Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning...No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey sky...and the black sign painted in the white letters that hangs upon the gates, the one that reads Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn...

When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears...Le Cirque des Reves. Some in the crowd smile knowingly, while others frown and look questioningly at their neighbors. A child near you tugs on her mother's sleeve, begging to know what it says. "The Circus of Dreams," comes the reply.

The Night Circus has been the highlight of all my popular fiction reads this summer. It begins and is interspersed with these second person chapters helping you navigate the physical space of the actual circus which is unlike anything you've ever seen. 

As a small child, Celia is delivered to her father Hector (stage magician name: Prospero). She, like him, has the ability to manipulate objects. When he determines that she is ready, he invites a mysterious gentleman to visit them. 

"I was hoping you might be up for a game. It has been far too long since we've played. Though first, you must meet my new project." 
"You would wager your own child?"
"She won't lose," Hector says. "I suggest you find a student you can tolerate parting with, if you do not already have one to spare."

A ring is burned onto her hand, and thus Celia is bound into the rules of a game she is far too young to understand. The mysterious gentleman finds a student of his own, Marco, who is also entered into the game. 

The books shifts perspectives and time, so you know I love it. The Night Circus, created by Chandresh, is the stage for the contest, although the rules are not articulated and not all the characters involved realize what is going on. With the exception of Hector, Marco, Celia, and the gentleman, and a few minor characters, the vast majority of the novel exists in the real world - this isn't Harry Potter.

I devoured this novel over the course of maybe 36 hours. The physical space of the Circus is addicting. In fact, it has its own groupies called the Reveurs (dreamers) who follow the circus, wearing black and white and a touch of red (acknowledging that they are apart from the circus - not a part of the black/white spectacle). I wanted to wear black and white and red for days to try to make the magic of the novel last longer. 

Fortunately, Summit Entertainment has optioned both the movie and TV rights, and I look forward to devouring those as well. I will most certainly be dressed as a Reveur. 


billy said...

I just read this, too, and loved it! I'm glad you enjoyed it, too.

Christopher said...

Something Wicked This Way Comes?

Dani said...

I loved this, too! In fact I forced it on my entire family. The fact that even the non-readers still love me is proof of how charming it is.