As a book reader there are times that I wish the world I was reading was the world I was living in. The vast differences in characters, ambitions, dreams, abilities, and above all magic that they have makes the real world seem dull in comparison. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of those books.
Within this tale lies Celia and Marco, two strong talented magicians vying for a title of a championship they have been competing in since childhood. Celia is the daughter of a famous stage magician who believes her to be naturally talented, while Marco is plucked from an orphanage for no particular reason other than he appears to be the cleverest of the bunch by a mentor who proceeds to fill his life with the teachings of magic while not being all to present himself.
The different roads they take lead them to The Night Circus, a unique experience for those who visit and is the collaboration of a group of eccentric benefactors. They hire a team of talented and bizarre performers and together they all seem to live and thrive by the circus. The Night Circus arrives in each town without warning, it is the intrigue that pulls people into coming and exploring each of its many tents filled with wonders. One such person is Bailey, whose introduction is years down the line, but as you read you see how his story and the circus’ story are slowly being drawn to a head.
GOOD POINT: There is a way that this book is written that makes you feel truly part of the outside looking in. You are the audience that comes to the Night Circus every night. You marvel at all you see, but at some point the magic stops for you and you have to leave. You never fully grasp the mystery. This is why the character of Bailey is so important, you are him, and you get to slowly pull back the curtain of the secrets hidden within the circus with him.
While I was expecting the duel between magicians to be something all together different, the way it is handled is masterful. From the use of the circus to the interactions of the characters it is almost as if you can feel the pulsing of the magic being lifted from the pages. The fact that the author took her story the direction she did proves that she is a weaver of the best kind.
My love for this book comes mostly from the plot and sensory details sprinkled throughout. This is a departure from what normally draws me into a story as I am usually character heavy. However, the way this is written it is hard to be pulled in on strictly character alone. Yes, the characters have their appeal, Celia is a force and Marco is tantalizing, but the real magic comes from the place, the circus itself.
This is why I wish this place existed in reality. The way Morgenstern describes the stage for her two magicians is nothing short of magic in of itself. It was also nice to read a one off fantasy novel versus having to wait for a sequel. These are rare things these days with most fantasy stories ranging three books at minimum or more. Not to knock on those series as sometimes one book just isn’t enough to tell a story, but I have to admit it was nice to have a conclusion in one book read.
GOOD POINT: The undercurrent of the story and what was going to happen to the characters was predictable, but not in such a way that it brought down the story. While I could surmise what was going to happen, it was still a treat to watch it all unfold. This to me again says that the author is a great writer and on top of that knew where her story wanted to go.
I will say the only thing that disappointed were a few moments at the end that in the grandiose fashion that this novel delivered it almost fell flat. I get that what needed to happen, needed to happen, but the execution wasn’t one I was impressed with. The tie-ins could have been smoother, but all in all the story delivered a complete end that didn’t leave the reader wanting for anything.
BAD POINT: I am not currently a patron of the Night Circus.