Favorite character: Herr Friedrick Thiessen.
Favorite quote: “Should you choose your questions more carefully, you may receive more satisfying answers.” Tsukiko.
“It’s as if there is love and loss at the same time, together in a kind of beautiful pain.” Isobel.
All in all: AMAZING!
Synopsis 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.
My Thoughts: This is not just a book to be read, it is a book to experience. To delve into these pages is the epitome of what a story should do; transport you and make you feel.
The feelings that I did have while enjoying this story: wonder, fascination, delight, longing, heartbreak and deep contentment.
The Night Circus is told via an omniscient pov focusing on several characters and also interspersed with narratives that describe what you see and experience within Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams). It seems to me that each person leaves the Circus somehow changed. Perhaps they come out believing that magic is real or perhaps they simply believe that it is real while inside the gates.
The writing is poetic without being pretentious and it gave me not just a clear picture, but a clear emotion. I didn’t just envision it, I was among the characters and within the setting, helped along by such phrases such as:
“But you think perhaps you can smell caramel wafting through the evening breeze, beneath the crisp scent of the autumn leaves.”There are several other gorgeous descriptions and lines, but I want you to discover them on your own. Also, the writing and overall tone is so convincing in a gentle yet powerful way that events which occur written by someone less talented would not be believable.
“The air itself is magical. Crisp and sweet in her lungs as she breathes…”
Did you ever go to a Renaissance Faire and at some point in the day feel like you’re in a magical realm? A flute may be playing in the background or a costumed actor may walk by, but for that one moment, you are in another time. That is what Les Cirques des Reves is, a place where patrons explore magical and unique experiences, an illusionist, a hall of mirrors, a cloud room.
The characters are vibrant and rich. From the main characters Celia and Marco to minor players such as Elizabeth, the woman who gives Bailey (another key player) a red scarf. Some motives are veiled until they fall together like a completed puzzle. My favorite character is Friedrich Thiessen, who is commissioned to make a clock for the circus and then becomes an ardent fan. There is nothing out of the ordinary about him except for his talent in clockmaking, but he is genuine and enthusiastic. When asked why he never asked for any inside secrets he replied, “I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark.”
The fans and followers of the circus are one of my favorite aspects of the story. They are called "reveurs" and they form a bond with each other through their love of the circus and their experiences. They kind of remind me of Dead-Heads who instead of a band, follow this special circus and collect mementoes, meet with other reveurs and reminisce, contemplate and discuss Les Cirque. They wear a touch of red to distinguish themselves and recognize each other, a red scarf, a red flower, a red ribbon. I’ve seen this group camaraderie at conventions I’ve gone to where people who may not see each other more than once a year form a special relationship united by a common love.
One of the main themes in this book is magic. What is it? Is it real? What is happening as you step into the Circus? Are all these wondrous things possible? “Nothing’s impossible.” Poppet says, who was born and raised in the Circus. You will get very interesting theories on the subject within the pages.
The large clock that is displayed in the circus seems to symbolize another theme: time. The fates of the players, the duration of the challenge, the precision of the performances and the decisions that each character makes all depend on timing. The story also switches between two different (yet not so far apart) time periods and I could almost hear that clock ticking until the sand runs out and the events culminate in the final solution.
This is the most beautiful, magical, creative story I’ve read in a long time and I will keep this on my bookshelf forever. I may have to start a reveur-like group for the book itself. Who’s in?