Sunday, 30 September 2012
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
My friend got given this book as a present and after reading it and loving it, gave the book to me after I must admit - it sounded pretty interesting.
However, once she gave me the book, it sat on top of my bookcase for months. And I'm serious about months.
The other day, it got too long. I needed to either give it back or just read it and hope for the best.
I opened this book, not expecting much. But I was pleasantly surprised!
What interested me about this was the whole circus thing. It made the circus sound beautiful and lovely, which most of the time - it is not. I hate the circus when it comes to town, I've never gone. And that's probably why I didn't want to read this book.
But this book offered an alternative perspective. A romantic perspective that made the circus an all together magical, astonishing and secretive place that really opened my eyes.
Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black and white striped tents appear and give you breathtaking, enchanting experiences, that seem almost unreal. This is 'Le Cirque des Reves' - the Circus of Dreams. A sign hangs outside of main gated entrance - Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn.
However, behind the glittering and magical façade of the circus, there is a dangerous competition - a duel between two young magicians Celia and Marco set up by their guardians. Both have been trained from childhood to win. The circus holds the stage for this battle of imagination and skill. Soon, the pair fall in love. A kind of love that makes the candles flicker or the room grow warm whenever they are together. With such a dangerous and powerful link between the two of them, the fates of everyone, their friends and fellow circus performers, lay in their hands. The game must play out. Only one can win.
Like I said, this book wasn't a planned read for me. At all. I hate the circus and there are so many other books I wanted to read. Yet, somehow I felt bad giving this back to my friend unread - and I'm the one that's a book blogger.
Essentially, this novel is evolved around this circus, where you're never quite sure if the performances are real or staged. Oh and everything is either black, white or grey. The novel follows the creation of the circus and also the running of it, all experiences from a variety of different characters. From early on, it is clear that Marco and Celia are competing in a game against one another - basically to show who is the best magician formed between Celia's father and Marco's mysterious guardian.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Immensely in fact. Erin Morgenstern writes with preciseness and intricate detail that lets your imagination go wild, I could certainly picture the Circus by the end. Her own imagination has made something extraordinary and totally original. The different tents holding enchanting and interesting things, the Midnight Dinners (so want to go to one!), the characters. The imaginative descriptions make this book for me.
There are a whole cast of characters, and that's just the main ones. I can see that some people may get confused with that amount of characters, but I liked the variation. Sometimes it's refreshing to have the narrative based on more than two characters. Marco and Celia are the main two characters - but they're not the only ones that you remember fondly when closing the book.
The romance is also done perfectly. There are moments between Marco and Celia that leave you excited - I felt like I was with them, sharing that moment. The fact, as a reader, you know that they are against each other, there are heartbreaking moments and in a way, it makes their love and the romance within the book more and more real. Especially when you're debating whether the magic they are doing is real at the same time.
I'm not sure I can convey how much I loved this book, hence the rather short review. I don't review adult books that often but I felt this book needs to be highlighted much more than it is.
This is simply magical (no pun intended) written in a beautiful, vivid way that left me wanted so much more. Although I think many may have some trouble getting into the story, the pace is slow, I think any reader would be rewarded when they get to the thick of the narrative. The details, up to the costume, made the book so easy to imagine, the characters becoming personal to you and the circus becoming a place of dreams, magic and romance. The ending was perfect, utterly perfect.
This was just amazing. One of the best books I have ever had the pleasure to read. And completely changed my view of the circus. Just amazing.
I give it a 5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://erinmorgenstern.com/
Challenges: Historical Fiction (set in the late 1800's/early 1900's)