Book recommendation: The Night Circus

One day, I will not start off a blog post with “So, it’s been a while…” One day. But today will not be that day!

So for a lot of 2011, you may have heard buzz about a book called The Night Circus. I first heard about the book in late 2010, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. A black-and-white mysterious circus! Magicians! Late 19th century! It was like the book had been especially written for me. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC in March and immediately devoured it.

It surpassed my expectations. At one point I emailed the author and told her I wished the world of The Night Circus was real. I wanted it so badly to be real.

It is 1886, and a mysterious black and white circus is travelling through countries, only open at night. The tents are so fantastic as to be unreal: ranging from an ice garden to a wishing tree, and acts from a contortionist to an illusionist who seems to have a true gift of magic.

This is no ordinary circus. Celia and Marco are magicians who have been bound into a magical duel by their mentors. The circus is their venue of combat. But their admiration gradually develops into love, and the circus turns from a battleground to how they profess their love for each other. But their duel may have fatal consequences for all involved.

The Night Circus is one of the best books I’ve read. The circus is described in lavish detail, from the scent of cool evenings to the descriptions of the circus’ many culinary offerings. The book is a feast for the senses. The characters are not without fault, and often motivated by their own intentions, but you can’t help but become invested them throughout the narrative. I was warned before reading The Night Circus that I would wish its world were real, and indeed, by the time I reached the end, I wanted nothing more than to actually visit Le Cirque des Rêves.

I adored this book so much that I reread it. (To put this in context, I can count on one hand the amount of books I’ve reread.) It was even better the second time round, since this time I knew what to expect and could marvel at how all the plot threads were woven together. I can’t wait for Erin Morgenstern’s next book.

This was one of my favourite reads of 2011. Highly, highly recommended.