Summary from Goodreads :
‘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.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.’
There has being a lot of hype surrounding The Night Circus and although many hyped books don’t lived up to that hype, for me The Night Circus did. This is marmite book. You are either going to love it or hate it. I think those that like beautifully written prose, mystery and don’t mind a slow burner will love it, but if you like action packed, fast paced novels that this is probably not for you.
Morgenstern’s writing style is absolutely beautiful. Her descriptions of the circus tents is breathtakingly detailed, as is the magic that both Celia and Marco perform. We float between different times, sometimes focusing on Marco and Celia, sometimes on Bailey, a small boy who lives an unfufilled life on a apple farm, sometimes on different members of the circus. This adds to the dreamlike quality that the Night Circus has.
The characters are equally magical. Celia is trained by her cruel father, Prospero to control her natural magical abilities. Marco is plucked from a school by a man in a grey suit and is taught to study his craft. Poppet and Widget were by far my favourite characters. Borning on opening night, Widget can see the past, and his sister can see the future. For me, the characters are compelling and I wanted to find out what happened to them.
The plot, however is what makes this book a marmite book. Because of the drawn out events (the challenge between Marco and Celia takes years to come to fruition) the plot seems less dramatic and the twists are less shocking. I think the main criticism I’ve heard about The Night Circus is that nothing really happens, and this is accurate. The challenge between Celia and Marco is never nail biting, as a reader I was never really in doubt of the ending. I was never worried that the circus would fail, and I never felt that sense of ‘whats going to happen next?’. I can look over all this though, because I absolutely loved the prose, characters and the other aspects of the plot. However my main problem with the book was the ending. I knew it was coming, but when I read it I couldn’t help feeling a sense of disappointment. All the loose ends where tied up neatly but it seemed too neat. Too perfect. The grey suited man, Mr A. H was never explained or identified and it was all too happily ever after.
That being said I really did enjoy reading it. I was lost in a magical, circus filled world for a few days and I will probably re-read it and I definitely look forward to Erin Morgenstern’s other work. I recommend this book for fantasy and magic fans, although it may not be suitable for younger readers as it does have some slight sexual content.
Laura 🙂 xx