Biblio 411: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Double Day
Read: June 2012
The Hook: A magic duel with a circus as the backdrop.

Being sick the past week has put me behind in my current reading progress. However, since I am a book junkie and I’ve read more books than I’ve reviewed I have a storage of information I can draw upon 😉 .

I’m going to be completely honest. I was drawn to this book because if its cover. Yep. Judged by its cover. And actually, the cover shown here wasn’t the cover I first saw, but it’s my favorite of the two. This one is the U. S. paperback.

Plot: Marco and Celia are chosen and bonded as opponents in a magical duel to death. Their masters have been playing this deadly game for a while except this time it’s slightly different. Celia’s master is her father, Prospero, and he feels that he won’t be able to loose since his apprentice is naturally gifted with magic. Marco’s master, A. H., chooses the stage; a circus and this circus ends up revolving around its “magician,” Celia. Marco end up being the assistant to the mastermind behind the circus so he can see and know his opponent. While Celia travels with the circus, Marco stays with his boss. The games begin and as the game progresses, so does the attraction between Celia and Marco. And what starts off as a deadly game between two worthy opponents turns into desperation in finding how to escape the fate of the loser.

I’ve never read a book like this before and when I read through it, it blew my mind. Firstly, the plot, while not exactly new, is different. Yes, the back drop is a circus but Marco isn’t part of the circus so how do they possible “duel?” Well, that was explained as the plot develops, but it’s just so … I mean … Erin Morgenstern did such a good job with her storytelling. Mesmerizing. That’s the word that comes to my mind when I think about The Night Circus. It captures your imagination and holds you hostage until you read the final words.

And how awesome is a circus that only opens during the night and magically appears whenever and wherever it wants to?! Seriously.

What I enjoy about this story the most, and what others found frustrating, is the way it is written. It bounces back and forth between two points of the same timeline–the circus’ past and the circus’ present–and from two different set of characters–Marco and Celia and Widget and Poppet. We follow these two timelines until it merge together to “current events.” Yes, it may be a bit confusing at first, but once you grasp it, it is amazing! I ended up making my own timeline of events with each event from the respective timelines plotted together.

Of course the leading lady and leading man are Celia and Marco and I love seeing their story develop. Marco knew Celia was his opponent from the start, since he was the circus producer’s assistant and was there when the auditions began, but it took Celia a while to know who Marco was. And, actually, Marco couldn’t resist not letting Celia know who he was so he told. Their story is bittersweet, considering the circumstances, but it’s so heart warming to read. Morgenstern did a great job creating chemistry, tension, fun, and love.

And I love Widget and Poppet. Twins who were born on the opening night of the circus. And you can’t really love Widget and Poppet without loving Bailey. The fates of these three children are intertwined and their story is just as captivating as Marco and Celia.

And you can’t love Marco and Celia, Widget, Poppet, and Bailey, without loving the circus. It’s magical and wonderful. Just as a circus should be. The fact that it operates at night and into the wee hours of morning just makes it only more magical and wonderful. I’m a Reveur at heart.

As mentioned, the way it was written may frustrate some, but if you can push through it, it’s a good read. It also reads slow during some parts and while it never bothered me it’s worth mentioning. After reading it, I went out and bought the paperback. I just had to have it. I’m considering a Kindle purchase as well so I can take it with me wherever I go, but we’ll see.  This is definitely a book that any book junkie should read, especially if you like fantasy, and definitely a great book to have in your library, virtual or not.