This week I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Actually, I read it in about two days because I could not put it down! I think this novel might make my Top Three Books of 2011 list. I love the opening line of the story:
"The circus arrives without warning."
Consider yourself forewarned. I was hooked after the first sentence, so once you start reading this book, you will get nothing done until you finish it. Trust me.
I know that so much has been written about this book, but I refused to read the reviews because I did not want my reading experience tainted by spoilers. What I did notice was that The Night Circus made the top pick of the September 2011 Indie Next List. Whitney Spotts' first line in her review says:
"This elegant debut is a striking example of a nostalgic, yet modern fairy tale."
I stopped reading right there. That was all I needed to know because I was intrigued with the notion of a nostalgic, yet modern fairy tale.
I will try to tempt you into reading The Night Circus by giving you as few spoilers as possible.
The Conflict: Two master magicians bet that his protege can defeat the other's in a game.
The Plot: The proteges are chosen while they are children and are trained in magic. Each master magician uses very different methodologies in the training of his pupils.
The Players: Marco and Celia are the competitors. One discovers who his or her competitor is long before the other.
The Setting: Le Cirque des Reves is the primary setting for the story and game. The collaboration of several interesting secondary characters, the Circus of Dreams (English translation) is a feast for all the senses in spite of the fact that everything in the circus is white, black and shades of gray. I could tell that Erin Morgenstern is also a visual artist. It shows in her writing.
The Mood: The mood is definitely dreamlike, mysterious, and magical. It contains all the elements you would expect in a fairy tale. It also has a dark element as the circus is only open at night. There are some unanswered questions in the book, but this does not detract from the story.
The Problem: The circus members for the most part are unaware of the game being played around them, and the players do not know the rules agreed to by their masters.
Another Problem: Have a dictionary handy. With chapters entitled Horology, Ailuromancy, and Cartomancy, it might just come in handy.
One spoiler I will share with you is that the circus attracts a fanatical following similar to Dead Heads. They are called Reveurs, and they wear the colors of the circus to blend in, but wear a shock of red (scarf, tie, flower, etc.) to distinguish themselves from the average circus attendee.
I hope you will pick up The Night Circus the next time you are in a book store, library, or shopping for your ereader. I admit that I am definitely a Reveur!
Don't forget that Bonnie and I will be hosting our What We're Reading Linky Party on Thursday, September 20th, here on my blog.
Until next time...