The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

“Stories have changed, my dear boy,”the man in the grey suit says, his voice almost imperceptibly sad. “There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep overlapping and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there in no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? Though perhaps it is a singular wolf who goes to such lengths as to dress as a grandmother to toy with its prey.”

I guess I should really start off by saying that even though I love this book to death and can’t understand why people don’t like the way that it’s written, it was confusing the first time around. This story is told on what seems to be two different timelines and then then further switches things up by a present-tense narrative of what it’s like to be a visitor to the Night Circus. I thought it all was a stroke of genius. Even though second person narrative isn’t used very often, I thought it made sense here. It added to the mystery. So much of this story was shrouded in mystery, but I was never frustrated. To me, the circus was a mystery to the patrons that entered it. So, then, why should we as the reader have had any more knowledge. I’m sure there are a lot who would disagree, I just wasn’t bothered by it. I was drawn in by the writing and was captivated because I never entirely knew what was happening. Even with this being my second time reading this book I felt like I didn’t pick up on everything.  It’s just such a beautiful book.

The circus in itself was the best part of this book (obviously). I loved the description of each tent– even the food seemed magical. I think this is where the present tense narrative worked. It was a different experience to read those parts as if we as the reader were an actual patron in the circus versus how we see the players interacting from within it as part of it. I can’t even really say enough to really do justice to my feelings toward this book. Usually I hate open endings (I guess you could say that this has one) and I hate when I don’t know what’s going on. Something about this though… it literally doesn’t matter. This will forever be one of my favorite books.

If you like original stories involving magic, pick this up. Now.

“But I’m not… special,”Bailey says. “Not the way they are. I’m not anyone important.”
“I know,” Celia says. “You’re not destined or chosen, I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it’s not true. You’re in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that’s enough.”

The Night Circus Book Cover The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
September 13th, 2011

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

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