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Review: The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

the night circusThe circus appears overnight without any warning; the next morning, a field that was empty is strewn with magical black-and-white tents that hold wonders of which thousands have only ever dreamed. But at the center of this magical paradise are two magicians, Celia and Marco, whose competition gives life to the circus and keeps it growing and moving across the world. At the center of their rivalry, though, is a love that won’t let them carry out their competition to the bitter end. Who will take their place at the core of the circus as it slowly rots from the inside out?

I can almost guarantee you’ve heard about this book before. I have seen it on many, many different blogs in my feed reader and in fact that buzz is one of the reasons I went ahead and purchased it. Whenever there is a fantasy title that has people talking, I usually try and read it, simply because I love fantasy and I want to keep current and in touch with the conversation. This has gone well and not-so-well previously. Luckily, it went well with this one, which nicely justified my purchase and added up to a very pleasant week of reading.

One of my favorite aspects of The Night Circus straight off was the atmosphere. The way the circus is set up is so mysterious, the characters so quirky, that I was instantly intrigued by the entire situation. We start off with both magicians very young. Celia’s father didn’t even realize he had a daughter, and it is only her emergence as a player that leads Marco to be chosen as her counterpart. The circus comes about slightly differently, through a variety of players, all of whom are quite shadowy characters; merely sketches, not fully fleshed out.

But despite the oft-bemoaned lack of character and plot development, I really enjoyed this book. Maybe I wasn’t convinced by Celia and Marco’s love story, but I could taste the caramel apples and experience the magic of the tents for myself. As Jenny says, this is an atmosphere book. If you can approach it with that in mind and take it for what it is, rather than what it isn’t, I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more. It’s an excellent read for curling up with some tea by your side and taking it slowly – this isn’t a book you want to rush, it’s instead to be savored.

I’m very glad that I picked up The Night Circus, as it suited me perfectly when I am in the depths of my own writing efforts and allowed me to simply relax and sink in. Recommended.

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