The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Published by: Doubleday
When Celia's mother commits suicide, she is sent to live with her father, the magician known as Prospero. What Prospero realizes instantly is that she, like him, is magical. Excited by this, he sends for his friend, Alexander, and proposes a competition. Alexander will get to chose his player and Celia will play as Prospero's. Alexander agrees and rescues Marco from an orphanage to become his protege. Though they learn in two very different ways, both Celia and Marco spend their childhood learning magic. Finally, when they seem old enough to officially start the competition, the Night Circus is constructed as their venue. Within its monochromatic mystical tents, the two magicians create elaborate, otherworldly scenes for people to enjoy. With no known rules, no known judges, and an incomplete understanding of the game at hand - which magician will win and what happens to the loser?
This book was wonderful. It is unlike anything else I have ever read. It's magical, mysterious, beautifully written, and leaves you feeling as if you've woken up from a dream.
The story contains many characters: the main ones being Celia and Marco but the story truly revolves around the circus itself. It is its own character. It seems to live and breathe, enchanting people of all ages who venture into it.
In between sections of the book, Morgenstern places you within the book, using second person narrative. You enter the tent. You eat a candy apple. It gives you a connection to the wonder. It made me wish The Night Circus were real and I could visit.
What I found interesting is how I pictured this book in my mind. The Night Circus's color scheme is white, black, and grey. I found that even when I wasn't reading parts about the circus I envisioned the characters in black and white. Then, something would be said about a particular thing or person and they'd be in color. Kind of like the Pleasantville effect. This made it easier, in my mind, to pick out what I thought was important. It made things have a more significant impact and it wasn't something I consciously knew I was doing until about halfway through.
I loved everything about this book - even the characters that I hated. Each character, however minor their role, seemed to be fully developed and none were simply a throwaway. The way Morgenstern sections the book helps it flow and even though the years and characters change within the chapters, I was never confused about what was going on.
It was a beautiful book about magic, wonder, life, and love.
I give the book 5 out of 5 cateyes.