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Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Submitted by on November 15, 2011 – 8:30 am6 Comments

Book: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Release: September 2011
Reviewer: Steph/Eowyn
Source: Personal Library
Purchase: – Barnes & Noble

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.

Walk through a circus beneath the stars among black and white striped tents, visit the cloud maze and fly through the air on top of the clouds, explore the Ice Garden or take a ride on the Ferris wheel where the creatures seem to come alive. Stop in to see the illusionist perform feats that seem to defy logic, visit the mesmerizing bonfire and the clock changes throughout the evening. You never know when or where the circus will show up and it only opens at nightfall, you have walked into Le Cirque des Reves (Circus of dreams).

From the moment I began the first sentence of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern I was swept up in its tale and carried far away into this magical realm. Morgenstern creates a backdrop for her story that is so rich and so vivid I felt I was there sharing in chocolate frogs and popcorn, staring at the bonfire and meandering through each magical tent. I had to pause for a second when I stopped reading and it took me a moment more than once for to slip back into the reality that I was sitting in my own house and not visiting the circus. To say that the circus is a character in this book is only mildly doing justice to the phenomenal world that Morgenstern has created.

Even though the circus is a large part of this book the two main characters Celia and Marco also add some interesting moments to the book, we watch them as they grow up individually not aware who the other is. Two Magicians have pitted them together in this battle and both prescribe to drastically different methods of training and we are taken along for the ride. I enjoyed that we learn slowly what is going on as each contender learns of the pieces themselves. It adds to the mystery and intrigue of the novel and the suspense of how the game would end kept me reading long after I should have been asleep. Lets not forget the contortionist Tsukiko who has her own unusual mystique or Isobel the Tarot card reader but Herr Friedrick Thiessen the clock maker turned journalist that writes about the circus and creates a group of reveurs that follow the circus wherever it goes is a character that adds a cheerful break in the story.

The Night Circus has haunted me since I laid the book down. The Magician’s game, really stuck with me and at the ending I had an aha moment where an analogy came to mind and I would love to hear from all of you on who you felt Alexander, the man in the gray suit, is. My lingering thoughts though come from a few things Alexander says near the end and the words that gave me the most pause were these, “People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told to see”. I wonder what in my world I see the way I do because I have been told that it is so and to me that is a scary thought.

The Night Circus is a must read, the magic is subtle and doesn’t over power the book. The characters keep you longing to learn more about them and Celia and Marco will tug at your heart. The circus lures you into its magical realm one tent at a time. The only problem I have with this book is that Le Cirque des Reves isn’t real! I want to go so badly with my friends.

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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