Saturday, 10 December 2011

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

UK Publication Date: 15 September 2011
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Reves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.

Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its afficionados, who call themselves the reveurs - the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter's daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer's apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and their love.

The Night Circus is a book that only comes around once or twice a year, by this I mean it’s a book that captivates the reader so much that you can’t help thinking about it when you’re not reading it.This happen all the time for me.

I first became aware of this book whilst visiting my local bookstore and overheard a conversation between the assistant and a customer. He was basically asking her if she could recommend a really good book, and of course this was the book that she recommended. So being a curious person I had to have a look for myself.

The cover was mesmerizing.  I had never seen a cover that was black and white, with only a splash of red. When I picked it up and read the blurb I didn’t think it would be for me, but I decided to give it a go and I am so pleased that I did.

No sooner had I opened the book and read the first paragraph:

The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers.  It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

I was hooked. It took me back to the first time I visited the circus as a child. The mysterious tents, the strange sounds and the strangely dressed people. But the circus that I saw as a child was nothing like this one.

But you haven’t come to read about my childhood you’ve come for the review and so here it is. Erin Morgenstern has created a story that captivates the reader from beginning to end. She has created a world that is truly believable. Whilst reading I felt that I was really there seeing the circus, smelling the caramel popcorn. There are so many characters in this book, the circus being one of them that I would be lying if I said I didn’t like them all.

The story does tend to jump between different time periods, which can be a bit confusing at times, but I found this really interesting.It reminded me a lot of The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, who is quoted on the cover of the book as saying ‘This is a marvelous read’ and ‘The Night Circus made me happy. Playful and intensely imaginative, Erin Morgenstern has created the circus I have always longed for.’

I will admit that I totally agree with her. Not only are the characters believable but Erin Morgenstern’s writing style is so lyrical. At times I thought I should be reading this book aloud. I guess this is helped by the fact that Erin is also a painter.

The Night Circus is a must read for anyone who is looking to escape into a world of magic, fantasy and romance. If this review hasn’t wetted your appetite to read it. Take a look at the book trailer.

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