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-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast 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 Rêves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–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 lvies 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 but 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.
Song For This Book: A Prayer For The Soul of Layla by Jamshied Sharifi
To be honest, I went into this book figuring that it was probably over-hyped in the online book community. Based on what I’ve heard, I thought it would probably be good, but not the fantastic thing that everyone said it was.
I was wrong. This book was absolutely fantastic. Possibly one of the best I’ve read. I’ll apologize in advance, because this review will likely just be me talking about everything I loved about this book.
This book promises a lot. The summary is long and hints towards quite a few things that happen throughout the story. Much to my surprise, this wasn’t even half of the points that make up this book. There are so many stories and characters and places, and they all revolve around this circus that appears at random and operates only when night has fallen. It should have made this a very dense, difficult read, and it really wasn’t. I read this book in a matter of hours, despite the 500 pages.
The Good Points of The Night Circus:
The characters! This book wouldn’t work if all of the characters weren’t fully developed and put together in such a way that drives the story forward. You fall in love with them, get frustrated with them, want to smack them, and so on throughout the whole story. They actually feel real enough that you think you could do those things.
The visuals and atmosphere is absolutely incredible. The descriptions (something I tend to skip in other books) were gorgeous, and the feeling of excitement and wonder that the author creates made me long to go to this circus. This is, in part, aided by short sections that are dispersed throughout the book, written in second person, that describes your journey through the event and the different things you see. That, plus all the other elements and settings described throughout make for what seems like more of an experience than a read.
The writing for this book is good – but you barely notice it. It may take a chapter or two to adjust to the present tense writing, if only because it’s not the most common thing, but you won’t think much of it after that. It’s written in such a way that you don’t get hung up on how things are worded, or grammar, or anything else of the sort. You just get lost in the story.
The Downsides of The Night Circus:
I did find it a little slow to start. It picks up pretty quickly, but I found it did drag a little until the idea for the circus really gets going.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, touching romance, you may be a little disappointed. The romance is incredibly important to the story, but it’s not what the entire book is about. The story focuses on the circus as a whole, so you get a lot of other stuff too. I thought it was great, but I’m not a huge romantic, so maybe you will have more of an issue with this.
All in all, a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of mystery, romance, and sugary confections.
The song I chose for this one is a bit different that what I would typically choose for a book like this. But when I finished reading it, that was what was playing in my head. It just seemed to fit with the ending, I suppose.
Have you read The Night Circus? Leave your thoughts in the comment box! I’d love to hear them.