It all started when I’d been seeing things about Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus on the internet, and I’m not entirely sure I knew anything more about it than it had something to do with a night circus, the cover was awesome, and I lot of people I know were interested in it. Then BookTrib hosted a giveaway for a chance to win The Night Circus, and I entered, not really expecting much because I am not one of Those People who regularly wins contests and giveaways, so imagine my surprise when I received an email from BookTrib telling me that I HAD won! For a book I really wanted! Yay books! For free!
Then began the waiting. And the waiting. And the WAITING. To be fair, I only waited for the book about four or five weeks, which is not really that long of a time to wait for book which you are getting for FREE, but DANG, it felt like FOR-EV-ER. Finally, finally, FINALLY, it came on a UPS truck, in a fairly mangled package, and I immediately reported it’s arrival to the internet. Unfortunately, I still had about six library books sitting on my shelf that I needed to finish before reading anything I owned. So it sat on my dining room table, looking lovely and immensely readable. I will admit, having this book sit staring at me day after day gave me a pretty good incentive for finish all my library books. I read like a person possessed! Until I finished the Pirate Captain’s Daughter on Friday, the last of all my library books, and I allowed myself to pick up The Night Circus. I’m so glad I did.
I LOVE this book. Strictly speaking, I do believe this book is considered Adult Fiction, but it has major Young Adult crossover appeal (and I would almost certainly include it in a YA collection were I in charge of such things). It’s magical. Set at the turn of the 20th century-ish, this is a story about a challenge between two magicians in which their proteges try to out do each other in a game of skill, and the setting for the game is Le Cique des Reves, the Circus of Dreams, which arrives unannounced at each destination and is only open from sunset to sunrise. The story is comprised of short second person descriptions of the circus from the perspective of an attendee, chapters about the magician’s challenge and the players, and chapters set several years later which describe a boy named Bailey’s experiences with the circus. By the end of the novel the chapters about the challenge and the chapters about Bailey have come together to create a really rich, full story.
I love the story in this book, for sure, but I also adore the language Morgenstern uses. It’s no secret that books with lovely, descriptive tones really appeal to me, which is the main reason why I enjoyed Atonement and East of Eden so much, despite not much happening in either book, and this book has that same tonal quality in additional to an intriguing plot. Morgenstern really manages to create a dreamlike, magical aura throughout the entire novel, while never veering off into a descriptive wonderland where the reader is left with beautifully worded settings and characteristics but no story, no MEAT, to go along with it. She creates a world in which I truly wish I lived; a circus which I long to visit.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough for anyone interested in magicians or circuses or the late 1800’s or beautiful prose or romance or precocious twins or kittens. I really do think there’s something in this book that will appeal to just about anyone, and I highly encourage everyone to check it out.