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 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.
I cannot put into coherent words how this book makes me feel. Throughout this book, my mind became flooded with acrobats, illusionists, contortionists, and performers of all sorts. I was spellbound by the imagery that was brought to the pages of the book, and the way it was laid out left me breathless. I was oftentimes side-tracked by the events of the circus, that my gaze shifted towards that than what should’ve been center-stags: the competition, which fell into the background and mentioned every once in a while.
I want to live in this world. Not read it. Live in it. There is nothing, NOTHING that I dislike about the world that was conveyed in this beautiful novel. I love not only the locations (which varied anywhere from London to New York, to Montreal), but the time that this book is set in. This book takes place from the mid 1880s, and ends on the very last page in current times. The author made me feel as if I walked into the circus and was walking through it, exploring tent after tent, and eating everything from candied apples to decadent hot chocolate with Poppet, Widget, and Bailey, which brings me to the character section of this review.
The two main characters in this novel, which we follow around throughout the book and grow up alongside them, from when they were 6 years old all the way to the time when their age is unknown (unless you want to do the math that I am too lazy to do at the moment). Celia and Marco are now two of my all-time favorite couples in literature, alongside Ron and Hermione, which is a difficult feat to accomplish. The two leads aren’t the only two characters we travel around, though. If you don’t bother to care for them, you can spend some time with Bailey, or Chandresh, or even explore a tent all by yourself. The characters aren’t just magnificent, but they are most importantly flawed and realistic, while still having the circus tint that they need to keep readers intrigued. We see Marco and Celia grow up, along with others, and watching them develop into young adults makes you feel like their guardian angel, who has been in the shadows watching over them their entire life. When they succeed, you celebrate, and when they decide they can no longer continue on, your heart breaks into small pieces.
I loved how the venue for the competition was the circus itself. The thought of a competition and a Romeo and Juliet concept along with that tugged me towards this book in the first place. The thing I had a problem with, however, was the complicated unknowings of the competition itself. Not only were the characters in the book not given a full, complete answer as to what the competition meaning is exactly, the readers were kept in the dark as well. By the end of the book, I found myself disappointed by the lack of an explanation once I ran out of pages to read. I am not asking for a sequel, no, please. Even though a sequel would give me so much joy to read, because I want to leap right back into this world immediately after leaving it, almost every book is turned into a series nowadays and this book is perfect how it is. The ending is the only thing I would choose to change, but not change, just expand and wrap up completely.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!