Publisher: Anchor Books
Source: Borrowed from Paige
Age Group: YA
Date Published: September 13, 2011
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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
You know that after-book daze that sets in after reading something particularly life changing? I am currently in that state upon finishing The Night Circus. I want to do nothing but think about the book and write this review. My sister came into my room a few moments ago and I had a hard time formulating words. I knew before I picked it up that I would love The Night Circus, but I had no clue how much. There's something like magic in the words. As I read, I got to know the characters so well that I fancied myself friends with them. The Night Circus isn't a laughing book. It has its moments of wit, but they are brief. The book is somewhat stoic, in that the words don't really convey specific emotions. Morgenstern lets you, the reader, go through the plot and events of the story as though you are there. Nothing really sways you in your feelings, the imagery is so vivid that it pulls you in and you live through this circus of dreams.
I will admit that the real plot of the novel took ages to begin. However, in those 200 or so pages before everything really began happening, I got to know the characters. I didn't realize I was getting to know the characters, but, all of a sudden, I found myself rooting for Celia and Isobel and Tsukiko and Marco and everyone else involved in the circus. I wasn't quite sure what all of the characters wanted until the very end, I just knew that I wanted them to have it. The intertwining plotlines certainly helped me get to know the other characters, as well. It seems like just Celia and Marco's story, but it is so much more. And that's certainly the point of the book, I think. Their "game" affected everyone, so the plot of the story had to follow everyone. The blurb makes the book sound like its going to be this epic romance, but it's really the story of this amazing circus and all the events and mystery surrounding it.
Morgenstern's writing swept me off my feet. From the very beginning of the novel, I found myself inspired. Something about the magic and the way everything is described made me want to write, to be creative. The Night Circus made me want to write a story, to draw something, to paint again. Celia's ability to manipulate reality made my heart swell. The depth of the circus and the performers' abilities drew me in. I don't think I'm doing Morgenstern's writing ability any justice, so you're just going to have to believe me when I call it transcendent. From the first page, I was riveted. The plot was a little dull in the first half, but her writing made me invested in the story. It took me about a week to finish the book (though, that was mostly due to my own inability to sit still long enough to finish the 500 page novel), but I could never get it out of my head. I went prom dress shopping last weekend, and I kept seeing dresses I though fit the ambiance of the circus. I don't think The Night Circus is going to release its hold on me for a while yet.
I want to live in The Night Circus. I wish to visit Le Cirque des Rêves and drink cider and see the magnificent clock. I want to have my cards read by Isobel and watch the illusionist. I want to be there so badly. And when I was reading, I was there. It's so rare that I find a book that so utterly sucks me in, and makes me forget where I am, that draws me into its pages and doesn't let me go long after I've set it down. I feel differently after finishing it, and that is a feeling I have always treasured.