Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has received nothing but praise since its September of 2011 release. I'm not going to go against the grain much here. If you have been searching for more magic since the first time you ever picked up The Hobbit and have been having a hard time finding it, wading through second rate Fantasy re-hashings of the same story over and over, The Night Circus is what you were wishing for all these years. If Tolkien's fading magic made you sad and made you long for a world where the magic wasn't waning but waxing and found in abundance around every corner, The Night Circus is the perfect read for you. Every last word is just plain magical.
You are put in the position of a Reveur, or dreamer: one who has fallen in love with the magical circus. You are given various tastes, smells, touches, sounds and images of the circus that make you fall in love with it instantly, and then you are told the story of the circus and the stakes involved in its existence.
The Circue du Reves was created as the arena for a mysterious type of duel or competition in which neither of the contenders know the rules or even whom their opponent is. But these two contenders, Marco and Celia, are the protagonists we come to care deeply for, and when their competition begins to take a dangerous turn, and it seems one or the other must die for the contest to end, we are split on the issue. But there's plenty of magic and spectacle to distract us from the problem as we watch the circus travel for a few decades and continue to amaze us, night after night.
In fact, the magic is so prevalent in the story that it begins to outshine the plot and the drama. My only complaint would be that there wasn't quite enough tension in the story, such that I never believed for a second that the good guys weren't going to win. But this is Morgenstern's debut novel and hopefully we will see more and better from her in the future. We might not get a very tight story arc here, but what we get is pure excess of imagination. We get to see the workings of a brilliantly creative mind playing with possibilities and the impossible. If that sounds good to you, take a visit to the circus. Become a Reveur with me.