate part of my life to Marco and Celia’s Circus.
That being said, let’s get into the elements here. It’s a different kind of competition. Prospero the Enchanter and Alexander do not own a circus at all, but they have both been performers in their own right. Prospero chooses the stage, performing in London, Paris, etc. etc. Alexander is more lucrative. The book begins with Prospero’s daughter Celia being left for him, her mother dead. He meets with Alexander and pits the girl against an unknown opponent of Alexander’s choosing.
I sometimes thought it would get more dangerous, but it’s not that kind of book.
Alexander chooses Marco. Prospero and Alexander raise each of the children differently, to prove a point. The challenge itself is more of a debate, traditional study. v.s. talent, which is superior to the other. Alexander and Prospero choose their players and then they choose the venue. In this case it was the circus.
Celia and Marco are each told barely anything about the challenge, they don’t even know who the other is for a long long time. The book spans almost thirty years, one of my pet peevs in books, but it’s well marked out in the chapters. (Make sure to follow the timeline towards the end of the book as time jumps back and forth)
The lesson in the end is that neither school of thought is superior over the other as each can produce the same effects. Nor does it matter if a person uses their abilities in a quiet manner, or showcases them on the stage, people won’t believe in the magic no matter how it exists, if it’s just there or if they’re witnessing the one doing the magic.
That made me think of Criss Angel.
I might have guessed elements of the plot right off the bat, but was still surprised by the ending. I might have thought the timeline was confusing, but in a movie format that would be very clear.
I loved Poppet after of course Celia and Marco whom I thought were beautiful and sad.
My crit partner Natasha said she had a favorite scene she could read over and over again. I wonder if it was “Stormy Seas” or “Beautiful Pain” if you’re flipping through, those were my favorite scenes, as well as the ballroom scene, though I cannot recall the chapter number now.
Regardless, Erin Morgenstern creates and original piece of fiction built on philosophy, magic, enchantment, and the absurd. You will be mesmerized by it because it’ll make you reach deeper inside yourself.
And if it doesn’t do that, then enjoy Celia’s pretty dresses that change color and Marco’s changing facial features. Enjoy Poppet’s very red hair and the Ice Garden.
Also, I like the UK cover better than the US cover. It’s gorgeous isn’t it?