Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way -a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a beautiful, complex, magical book, which jumps from one memory and moment to another. There is nothing sinister about this book but there is a slight eeriness that is I believe is purposeful. The writing in this book reminds me of The Book Thief and The Bone Season the descriptions, the idea that there is something happening and you are in the epicentre of things and still on the outside is demonstrated loudly. There are many layers in this book and not paying attention will mean you could easily get lost or confused.
This book is an enchanting duel to the death by two magicians who pull the strings or move each pawn without actually making a physical move themselves. But it all goes lopsided when a girl (Celia) and boy (Marco) fall in love, something they didn’t account for.
World building & Setting
The world in Night Circus created by Erin Morgenstern is unique, it’s vast and almost overwhelming. The Night Circus is set in the 19th and 20th Century in major cities like New York, London and Paris a fantastical, magical world that is recognisable but also mysterious and alluring.
Point of View & Characters
A word of warning. The book is told is an omniscient narrative voice that is interested in humans and circuses. An odd combination but who are we to object? Anyway, despite this there are so many different characters and additional opinions and perspectives to take into account and remember – 15 actually. I told you it was complex, you can’t dip in and out of this book and you probably will need to read it a few times in your lifetime to understand the intricacy and depth of the world Erin Morgenstern has created.
The element of darkness within this book is emphasised by Celia and Marco’s relationships with their carers. The way both these characters are manipulated to fulfill their masters wishes is disturbing. Celia who is forced to self harm again and again in order to master how to heal her wounds and Marco who is imprisoned in learning theory alone without help or assistance. Despite being so powerful, Celia and Marco bow their heads down to their masters out of love and respect and are taken advantage of. Cruelty in its naked form.