My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"The circus arrives without notice."
What an exciting and curious opening line to a book!
I heard many people talking about this book, and was quickly interested in knowing more myself.
It instantly pulled me from that first line.
Celia, the daughter of Prospero the Enchanter, a great magician, with very real powers that captivate audiences across Europe. Meeting her father for the first time at age 6 when her mother commits suicide, she finds herself thrust into a world of magic and relentless hours of study at the hands of her overbearing father.
Marco is a young orphan who is taken in by Alexander. Another powerful, but more private magician. His, study is less interactive and more secluded consisting mainly of research and book work.
Both are unwittingly forced into a powerful bond in a game that the two caregivers have created. They spend their youth practicing and studying, not knowing who they will be in competition with. Or even how the competition will play out or where or when it will end.
That is, until a rich proprietor by the name of Chandresh Christophe Lefevre comes up with a brilliant idea for a circus. A wondrous magical circus, filled not with clowns or elephants, but wonderously mysterious and talented acrobats, contortionist, illusionists and many others. Not realizing that he is setting the stage for the two young competitors to compete in.
And so, The Night Circus is born.
Erin Morgenstern is able to capture the imagination in a wondrous and beautiful way. The imagery in her descriptions is vivid.
"The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey skies; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world. Even what little ground is visible from outside is black or white, painted or powered, or treated with some other circus trick."
The characters she populates this world with are so interesting and colorful and mysterious. They all added to the overall ambiance and reading experience. I found myself fascinated by each new person I was introduced to.
I did enjoy reading this book, and found it quite poetic at times.
However, I did find the pace of the book in places a bit slow. Not that I didn't enjoy every page, just that I could spend 40 minutes reading, but find I only read a couple of chapters. Which for me, in most other books, I would normally read three or four chapters in the same amount of time.
I suppose I underestimated the density of the book. It is a very descriptive book, with many things going on. Different stories being told. They flowed nicely, but it did cause me to feel slowed down somewhat.
Now, I find this book to be one that you should approach with that in mind. Don't expect to pick this book up and fly through it. Take your time and savor it. You will find a much more enjoyable reading experience. I feel that if I had been able to have that insight when I started this book, I wouldn't have felt the slowness as a downside.
Overall I enjoyed this book and felt the magical wonderment throughout the story.
It is a beautiful story of mystery, love, magic and fun.
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