Thursday, October 17, 2013

the night circus

the night circus
erin morgenstern
published 2011

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 tnts 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.

The book jumps back in forth in time to tell the story of before and during and then and while it should be confusing with a jumble of different characters it's not.  You yearn to know how everyone is intertwined - because you know they must be - and you revel in each little step taken through their journey.

Sometimes when I'm reading a book where there is an ensemble of characters I get frustrated when the focus shifts from one character to the next.  Inevitably there is always at least one character I don't care where their story take them.  That is not so with The Night Circus.

I'm enthralled by Bailey, Poppet & Widget and their mysterious adventures.  What Bailey's future holds for him and Poppet & Widget's easy acceptance and friendship.  Isobel is at times seemingly bitter and cunning, but then maybe that's just what I expect her to be and not what she really is.  Of course, Celia and Marco.  Tsukiko, Chandresh, Tante, Lainie & Tara, Mr. Barris, Herr Thiessen....they're all incredibly fascinating and add bits and bits of revelation to the mystery at hand.  

I found Hector/Prospero to be completely horrid.  Alexander showed more love for Marco than Hector ever did for Celia.  Everything Hector ever did was done to Celia, not for her.  The affection he showed her was merely a fake face.  Alexander was the genuine one.  Though that doesn't make him exempt from his choices it does make him more human.

I did get a little confused during October 21-November 1, 1901 & 1902.  Because it was switching back and forth so quickly I would have to double back and see what year I was in.  There were questions and mysteries I felt were never answered, but for some reason I wasn't disappointed.  Some mysterious are better left as mysteries.

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