Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Night Circus

It is quite the unfortunate event that a book so good could leave me so depressed. This book, in a word, is beautiful. You could also call it timeless. It is the kind of book that I hope to someday write, the kind that makes the reader want to flip right back to the first page as soon as they close the back cover. I mean, how is an aspiring writer supposed to compete with this stuff? O_o

A synopsis, from BN:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 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.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


This book was beautiful and heart wrenching. Unlike most books, the main character is the circus and the game, and the two lovers Celia and Marco are the ones caught up in the plot. I cried at the end when Bailey closed his eyes and made his wish. There really isn't much I can say that's new, except that you need to read this book. It will appeal to fantasy fans the same as general fiction fans, and there is just the right amount of love and romance to be balanced perfectly by the action. The love is pushed back for so long that when the story finally gets to that point, it is a relief to see the characters together.

I've been struggling through a year-long reading slump. For every book I finish I'm abandoning four or five other books. Some of those abandoned books I've really been looking forward to, and it's sad I got to them when I was in such a wrong frame of mind. That being said, all the books I've stuck with have had one thing in common: good writing.

Before you fall in love with the characters, before the plot threads start weaving themselves into their complicated braids, the only thing to keep you going through the first few chapters is the writing. Words have a voice to me, and the rhythm and feel of the writing is everything. Every once in a while I read a book that really resonates with me, and I mean that in the most literal sense. A book will have a tone of voice and pattern of speech just like any person. I could hear the narrator's voice in my head (and if you must know that voice is the narrator of the Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente audiobook) and that gave the book so much more depth.

The only complaint I had is that I was a fan of the second person POV to take you through the circus. It was distracting, and everytime one of those sections came up I was immediatly pulled out of the story and reminded I not, in fact, a member of Le Cirque des Rêves. Thankfully, these sections were usually only a page or two, and it was easy to fall back into the story again.

I could have read the middle of that book for another week. Just watching the characters interact and build on the circus and watch how the circus became this living organism of it's own was fascinating. The ending felt rushed, however. The climax of the book came suddenly, and just as suddenly it was over in a flash. I would have liked a bit more build-up and to draw it out longer. Besides, there were about fifteen pages of wrap-up, which is my absolute least favorite part of any book, and that was too long.

Don't let either of those things turn you off to reading the book, because it was amazing. It is definitely one to go back to over and over again, and I'm sad it's over. Do I need to say it again to convince you? YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

Reading Next: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe. Though honestly anything I pick is going to be lacking after The Night Circus. Either of the Seanan McGuire books sound appealing right now because I'm not in the mood for YA right now, but I don't have either of them yet.

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