Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

“I have a responsibility,” Bailey says, repeating the word he has begun to hate.

His grandmother makes a noise that may be a laugh or a cough or a combination of the two.

“Follow your dreams Baily,” she says. “Be they Harvard or something else entirely. No matter what that father of yours says, or how loudly he might say it. He forgets that he was someone’s dream once, himself.”

The circus arrives without warning. One can only assume when it might appear, one might only dream about it without ever seeing it, but those who do enter never want to leave again.

Its black-and-white striped tents contain a peculiar kind of magic, one that is never seen before. A tattooed contortionist who folds herself in the tiniest boxes. A fortune-teller veiled in black who makes your future brighter to see. All can be found in Le Cirque des Rêves.

Behind the curtains two individuals are bound to each other by an inescapable competition which begins at their childhood, but the ending is unknown. Celia and Marco are their names. Both are active in the circus, each in their own way, unaware of what the true competition is. Together with the contortionist, fortune-teller, owner of the circus, and the red-headed twins, they are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

 

The Night Circus is one of those books that contains a particular kind of magic, one that isn’t appreciated by everyone, but those who love it are taken away by the magic forever. I am forever under its spell. It is told as a fairy tale and it truly is one. The circus is beautifully build, with stunning tents that contain fantastical secrets. This is more than a love story. This story is the true magic a circus can contain. Something I fantasize about when I think of a circus, but this book takes it even further.

The book follows those who create the circus and its owner. Apart from that we follow the main characters Celia and Marco, who are in a competition and the circus is their playground. Throughout the book secrets are uncovered about the competition but until the end the true meaning of it stays secret. The competition gets harder when Celia and Marco fall in love with each other.

I confess, I don’t fully understand the point, even after all this time.”
“Nor do I. I suspect calling it a challenge or a game is not entirely accurate. I’ve come to think of it more as a dual exhibition.”

We go back and forth between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. These time jumps get confusing after a while. You really need to put attention while reading otherwise you might lose pieces of the story. That’s the reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars. Only the last 50 pages are in chronological order and only then you learn all the secrets. Of course, some stay hidden. Aside from the competition there is Bailey whose role stays a mystery until the end. The fun thing about Bailey is that he is exactly the boy we all would be when a mysterious circus suddenly shows up in our hometown. His life becomes entwined with that of the red-headed twins who let him discover the circus in a way not everyone can or will.

“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”

I could talk hours about this book, because so much happens in it and all that happens is, in its own way, magical. The fun thing about it is that I learned a lot of new words. Probably because the writer uses some none daily used words, which is always fun. The Night Circus will, for sure, be a reread book.

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

Now I will be waiting until the circus arrives.

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