The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a fantasy novel, released in 2011.
Fun fact! Morgenstern wrote a draft of The Night Circus during NaNoWriMo! Proving anything can happen if you don’t quit half way through!
The book has been sitting on my shelf for perhaps five or six years but I’ve not thought to pick it up before now. The curse of being a serial book hoarder. But over the holidays it stuck out to me. Probably because I’ve developed a strange fascination for circuses and carnivals. It seemed to fit.
The story follows Celia and Marco who are connected from a young age by a competition set by their guardians. The two of them are raised to become talented magicians(?) illusionists(?). Eventually, the circus is created for them to display their talents and compete.
This circus, though! It’s beautiful. Le Cirque des Reve is really what it means. It’s dream-like, other-worldly, rich and beautiful. There are small sections of the book, written in the second person, where you walk around the circus experiencing it for yourself. It’s truly a magical reading experience. I loved those bits in particular.
So Celia and Marco create new tents each one more magnificent than the last but as the game continues the two fall into a warm and totally believable love. Throughout the first part of the book, you hope that they’ll meet and interact and when they do it’s just the most special experience.
Without spoiling it! (Though I don’t think my review does justice to the loveliness of the writing which you have to read to experience.) So, without spoiling it, love takes over but the competition must continue. And the fate of the circus depending on the competition without it, it will fall. The ending is predictable but I didn’t mind it. I was more attracted to meandering through the circus so the outcome was a nice (yes, nice) finale.
This book isn’t for everyone. It’s quite slow. Very descriptive. And it leaves a lot to be interpreted. The plot was quite simple; Two rivals fall in love.
The ‘competition’ wasn’t as competitive as I thought it was going to be. It’s not a duel or a fight. It’s two people forced to prop up a magical marvel until one of them dies.
Luckily, this book was for me. I love the slow build up. I loved watching the circus form before me. I loved the side characters. (Herr Friedrick Thiessen, a clockmaker, was a particular favourite.) I loved exploring the tents. I think I could have read a whole book about the different tents.
Things I said whilst reading:
“It’s so nice.”
“I want to visit this circus.”
“Yes, second person narrative. I’m in the circus!”
“They have a tent filled with bottled memories!”
“It’s so nice.”
Thanks for reading!