On a long train ride home back from Devon I started my journey with a circus. Morgenstern just has this way to pull you in right from the get go. The story revolves around two magicians, one born with magic another taught, who spend their lives practising magic and growing their skills to enter a challenge where only one can win. That challenge take place at the Night Circus. Neither know who their opponent is, as the game continues Celia and Marco continue to create more and more wondrous tents for each other whilst seeking each other out.
As the book continues we find out just how much their lives revolve around not only each other and challenge but to the survival of the circus itself. The clever thing about their relationship is that Celia performs within the circus whereas Marco does his magic from the outside, I was expecting two magicians trying to out do each other night after night. This was a genius way to keep them apart, Celia is the only magician literally performing for a crowd but both are creating new tents and wonders year after year to the point where they are creating the tents not for the patrons but as a love letter for each other.
I love the concept, one born with magic and one taught pitted against each other by two people who only care about winning. Both are taught in different ways, Celia is taught by her father who makes her practise non-stop whilst Marco is taught by reading books, understanding magic. Two totally different approaches from two teachers, a master in what they do. Celia is taught in quite a harsh way, especially by her father who is adored by all and has to live up to his standards, whereas Marco is almost given a gift, an opportunity he would never of had.
Morgenstern opens the book with ‘Anticipation’. This is what really hooked me, the first glimpse of the circus and what’s to come. It begins “The circus arrives without warning.” The perfect line to start, from here we experience the circus as the public do. This opener is so cleverly done, the circus popping up out of thin air, only opening at night, no hint of colour only towering tents of black and white and not a soul to talk to save a sign that says “Opens at Nightfall Closes at Dawn”.
From then on I was hooked. What I truly love about this book is that it is from multiple views, so we get to experience the circus not only from the magicians but the people behind it, who created it as well as lovers of circus. Morgenstern describes everything so wonderfully, to the smells whilst wandering between the tents to the tents themselves. This combined with the various view points means you get to share their experience of circus. Baileys view is of patron of the circus, his experience is one I could connect with most because he’s just an average person, well maybe not just your average person.
The book spans a vast number of years but also jumps between dates which I didn’t realise till we met Bailey, in this chapter the circus has turned up where he lives but in the previous chapter the creators had been brought together and where discussing the idea of their new venture. The circus. Everyone in this book brings something special, from the acts within the circus to its creators slowly bringing together the idea of the circus whilst Celia and Marco remain unaware of each other and the real challenge that lies ahead. The ‘reveurs’ are one of my favourites identifiable by the colour red, the moment they hear of the circuses whereabouts they’ll hop on a train to follow it sharing their thoughts and stories with fellow ‘reveurs’.
I would recommend this book to everyone! It’s unlike anything I would normally read, if it wasn’t for my friend screaming at me to read this I never would have, it’s just a shame there aren’t more books by this author!! I can’t wait to read this again. See you in the next post.