The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
There are so few books that offer you a completely new world within their covers. This is one of the rare ones. I waited quite awhile to read it. There was so much hype surrounding its release and though it sounded like one I would enjoy, I knew my expectations would be too high. I’m so glad I waited and gave myself time to just enjoy it.
The story revolves around a traveling circus, Le Cirque des Reves, and Celia and Marco, two talented magicians pitted against one another in an unavoidable challenge.
We first meet Celia when she is only 6-years-old and she’s delivered into the care of her father, Hector. It’s 1873 and he is an enchanter who performs under the well-know stage name, Prospero. Hector’s acquaintance Alexander meets Celia and the two men decide to once again engage in a long-standing game, the details of which are vague to the reader at first. Alexander brings a 9-year-old orphaned boy named Marco into the mix and we slowly watch as the pieces are put into motion.
Morgenstern gives the reader plenty of time to get to know her main characters before expanding the scene. She grows the cast slowly instead of overwhelming the reader. We’re introduced to Chandresh, who holds infamous midnight dinners for elite groups, and his entourage of eccentrics. Then there are the red-headed twins, Poppet and Widget, born at the circus on opening night and the mysterious contortionist, Tsukiko.
I love that the author gave us the opportunity to view the circus from both the inside, from the perspective of the performers and creators, and the outside through the characters of Herr Thiessen and Bailey. It provides a complete picture of the enchanting world.
The book is absolutely enchanting. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I started wearing my own crimson scarf with my coat each day without even thinking about it, subconsciously wanting another tie to the book when I wasn’t reading it. The whole thing was so beautiful I clutched the book to my chest when I finished it, unable to stop thinking about the story.
BOTTOM LINE: You can count me in as an official Rêveurs. If the circus was real I’d be there in a heartbeat. The story was enthralling, the setting incredible and I know I’ll be returning to this one again in the future!
“Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”
“The finest pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”
“I relay it through printed words on crumpled newsprint, words that they can read again and again, returning to the circus whenever they wish, regardless of time of day or physical location. Transporting them at will.”
“You believe you could not live with the pain. Such pain is not lived with. It is only endured.”
Image from here.