My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Opening Sentence: The circus arrives without warning.
I am in love with a place I can never go to. Only a truly great book can make you long for a place that doesn’t even exist and Erin Morgenstern did that with his beautifully imagined tale of the Night Circus. This is one of those stories that has taken it’s place in my heart, and most likely my dreams, and will continue to be recalled with nothing but fondness whenever I think back upon it.
In this beautiful blend of fantasy and romance, is a journey into the mysterious and magical world of a circus that only comes alive at the strike of midnight and weaves its spell on people all the way to the break of dawn. In this setting are two skilled players, pitted against each other in a battle of skill and stamina, that have absolutely no idea who their opponent is, what their game requires of them, or how it ends and what determines who the winner is.
The circus is so vividly imagined that it left me yearning to be there. A list of unique characters with endearing qualities which made me like every one of them, is rare in a book with so many people in it. There are chapters in the book told from a first person perspective which are actually less absorbing than the passages told through the two protagonists eyes. I was swept away in a manner which hasn’t taken over me since childhood days of fairy tales. Which is the most accurate description I can think of to define this story which is equal parts enchanting and heart wrenching; a fairy tale for adults.
The entirety of this book takes readers on a journey in a dreamlike state, the kind you’ll want to cling to once you wake up with the lingering smell of caramel popcorn.
I can’t imagine the skill and imagination Erin Morgenstern possesses to have come up with this beauty of a first novel. But I am nothing short of grateful that she did.
1. You prefer not to see the gears of the clock, as to better tell the time. (pg 61)
2. The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones. (pg 143)
3. I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark. (189)
4. It is difficult to see a situation for what it is when you are in the midst of it, it is too familiar. Too comfortable. (pg 193)
5. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. (pg 374)