“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.”