Release: September 13, 2011
Pages: 400 (hardcover)
Source: Amazon Vine
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, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will....read more at Goodreads.
Review: A magical tale where the stakes are high and the consequences even higher, The Night Circus is truly made of dreams and wonderment.
The third person narrative switches mainly between Celia, the daughter of Prospero the Enchanter; Marco, a young man who was picked up in an orphanage by a mysterious grey man; and Bailey, a young boy awaiting the Cirque des Rêves arrival to his town once again as he struggles to decide his future...Two schools of thought regarding magic, two students in a battle creating the most extravagant magic possible, and only one of them will win in the end.
As the story moves from childhood to adulthood, brief excerpts from experiencing the Cirque des Rêves will tantalize you. By the time this magical circus truly begins in the story, you won't be able to tear yourself away from the enchanting qualities it holds as well as the build up to the surprising conclusion. Each different tent displays creative and unique attractions (I loved the cloud-like one). The circus was, without a doubt, one of my favorite parts. The plot moves slowly, and time is taken to appreciate the details with plenty of description. Readers who love descriptive stories will enjoy this for how easy to visualize it is (and readers who do not like too much description may want to pass this one by).
Highlights: I could have read this book for weeks. I would have gladly read double the page count. Morgenstern's story is enchanting and she has written a wondrously magical circus that I wish I could visit. I also never quite knew where everything was leading to right away, which is enjoyable for a reader like me. I absolutely adored Poppet, Widget and Bailey's characters (along with their stories).
Lowlights: At times, the magic overtook the novel, and the more "meaningful" moments between characters just didn't impress in comparison. Imaginatively, this story rocked, but it lacked emotionally. I didn't know the main characters, Celia and Marco, well enough to enjoy them or believe their "love" for each other - I couldn't see the connection. Another issue is that the date jumps around too much to keep things straight, and the ending was also a bit unclear regarding what happened with Celia & Marco.
Note: There's really only one "romance" scene (nothing too descriptive), and because of that, this story has YA crossover potential for older YA readers.