Friday 11 October 2013

'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern

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Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. A black and white circus which appears with no warning, opens only at night, and where you can feast your eyes on many a wonder.

We meet Celia and Marco as children. Celia, the daughter of a famous magician, and Marco an orphan taken in by a mysterious man in a grey suit. Their lives are entwined from a young age when they are entered in to a mysterious, seemingly somewhat sinister challenge by their guardians. We see them grow in their very different, albeit both oppressive bordering on cruel, upbringings as they are trained for the challenge they know so little about. They meet years later at Le Cirque des Rêves, which will become the venue for their challenge. As they struggle to comprehend the rules of the challenge the reader realizes they are hurtling toward tragedy – made all the more devastating by the characters’ obliviousness to their future.

The circus itself attracts many followers, and the reader is drawn in to the lavish, magical world it holds. Although there are complications and danger within, I defy anyone to read this book without falling in love with it.

I’d heard only great things about this book and so my expectations were high. I wasn’t too sure to start with – it was good, but some of the dialogue felt a little awkward, and I didn’t feel completely immersed in the world. And then it got me, and I was gripped to the very end – navigating my way through a host of intriguing characters whose lives were intrinsically linked with the fate of the circus, mystery, revelation, magic, and descriptions that transported me to another world.

It felt like a long time since I’d found a book that completely drew me in, kept me up at night, and stayed with me after the last page. The Night Circus did all these things. It was with a sense of sadness that I, as the reader, was led out of the circus, but with characters so well drawn they are still vividly alive in my head.

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