He picks up one of the boxes on the table this time, a polished-wood box with a swirling pattern etched into its lid. The inside of the box is lined with white silk. The scent is like incense, deep and spiced, and he can feel smoke curling around his head. It is hot, a dry desert air with pounding sun and powder-soft sand. His cheeks flush from the heat and from something else. The feel and sensation of something as luscious as silk falls across his skin in waves. There is music that he cannot discern. A pipe or a flute. And laughter, a high-pitched laugh that blends harmoniously with the music. The taste of something sweet but spicy on his tongue. The feeling is luxurious and lighthearted, but also secretive and sensual. He feels a hand on his shoulder and jumps in surprise, dropping the lid down on the box.
(from The Night Circus, page 239 in the ARC; the finished version may be different)
When I finished The Night Circus this morning, I had a hard time turning that final page and accepting that the few days I’d spent with this book were over. It honestly took a lot of strength to keep myself from going back to the beginning and starting all over again. I just did not want to leave the magical world that Erin Morgenstern created, and this comes from someone who isn’t much of a fantasy reader!
I don’t want to provide more than a basic summary of The Night Circus because it truly is something you must experience for yourself. In the late 1800s, two aging magicians, Prospero the Enchanter and Alexander, train two young magicians to compete against one another in a challenge that remains vague. But they didn’t expect their protégés, Celia, Prospero’s daughter, and Marco, plucked out of his lonely existence in an orphanage by Alexander, to fall in love.
The venue for the competition is Le Cirque des Rêves, The Circus of Dreams, which is an extraordinary circus that delights all of the senses. It simply appears one day and disappears without warning. It is open from nightfall to dawn, and what is contained within the marvelous black and white striped tents or along the white powered pathways is something you have to see to believe. And with Morgenstern’s deft hand, you will see it.
The Night Circus is a book to be savored. Morgenstern’s descriptions of the circus are so vivid and detailed that you almost feel as if you are part of all the excitement, and you will finish the book wishing and hoping that it will spring up in a field nearby so you can enjoy the sights and smells for real. In fact, the circus is so brilliantly painted and feels so alive within the pages of the book that it almost becomes the main character. The other characters, the creators of the circus, its performers, and its ardent followers, are just as interesting, and even thought they aren’t so developed that you know everything about them, you still feel like you know them enough.
Morgenstern has created a world that is magical and fantastical, yet it feels real, enabling someone like me who doesn’t normally enjoy fantasy novels to get lost within its pages. There is something for everyone in The Night Circus: passionate love, a coming-of-age story, eccentric characters, drama, and art, all wrapped up in a dreamy, fairy tale atmosphere. Even though the romance wasn’t as well developed as I would have liked, I was able to go with the flow and not worry about it. Like one of my favorite characters, Widget, Morgenstern is a wonderful storyteller, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future.
If you’d like to know what it feels like to want to run away and join the circus, you’re in luck! Doubleday is offering a copy of The Night Circus to one of my readers. To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address. Because the publisher is shipping the book, you must have a U.S. address in order to win. This giveaway will close at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, October 16, 2011.
**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.