October 17, 2012

Book Review: The Night Circus

Since early September, I've been suffering from a SERIOUS "book hangover." The culprit, of course, was Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger's Curse Series: Book 4).

And that's the problem with a really good book.  

Inevitably, that really good book makes it incredibly hard to find another book that grabs your attention and makes you want to read again.  With that said, over the last month I have picked up no short of half a dozen different books, only to put them down again after reading the first 20-30 pages.  They just weren't good enough to follow-up Tiger's Destiny.

Until now.

I just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and it was AWE-some!  I think the fact that it falls into the "fantasy fiction" genre didn't hurt either.  That certainly helped it's case in following up one of the books from my favorite series of all time (of course, I'm talking about the one and only Tiger's Curse Series).  So, without any further ado, here's a synopsis of this newly released must-read!


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 Reves, 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.



For fans of The Time Traveler's Wife and The Tiger's Wife, The Night Circus will be an automatic hit.  Much like The Time Traveler's Wife, the novel jumps back and forth through place and time during the 19th century, "and that dislocation mirrors the magic afoot in the circus tents.  Points of views shift, narration and tangential vignettes occur, and the short chapters are more cinematic in their pacing than literary." (Source)  If you like novels that jump around while narrating from different times and perspectives, well then, Morgenstern's book will be right up your alley!

If you are drawn to stories rich in detail, background, and description (much like The Tiger's Wife), then the telling of The Night Circus' decades-long duel will be a perfect fit for your reading pleasure.  Uniquely, the duel is not punctuated "with wands or light sabers - but via [Celia and Marco's] heartfelt creations and manipulations - a maze of clouds, an ice garden, a living carousel.  They one-up each other until they fall madly in love. (Source)


The Night Circus is a relatively slow read.  Much of the book is constituted by elaborate descriptions of the circus and its main characters; and if for no other reason, that means that this book is a perfect fit for some readers and a total misfit for others.  If you are a reader that craves action and dialogue, well then, The Night Circus might not be the book for you.  However, if you appreciate descriptive narrative and enjoy learning about what's going on in the hearts and minds of a stories' protagonists, then this book should be a perfect fit!

Finally, some of the books biggest potential questions are left unanswered...untapped...undiscovered.  In some ways, I am inclined to say that Morgenstern played it a little too safe.  So many of the questions related to love and loss are left untouched.  I was left wondering - or rather, having to figure out on my own - how two orphaned children that were raised without love or affection could so naturally have the ability to love one another.  Is love innate?  Is it learned?  How are children that were unloved for so long inherently able to love one another so perfectly?


Regardless, in the end I was happy to have read The Night Circus.  It was fun.  It was beautiful.  It was a love story...albeit an imperfect one.  And, thankfully, at the end of the day, it pulled me out of an almost month-long "book hangover"!

Question of the Day:

What's the best book you have read recently?  I NEED suggestions!

Ally and Bo

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