“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 Rêves, 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 the daring acrobats overhead.” (Good Reads)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is unlike anything I have read. The world it creates is surreal and a bit voyeuristic. The present-tense narration juxtaposed by the short descriptive sections that describe how you, the reader, would experience the circus make it stand out, and emphasize how focused Morgenstern is on making the circus tangible. This is a book I would like to read again, so I can linger and enjoy more of the visuals that Morgenstern so masterfully paints.
Originality: 10. This is fantastical and fantastically unique. The possibilities are endless since each tent is a world unto itself. My favorite is the tent that is really a forest made out of paper, wherein the paper is sheets of love poems.
Absurdity. 8. But the circus is supposed to be surreal, so this is a sign, I think, that the book did what Morgenstern set out to do. I suspended belief and dove right in.
Level of Paranormal Romance: Dueling magicians falling in love? And then using the circus tents they build to express their love? SURE THING.
“Do you remember all of your audiences?" Marco asks. "Not all of them," Celia says. "But I remember the people who look at me the way you do.""What way might that be?""As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me."" I am not afraid of you," Marco says.”
Level of Harry Potterness: 8. This writing! Wow! It is rich and enchanting (as fitting a book about magic). One thing my mom pointed out (my mom lets me foist books I like on her all the time. Moms are great) is that you don’t really ever connect to the characters. The main show (circus pun!?) is about the tents themselves and the visual spectacle. I was fine with this, but it might not be for everyone. I still give this an 8 because I love Morgenstern's atmospheric writing- see the posts on her blog, Flax-Golden Tales. MY FAVORITE AFTER THE BREAK.
I moved my chair so I can see the lamppost through the window.
I know I would probably be able to see the light from anywhere in the room if the lamp were lit, but I like having a direct view. It makes me feel more secure, somehow, to be able to glance up from a book and see it, stalwart. Still dark.
It’s really quite clever, a lamp that only lights when you’re near.
Now I can’t stop checking it, even though it’s been dark for so long.
If it turns on again, I don’t want to miss it.
In case someday, somehow, you come back.
I’ll have a warning.
I just hope it will give me enough time to run.