Grace Pyne, Staff Writer
“The circus arrives without warning, no announcements precede it, no paper notices on
downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, where yesterday it was not. (The Night Circus page 1). The Night Circus is a stand-alone novel written by author Erin Morgenstern. It was published in 2011 and spent 7 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List, eventually reaching a position at number 2. This Victorian Era fantasy novel follows a competition between 2 magicians, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, egged on by their guardians Prospero the Enchanter (Hector Bowen) and the man in grey (Alexander). The venue for this competition is la Cirque des Reves, a travelling circus that opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. Amidst the performers and patrons, Celia and Marco attempt to outdo each other with elaborate tricks and intricate performances. But as the stakes get higher and higher, the 2 magicians find themselves falling in love. This not only jeopardises the competition. It puts the lives of those frequenting the circus and the performers at risk. There is only so long Marco and Celia can maintain the delicate balance before the circus spirals into ruin.
This book sells itself as a romance novel and while that is true, it brings so much more to the table than just a soppy love story. I’m not a huge fan of super cliché love at first sight romance stories, and if that were all this book was, I wouldn’t be recommending it to you. Although it is principally a love story, there is something for everyone: magic, adventure, mystery. The book is jam-packed with stories and different narratives to follow so if you aren’t a fan of the whole romance thing you can still enjoy the other components of this novel. With so many different viewpoints, this book can be hard to follow at times. It can be pretty hard to sit through some of the seemingly irrelevant viewpoints but Erin Morgenstern masterfully ties everything together at the end.
Now, I know I just said that so many viewpoints can make for difficult reading, but there were quite a few advantages to reading a book like that. For one thing, it was interesting to see how the main characters’ actions affected all the other characters. In a lot of books, you don’t really understand the impact that a choice the main character makes has on the supporting characters, or if you do, you don’t care. Did you really understand how the other tributes felt when they were training with Katniss or how the choices the shadow hunters made really affected the people living in the city because I know I sure didn’t. Erin Morgenstern makes you feel connected and involved in every character’s journey. When reading this book, you really get the impression that you must be engaged in and paying attention to every little detail because even the tiniest things can have a huge impact overall. I learned this the hard way and halfway through the book when everything started unravelling I slapped myself on the head because I should have seen that coming. Anyways, as someone who likes books that are full of information and surprises, I can say that The Night Circus is certainly jam-packed with wonderful characters and some pretty nail-biting scenes.
Overall, the night circus was a really great book. For those of you who like mystery and
adventure with a romantic undertone, this book is for you. If you pick up The Night Circus and feel bogged down and confused by so many different viewpoints, please keep reading. It gets better, I promise, and if you can get through the beginning, the ending makes it worthwhile. A circus that only opens at night, duelling magicians and fantastic writing make the Night Circus a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the fantasy genre.