Book Review: The Night Circus

Title/Author:  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Genre:  Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Magical Realism

Published:  September 2011 by Night Circus, LLC (DoubleDay).

Hardcover, 387 pages.

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library.

Why I Picked It Up?:  It has been on my radar ever since it came out.  And since one of my book groups is reading it this month, I decided it was a good time to read it too!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “The circus arrives without warning.  No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards.  It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-an-white-striped tents awaits an utterly unique experience, a geast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Reves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters.  Unbeknownst to the players, 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.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop.  The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition by as a wonderful collaboration.  With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love.  A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.”

My Review of the Work:

If you are looking to journey to a  mystical and magical world with beautiful and lyrical directions, then you need to please procure yourself a copy of this novel, pronto.  I promise you, this novel is worth reading.

Looking at The Night Circus’ story-line, it is slow-developing.  But I do NOT mean this in its usual negative connotation.  Rather, I mean it slowly develops this magical world of “The Circus of Dreams” to intricately describe every minute detail with a deliberate delicacy, causing this novel to just envelop the reader into the majesty and mystery that this novel contains.  As I read this novel, I can honestly say I did not have a single question or concern for what was going on [at present] in the story (that is not taking into account the obvious mysterious plot-developments that any novel would have).  Yet this storyline is not in any way, shape, or form predictable outside of what the book jacket tells you.  Now, how Erin Morgenstern can do all of this in her first novel is beyond me!  But she is a BRILLIANT story-teller.

The novel itself is composed of two parallel stories.  The first story is about the development of the game, and subsequently the creation and story of the circus itself, all from the conspirators and the “insider” views and experiences from within the black and white.  The second story is one that occurs in more present time with a boy named Bailey and his experiences with the circus, from the outsider point of view.  These two stories interweave each other, adding to the mystery quality, not knowing how the two stories will intertwine.

The characters in this novel are intriguing, interesting, and very well-developed.  Each and every character has a mysterious quality and fits into the story in a very perfect way.  I really loved getting to know more about each and every character–there was not one character that I did not love, which is quite unusual for me.  Every character plays a role in the development of the circus, and you learn more as you read.

I just really cannot convey how absolutely lovely and fantastic this novel truly is.  If you do believe me, then go out and get it!  And if you don’t believe me, go out and get it and prove me wrong.  I dare you.  =P

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Top Shelf Book!

There really are no words to describe this book and this story other than absolutely BRILLIANT story-telling.  An intricate and beautiful story, told with mystery and intrigue.  A must read for fans of the fantastical and the mysterious and the romantic.

Go get this book and enter the Circus of Dreams.

Love and all things black and white,
Jennifer

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