AUTHOR: ERIN MORGENSTERN
This appears to be the year for me to be reading books I don’t quite know how to summarize. The story in this book is amazing, fantastical and engrossing, yet very hard to describe.
The Night Circus; it is an amazing place. It appears overnight without any warning and disappears just as suddenly.
It is a place of magical wonders, where the impossible is visible and beauty surrounds you. What the visitors of the Night Circus don’t know is that it is also the place where a magical contest takes place.
Two youngsters, Celia and Marco, have, without being aware of it or having any say in the matter, been entered in this deadly contest by their shadowy masters. In Celia’s case it’s her father who volunteered her, while Marco was selected from an orphanage just for this purpose.
While they know they are in a contest and that the Circus is their battle ground, they initially don’t know who their opponent is or how they might win or end their battle.
What the two instigators haven’t counted on though, is that Celia and Marco fall deeply in love. And although they are told that the contest can only be won when one of them gives up, they are determined to not give up on themselves, each other or the Circus.
This is one wonderful story. It succeeds in making the magical appear normal, it makes us believe that the Night Circus will indeed one day show up in a field not too far away, to share it’s magic with the rest of us.
The book is filled with wonderful characters. It is so easy to sympathise with Celia, thrown into a battle not of her own choosing without an obvious escape route and to will her on as she tries to find ways to make the Circus a safe place while not losing in the contest.
Marco may be a little bit harder to identify with at first, but between the lines you just know that his heart is in the right place, even if that doesn’t always lead to the right actions. Together they are a wonderful sight though.
My favourite characters were probably Poppet and Widget, very much children of the Circus and pivotal to its survival.
The way this story is told makes the reader feel that it is all real. The wondrous is normal and the normal is exceptional. However, the author makes sure to indicate how having to live in a world where things are different is not easy for all those involved, which makes the story more realistic again.
This is a story I know I will be thinking about for quite a while. It is also a story I hope to be revisiting in my dreams. This is a book I will be reading again and again, and most of all, this is one of my favourite books of this year.
On a side-note; those who have read the book will understand why the title above is red rather than my usual blue.