The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh the circus! What a novelty! But wait- this book is not what it appears, but rather an illusion... Morgenstern's debut is a complex story of 3 interwoven plots that will come together in a spectacular finish that I was neither hoping for, nor expecting. "The Night Circus" has mystery--TONS OF IT--, love, betrayal, blood, loss, confusion and above all, magic.
Folks, I picked up this book thinking that it may be somewhat along the lines of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants and was enticed by the idea of another circus novel. Low and behold, I was not only satisfied, but I was beyond enthralled with this novel because of all of the different elements that made it operate, much like an actual circus.
Celia and Marco are two people who are thrown into "the game", and I dare not ask what the game is, for fear of the silly Facebook gimmick of volleying between people without an actual answer. These protagonists are going through the same thing and we as readers aren't really sure about what is going until midway through the novel. Both individuals are young illusionists, complete with acts that defy nature and any trickery that lead others around them to believe that it must be actual magic. Of course, two individuals who are set against each other in becoming the so-called "master" set up another plot that I also enjoyed; they fall in love. :) So what happens when you fall in love with the enemy of whom you are supposed to defeat??? It's worth the read to find out, trust me. OH- and there are many twists in the book that you would not have truly expected the end result to come out.
Second plot line (albeit much more minor than the previously mentioned) is that of Bailey, a much more relatable character who is conflicted between his own ambitions and those of his strict farmer father who just wants him to follow familial inheritance. I personally enjoyed Bailey because he was the character that anchored the reader to the reality that was very limited in the book.
Thirdly, the final plot line is that of the actual operation of the circus-- an entity that runs with illusionists, contortionists, fortune tellers, not to mention the paperwork people behind the scenes. (No clowns--whew!). There are all of these elements that are present within the circus, and are definitely connected to within the story's progression.
Morgenstern pulled out all of the stops with vivid details that gave me the idea that I was actually watching the illusions performed in front of me. I felt the passion and connections to all of the characters [NOTE-Bailey was useful here...He kept reminding me that this was just an act and I needed to stay grounded.} The only thing that threw me off, unfortunately, were the dates posted under the chapter headings. YOU MUST KEEP TRACK! I had to reread a few chapters to understand the full effect of what was occurring within chronological order.
All in all- READ THIS BOOK! However, make sure you have plenty of time scheduled because it does take quite a bit of time to get through. I recommend that you read a few chapters so that you are caught up on all different plot lines then take a break... In doing so, you can relive the circus and experience the magic.
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