Stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars [Book Review: The Night Circus]

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The very first line of The Night Circus captivates you, drawing you in until you are left desperate to know more. I cannot express how I feel about this book without outpouring emotions. The Night Circus reminds us of the beauty inherent in passion, wonder, and magic.

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.  You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The Night Circus is much more than just another magical escapade. The magic in the book is just a backdrop to a very human story. A very human story of flawed characters, imperfect parenting and dedicating your whole life to something even before you know the rules. Set in a mysterious, ahistorical Victorian-style world, the novel introduces us to Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, two magicians bound together, for a lifetime, in a competition where they are unaware of the terms of this challenge. The plot of The Night Circus is simple and complex at the same time. You’re discovering the rules of this dual with the characters. They know they are playing a part in this strange challenge where they have no say without knowing how they will be evaluated.

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that... there are many kinds of magic, after all.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern takes up the challenge to evoke such intense emotions, creating an atmosphere where wonder and magic form the perfect backdrop to a story of messy yet courageously dedicated people. The Night Circus feels personal in a way no other book has felt for me in ages. I keep wondering about each and every character; I desperately wish I could see this place. Normally, books leave me sobbing, but the narrative in this book shows how beauty in tales need not be brutal; it can be about wonder and, well, magic!

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

I just want to start re-reading this book all over again the very moment I reached the last page. I believe this book is going to be the first book I recommend to anyone for a long time after this.


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