"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
This book is pure MAGIC! Erin Morgenstern created a story around the Night Circus that is so magical and fantastical it will feel like a dream.
“Like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars.”
The Night Circus has been a New York Times bestseller, has been recommended by so many people to me, and has been sitting on my shelf for over a year but for some reason I did not want to start reading it. I was scared I would be disappointed.
The cover looks absolutely beautiful and fits the magic of this book so much. It drew me in even more. But again it was not enough to make me want to pick this book up. Maybe I had the wrong impression what this book would be about.
From the description of the Night Circus that “arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called "Le Cirque des Reves," and it is only open at night.” (Goodreads) I got the wrong impression. I imagined a slow book about different circus attraction and that did not sound very interesting to me.
I was wrong. I should have focused on the “fierce competition [that] is underway--a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, 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. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.” (Goodreads)
This book could be divided into four parts:
1. Celia’s story
2. Marco’s stor
3. Bailey’s story
4. Visiting Le Cirque des Reves
The book tells the story of Celia and Marco and how they start to train for a competition at a very young age. This competition is cruel and pointless since its only reason of existence is the boredom and competitiveness of two old friends/foes. Our two main characters get brought into this competition as children when they are bound by magic to participate even though they do not know the rules and the consequences.
In the course of this book we read about their training and the creation of Le Cirque des Reves as the arena. Who is expecting an action-packed story will be highly disappointed. Even though the premise sounds action thriven, the story itself is not. We do get to read about some cruel teaching methods especially on Celia’s side but they are mentioned almost at the sideline.
Bailey’s story is very different and for a long time I did not know how his story would play into everything. We get introduced to him when he is a kid, as well, but he is just visiting Le cirque des Reves with his parents. A long time he seems just like an outsider who loves to visit the circus. But in the end everything comes together beautifully.
Funnily, the reason I did not pick up this book sooner was because I feared it would be mainly about different circus attraction. Spread throughout this book are chapters written in second-person narrative that describe entering different attractions of the circus. Those chapters were my favorite ones! Oh the irony! The thing that kept me from reading this book so long turned out to be the best part. Since it is written in second-person narrative it feels like YOU are entering those tents and experiencing the attractions. I felt like I was standing in the circus. It was absolutely magical!
The whole book is written beautifully. It has a very slow pace and at times it was almost too slow for me. I had wished for a little more action. What made me rate this book with four stars anyway was the magic that was created just through words. The whole book feels like a dream thanks to the beautifully chosen words and thoughtfully created sentences. Morgenstern has a gift in finding the right words to create this certain atmosphere.
Since I listened to an audiobook (the reason why I finally started this book) I have to mention the German reader Matthias Brandt. He did an amazing job! His voice was made for this story. I felt like a little kid again who is being read a fairytale to as a bedtime story. Absolutely wonderful!
Now I would not recommend this book to anyone. If you want a faster paced, driven story, stay away from the Night Circus. But if you do not mind a slower book that focuses on creating atmospheres and you enjoy magic in the world, this book will be perfect for you.
“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus. You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”