Monday, 7 November 2011

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus - Book Review

book cover of 

The Night Circus 

by

Erin Morgenstern

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.                                                 

When I started to read this book it was so intriguing that I had to turn the pages slowly in order to take it all in. As a result, the book took me over a week to read which is definitely not normal for me ....... to say the very least. 


This book was actually quite slow to start. However, I soon realised that this pace actually suited the story as it does seem to run at its own tempo. This could be an issue if you tried to rush the narrative by reading it in one sitting. Although, as this book is told in short chapters (giving little tastes of the Circus and its atmosphere) this soon enchants and entices you into the magical world that the author has created. Nevertheless, I did feel that some additional grounding was required in order to establish the time period in which it was set, as this was not always obvious.

I was totally hooked by the story, the characters and the setting alike. The more that I read, the more enchanting and dream-like the atmosphere became. I found myself wandering through the magical and mystical tents like the "Reveurs" in the book - a group of ardent circus followers who live and breath "The Night Circus". It's such a fantastical place to find yourself that it attacks your senses on every level and is a true testament to the author.  


The book felt very original, fresh and full of imagination. The slow romanticism within the book did not bother me, as it crept up on me rather than being too full in the face. 


The mix bag of characters are either vaguely written or have a leading role which actually helps to bring them all together. Especially as the main characters are not always the ones that you always follow through the story. Instead, the circus is the main character for me - giving all of the other characters life and meaning which made it the star of the show.


From the very start I never knew where this story was going to take me - it left me guessing most of the time. Unfortunately, the ending did not live up to the fairytale start, but it has made for an exciting new beginning to a future story. 


This is a great older read that will leave a lasting impression until the next adventure is published. Whilst it is a super read; the hype surrounding this book did suggest more.


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