Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review: 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 Reves," 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 per-formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

To say that this book changed me would be an understatement. After closing the book on the last page, I was positively furious that Le Cirque des Reves was not real. I want to go there. Can I live there? Please? Needless to say that I had a book hangover from The Night Circus for weeks. 

This book has everything I love: Non-linear story telling, romance, magic, intrigue, and a circus! Not to mention that the writing is exquisite. It's the kind of writing where you want to pour all the words into a bathtub just so you have the chance to roll around in them. Even though I read this book several months ago now, I feel it was yesterday. 

The book didn't necessarily end the way I wanted it to, but that doesn't mean that the ending didn't make sense, or that I still didn't love it. In fact, the ending has grown on me the longer I sit with the story in my brain. Overall I love that the ending braided together many threads--some of which seemed like they were out of nowhere--and made a complete tapestry where nothing was left dangling.

I could easily live in Le Cirque des Reves. I want to explore the ice garden, the cloud maze, the magic bottle room, and watch Celia perform her illusions. I want to drink hot chocolate and eat candy and watch for the black and white flags to appear on the horizon. Why, oh why can't this place be real?

So far, The Night Circus is Erin Morgenstern's only book. There's nothing I can find about a release date for a new book, but if and when that day comes, you can be sure that I will be one of the first in line. 

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