December 13, 2012

The Night Circus

First let me say that I absolutely loved this book!

The story begins with two magicians, one who is a popular performer and one who is more 
mysterious and in the shadows. They agree to a challenge of skill between their students. 
One of those students in the performer's daughter Celia, the other is Marco, a young boy plucked 
from an orphanage. The two grow up, a venue is created for their challenge, and eventually, it begins. 
Celia and Marco are both a part of the circus but in very different ways. The two fall madly in love 
in that star crossed lover sort of way. In order for there to be a winner, one of them must die. 

The book is set up in a series of heavily detailed smaller stories all tied together into one larger tale. 
This structure allows for reading smaller portions at a time without feeling like losing your place 
or missing something. At first the stories seem independent of each other. They are told in 
different years, jumping around in long stretches of time from the founding of the circus 
to the latest date, the year 1902, which seems to be the present. It can get quite confusing at parts, 
forcing you to flip back a few stories to check the dates. The author's approach to the passage 
of time is clever. It leaves you constantly wondering and unsure of what will happen at the close. 

Had this story been presented in chronological order I feel that it would have 
lost some of it's appeal. For one, the ending would have been much more predictable.
There was a point where Marco asked a question of Celia that alerted me to the ending. 
I had a feeling that that was the way that things would play out, but the constant changing 
of stories and dates pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind while I wondered
 about other mysteries. There are a lot of them, mysteries, and they unravel slowly with time, 
making you want to skip ahead a few chapters, but as soon as you start the next little story 
you get so wrapped up in it that you forget all about the other one. 

 Through the smaller stories you are able to see the circus 
from every perspective. You get to experience The Cirque de Reves from the eyes of it's creators, 
performers, and patrons. You see the outside forces at work and discover the secrets before 
the other characters, except Poppet, she probably already knows the lot of it.

I liked the characters, thought they were well developed and interesting and was surprised 
to see that most of them were actually important to the story. I so often find that most characters 
filling the pages of stories are not integral to it's outcome. I like that everyone had a purpose
in this story. How very Jane Austen, she liked her characters to be useful.

I would definitely add The Night Circus to your reading list!

1 comment :

  1. I'm looking for this at the library! I love book reviews. I do one every once in a (great) while.


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