Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publication Date: September 2011
Genre: Adult Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
“The circus arrives without warning…” These are the words that Jim Dale read to me on the audio version of The Night Circus, transporting me to a world of magic, danger and a lot of caramel.
The Night Circus is no simple circus. Oh, no. The Night Circus is a stage, a very public stage, where two competing wizards have molded their mentees to duel until the game is won. And what that means, only they can say.
Meet the characters of The Night Circus. There is Celia, daughter of Prospero the Magician, a natural born talent whose magical abilities seem to be the only thing her selfish father is interested in her for. Meet Marco, a studios orphan who is adopted and taught the ways of magic, gently manipulating the world of the circus to challenge and meet Celia’s abilities.
Meet the Man in the Grey Suit, Prospero’s opponent and a mastermind behind the challenge.
Meet the twins Poppet and Widget, who are the only ones in the mysterious circus who seem to grow any older.
There are many, many other beautifully crafted and complex characters who float in and out of the circus. I loved them all.
The timeline takes a bit of time to get used to. You jump back and forth, from the beginning of the challenge to the point in time when everything changes. You don’t know what has happened to make this change, you don’t know what will happen to the circus. But you are propelled forward anyway, hanging on, trying to pick up clues to what will happen because magic is there after all. Anything can happen.
The Night Circus is one of those books with so much beautiful description, you can float in and out of the scenes easily, even when nothing truly important is going on. It is dense, and while I agree the over use of description can be distracting and tiresome, it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the shadows and smells of caramel and sugar just like I was there. It does seem a bit longer than it had to be, and at certain times during the story was a bit slow. But I was so enthralled in the writing and setting, I did not mind.
I enjoyed Celia and Marco and their journey together. (I love Jim Dale, but his Marco sounded a bit whiny for me and I don’t think Marco is supposed to be whiny.) I loved Celia’s relationship to her father and his relationship to the Man in the Grey Suit. Most of all, I loved the magic. The whimsical magic created by Celia and Marco in this contest is breathtaking. I would love to wander into any of their tents, and I won’t give anything away when I saw the Wishing Tree or the Snow/Ice Garden are my favorites.
All the gears turning, the story unfolds delicately like a flower, and if you’re patient, you will enjoy it. It is not a fast, furious fight. It is not an overpowering love story.
It is a tale of magic, that starts slow and sucks you in and before you know it, you’re totally invested in this world, these characters and what happens to them and to the circus.
“The circus arrives without warning…”