Friday, October 21, 2011

"The Night Circus" By: Erin Morgenstern Review

Today's review is of
"Night Circus"
By: Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:
     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 RĂªves, 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. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
    True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per¬formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

My thoughts:
     So I have just finished “Night Circus” and all I can say is Wow. I may have a different view of the book the longer I am away from it, but this is one of those books when you don’t know whether you liked it or whether it was just too strange.
     I read one review (gosh, I wish I remembered which one and I am sorry I can’t remember the source) that said the book had a great story but you just don’t care much for the characters. I can totally see that now that I am reflecting on the story. The story surrounds many characters – from acrobats to contortionists, to ring leaders to magicians. However, the main story is between the two magician apprentices – Celia and Marco.
     Celia is placed into this magical competition by her Father, “Prosper, the Magnificent” at about age 6. Marco was an orphan who was adopted by the very mysterious Mr. Alexander (or The Man in the Grey Suit) as a child and placed into the competition around the age of 14. What follows is the story of a circus, the people living within the circus, and the competition of Celia and Marco against one another. The issue of the competition is very complex and even now I don’t think I can fully explain what it meant…
     Everything in their world is Black and White – which works on so many different levels. People within the circus don’t seem to age. No one dies. No one is born. No one is sick. People don’t remember certain things; they just remember feelings of things such as wonderment or bewilderment.
     My favorite characters were the twins, born on the first night of the circus. They seemed the most real to me. I enjoyed the story of Celia and Marco, but I didn’t like them very much. Neither seemed very interested in the competition that was forced upon them…nor did they seem very motivated to end the competition. It felt like the author had to have a reason to keep bringing the characters together and she did it through this competition. All in all, a good story but you won’t get too invested in the characters.
     The story is beautifully written though. It seems like each chapter skips to a different year so you have to kind of watch that…however, the writing is almost musical. You can see everything very clearly. Morgenstern creates a unique world that completely draws you in and makes you feel a part of the characters. Even the complex parts of the circus are clearly described. Honestly, if the circus was to set up in my hometown, I would have no problem finding my way through.
     I wanted to finish with the quote that is at the beginning of the book. A very apropos quote for the story and the feeling you have after the book. “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

Product Details -
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-0385534635
Date of Publication: September 2011

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