Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/night-circus.html
The Night Circus is a first novel and a flight of imagination. It is a book of magic, fantasy, and romance. It is the story of Marco and Celia, bound together together in a competition by their guardians before they are even aware of themselves or each other. It is also the story of all those who surround them and effect their competition and a story of the circus itself.
Marco is an orphan adopted by a man known as Alexander. Celia is the daughter of the magician known as Prospero. Alexander and Prospero train their charges to duel in a competition of magical skills in which there can only be one survivor. The reason for the competition between the two is eventually explained towards the end of the book. However, it is not crucial to the book. Wondering about it simply adds to the mystery of the book.
The venue for the challenge is Le Cirque de Reves - The Circus of Dreams - a magical place of black and white unlike any circus I've ever seen. Marco and Celia do not completely know the terms of the game and fall in love. They fight against their destiny of competition. This desire grows stronger especially as the competition effects more and more people. The book builds to a magical conclusion.
"The circus arrives without warning." This is the statement with which the book starts. The book captured me and drew me in without warning. The story moves in circles, parts flowing into each other, much as the descriptions of the circular pathways of the circus. It kept me wondering what was coming around the next curve. The book creates vivid images of the circus and the acts within it. While reading, I thought this would make a wonderful movie. Apparently, others agree with me. Movie rights for the book have already been sold.
The imagery of the book is beautiful. The story is fanciful and beyond belief, yet you believe in it anyways. It does not lend itself to be easily described and must be read to be experienced. I found myself absorbed and had a hard time putting the book down. A great first book. I can't wait to see the movie and see what comes next from Erin Morgenstern.